Emilio Estevez Talks on Faith, Career and Film
Douglas K. Barclay, Tower Staff
November 11, 2011
Filed under A&E
Several weeks ago the Tower covered a lecture at the Basilica by Martin Sheen, famed actor and star of the recently released faith based film “The Way.” This week I participated in a conference call with Sheen’s son and actor/director of “The Way.” In recent years, Estevez has put acting on the back-burner in favor of writing and directing,. The call I participated in was of a free-form discussion between Estevez, fans and press. The below answers were the byproduct of a fluid discussion, thus there is no Tower label.
Can you describe how you go about the film-making process?
Estevez: The older I get…when you decide you are going to make a film, it takes two-three years of your life; I have been on this film since 2008. If you are going to jump into a movie, you are basically marrying this movie for three years, I want to commit the things and do the things I am passionate about.
Has faith always been an important aspect of your life?
Estevez: I was baptized Catholic as were my brothers and my sister; the interesting thing about how we were raised was that I heard a lot of arguments about religion as a child. We were raised in a house where there were more arguments about religion but little talk about spirituality. My mother likes to call me a work in progress.
The Way is a very faith based film, and one that has bucked the studio system in terms of content. Do you plan on staying in this direction going forward?
Estevez: I’m interested in movies that celebrate our humanity, I’m interested in films that lift us up, I’m not interested in
films that go to a dark place, I tried it and they aren’t films that feed my soul. I am working on films that are pro-people and that are pro-life in the truest sense that pro-life means, a celebration of humanity. Films have gotten so far away from that with CGI and violence and sexuality and that just doesn’t appeal to me anymore I’m not interested in going to the movies and feeling embarrassed for my colleagues watching them do what they do.
Do you think that an independent film resonates more with people?
Estevez: People are pushing back against the excess; I think it is vulgar for a movie to cost two hundred million dollars in this society… I don’t think anybody wakes up in the morning and says “hey I want to see a hundred million dollar movie today.
What was your goal going into the project?
Estevez: I really wanted to make a film that didn’t divide. I wanted a film that any denomination can look at and say that they identify with one of those characters, and then leave the theater and have a conversation with someone…The majority of agents and managers in this town did not get this concept at all, even my own agents I fired. They didn’t get it and didn’t support me so I let it all go.
You have made a conscious effort in recent years to fore-go acting in place of writing and directing. Has this always been your greatest passion or merely your focus right now?
Estevez: My interest has always been in storytelling, when I was eight years old I submitted my first film to universal studios. I wrote a story out in pencil and sent it to a show at the time called “Night Gallery”. I was a story teller and film-maker before I was an actor. It is where my interests are. When I was a young actor starting out I had my eye open to the idea of writing and directing and wrote and directed too early, before I had really figured out the camera and a film script.
The first couple of times that I tried were all disasters. It is a learning process that never ends; I learned things on this film that I didn’t know. I opened myself up to the many miracles that happen. As a young film-maker you are terrified of losing control, what happens is, it is like a closed fist, nothing can enter it, when you open that fist you are receptive and accept it. On this film I was a different type of director. I still have a great desire to act, but most of the films that you see are not things that are particularly interesting to me.
The Way is playing in theaters nationwide
Image courtesy of theway-themovie.com