Making "The Way" His Way | A Catholic World Report Interview with Emilio Estevez
The film, "The Way", written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen, is an inspirational story about family, friends, faith and the challenges faced navigating a complicated world. Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Estevez), killed in a storm in the Pyrenees while walking the famous Camino de Santiago, "The Way of St. James." Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son's desire to finish the journey, unprepared for the profound impact the journey will have on him. He meets other pilgrims from around the world with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives. From the unexpected, moving and amusing experiences along "The Way," and especially when he reaches the pilgrim's destination, the beautiful Shrine of St. James the Apostle, Tom learns what it means to be fully human again.
Catholic World Report recently spoke by phone with Estevez about the making of "The Way", the themes explored in the film, and his thirty-year career as an actor and writer.
CWR: What was the original inspiration for the script for "The Way"?
Estevez: It really was inspired initially by my father. He had traveled to Spain to walk a part of the Camino de Santiago in 2003. And he went with my son, who was working at the time; he was nineteen. And so off they went; and one of the first nights they stayed in a bed and breakfast that took in pilgrims. My son met the innkeeper's daughter and fell in love and he's been living there almost nine years now. They were married in 2009—and that was the true inspiration. I figured that if I was going spend some time with my son, I better figure out how to make a film in Spain, and we did. So that was sort of the origin of it. And then we began to talk about actually doing a project there and what it would look like. Through a series of conversations we developed what would ultimately be a dramatic journey wherein a father loses his son on the Camino—because that's kind of what happened to me, although not tragically. And the end developed from that, once we had that hook, and we built on that.