"The Way," a new film written and directed by Emilio Estevez, who also co-stars with his father, Martin Sheen, is about a father-son relationship.
But shadowing a recent interview with The Associated Press was another son, Charlie Sheen, and the blowback of his outlandish behavior after being fired earlier this year from TV's top-rated comedy "Two and a Half Men." Sheen has now distanced himself from those manic outbursts and has acknowledged he was at least partly responsible for his ouster from the CBS show. His lawsuit against Warner Bros. Television and series executive producer Chuck Lorre was settled late last month.
Sheen showed up at a Los Angeles screening of "The Way."
"It was great to see him. He totally surprised us," Estevez said. "I will tell you what I felt really good about. I got through his security. He had this big Israeli security guys and I literally stepped right through them and gave him a shoulder and got him in a tackle.
In the movie, Estevez stars as Daniel, who much to his father Tom's dismay leaves school to make a 500-mile spiritual pilgrimage through France and Spain. Daniel has an accident and dies in the Pyrenees mountains on his first day, prompting Tom (Sheen) to complete the journey for his son.
The movie is dedicated to Estevez's paternal grandfather.
"I really felt like the spirit of my grandfather was right alongside me and really guiding us," said Estevez, who, with his father, talked about the movie and brother Charlie during the interview.
AP: What does Charlie think about the film?
Estevez: He loves it. He loves it. He's in our court. He supports it and if he can tweet to his now 5 million followers to go see the movie when it opens, we'd be really happy.
AP: Was making this film helpful in any way in dealing with what Charlie was going through?
Martin Sheen: Well, when we were actually shooting the film, is two years ago at this time, so there was not that going on. But you know your children are never far from your heart and those that need the most at the time, you draw them closer, so he's never very far away from me. Ever. No matter what, I adore him.
AP: What did you set out to do and say in the movie?
Estevez: I wanted to make a very gentle film that was about people. My mother for years has said, 'Write what you know. Make films about what you know.' And this movie is a celebration of that. I know something about family. I know something about community, a little bit about faith and I know about Spain. My grandfather is from ... about 80 miles away from Santiago de Compestela, where the film ends. . I was very connected there and I really felt like the spirit of my grandfather was right alongside me and really guiding us.
AP: Given the personal nature of this project, did it change or affect you in any way?
Estevez: The character that I play, Daniel, is kind of a reflection of where I'd like to be. ... I feel a certain amount of wanderlust in my spirit and I would love to put on a backpack and just go. ... I'd like to do the Camino, frankly."
AP: Did you feel more or less pressure having a lead role written and directed by your son?
Sheen: It's the first time I've had to carry a movie in 30 years and so I'm enormously proud of it and I can't stop bragging about it. But I have to confess that when he insisted I do it and we started doing it, I felt a lot of pressure and anxiety. ... I'm not a kid anymore (Sheen is 71) and I had to do a lot of walking and swimming and running and all the rest of it, besides the day-to-day focus on the journey.
AP: At this stage, do you feel as if you've lived the life you wanted and do you feel satisfied?
Sheen: The last 30 years have been the most difficult, because I had a ... reconversion to my faith and it commanded that I commit to peace and social justice issues, and that'll take you into some places that are very uncomfortable. But they are what have led me to myself and my own personal freedom. And so while it's been ... the most difficult 30 years, it's been equally the happiest."