Emilio Estevez probably needs no introduction – but he deserves one, so I’ll give him one. Son of the legendary Martin Sheen and brother of winning star of film, TV and Twitter Charlie Sheen, Estevez has been pumping out bravura performance after bravura performance since the ’80s and across a wide range of films; among his most popular flicks, “Young Guns” and it’s sequel, “Stakeout”, “The Breakfast Club”, “The Outsiders” and “St Elmo’s Fire”. In the past few years Estevez’s acting career has taken a backseat to his newfound love of directing; his follow-up to the superb RFK assination pic “Bobby” (2006) is “The Way”, a beautiful and poignant tale of a father (Martin Sheen) who heads to Spain to collect the body of his recently deceased son (Estevez), who had been exploring the region. CLINT MORRIS caught up with Estevez to discuss what’s not only a highpoint in his career but one of 2011’s cinematic highlights.
Look I’m a huge fan of “Bobby” and am intrigued by the history of the Kennedy family. Just sat through the Kennedy series, by the way. Yes. Did you watch the Kennedy series?
I sure didn’t. No, these last few weeks… I know it was just aired, right? Have been a little crazy, and I haven’t, in fact I’m just going to the movies tomorrow. Tomorrow is my birthday.
Oh. Happy Birthday for tomorrow.
Well, thank you, thank you. And folks said, “Oh, let’s celebrate, let’s take you out to dinner.” I said, “You know what I really want to do? I want to go to a multiplex and I want to see four movies in a row.” And that’s how I’m spending my birthday. I can’t think of anything better.
What are you going to see?
I’m going to see Win, Win. I’m going to see the Conspirator which screened in Toronto, and I had left by the time it screened. And I’m going to see Incendies, which was also screened in Toronto, which I heard was terrific. And the fourth one, maybe a documentary. There’s a doc that just opened here, called Fork Over Knife. Or Fork instead of Knife. I may see that or the Beaver, depending on where my attention stand is at the end of three films.
I would suggest the Beaver because they need at least another few billion people to see that one. [laughter] You know what’s funny, that’s actually one of the films I’m really looking forward to seeing this year. It looks like a great story and a great movie. I couldn’t give a shit about what Mel Gibson gets off up to off screen or anything like that.
And it’s the same for even Charlie, I don’t care about all that crap. I care about the films these people do, and the actors. And Mel Gibson, I don’t want to live in a world where Mel Gibson doesn’t make movies. As far as I’m concerned.
Yeah, me neither man. Me neither. I mean, can you imagine having on your resume, Passion, or Apocalypto or Braveheart, any one of them? Pick one. Pick one and put it on your resume. [laughter]
And they’ll say, “What?”
Yeah. And then even going back to some of the so-called popcorn flicks that Mel Gibson did like Tequila Sunrise or Lethal Weapon series, their still terrific flicks. Yeah, they are…
They’re still very watchable.
Yeah, and he makes them so, I think. And I think that I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no Mel Gibson. So I’m definitely going to have it hanging out for the Beaver. I think it would be a great show. And apparently it is his best performance in quite some time.
Yeah. I hope to put that in the queue tomorrow. And if not tomorrow then I’ll see it this weekend. I’m a big Jodie Foster fan. I like her personally, and I think she’s got such integrity as a filmmaker. So I would go to support her as well.
When you look back, and we were just talking about Mel Gibson’s films, when you look back at your films that you’ve done in the 80s and 90s, what… Are there a few films that you’re really, really proud of? Is there something that you’re proud of, your work, that you’ll switched on and go, “Ah, I like this one.”
I would say that there were some that you’re proud of for one reason and others that you’re fond of for others, for other reasons. And I mean the Young Guns movies are fun just because I’m playing such a son of a bitch.
And he’s telling people left and right, and he’s so immoral. [chuckle] Well, those are kind of fun. If I’m flipping through channels, those are fun to watch. Stakeout is a fun movie to watch.
I love Stakeout.
In terms of movies that I’m proud of, that’s a different… I think that’s a different category. I’m proud of The War at Home, I’m proud of The Breakfast Club. I think that those are… They’re performance pieces. And I don’t tire of that. Gosh, and then there’s others that I’m just downright embarrassed about, right? I haven’t met an actor on the planet that doesn’t… Or director, or producer, that doesn’t have a few on their résumé that they wished would somehow magically disappear.
I won’t mention them because I’m sure I’m still fond of the directors and others involved but the… Yeah, man, it’s… You’re going to have disappointments.
Well, look, I mean, I maybe alone but one of my favorite films of yours, because I thought it was such a great movie, it was Judgment Night. I thought it was such a fun flick.
Oh, thanks man!
Yeah, I saw that at the cinema actually.
Yeah, man, it’s an interesting film. The director was a… Gosh, Stephen…
Stephen Hopkins, right?
Hopkins, man. And he has gone on to be a really fine director. Did you see The Life and Death of Peter Sellers?
Oh, man! I mean I thought Hopkins just nailed it. Because I was just so proud of him and what he did on that picture. And Judgment Night, I think it still holds up
It does, it does.
It’s a strange movie.
It is a strange movie. It’s a fun movie. It’s dark though, isn’t it? It’s very dark.
It’s actually more of a mood piece than a character piece. And I think that’s what Hopkins does wonderfully is he creates a mood. And that film felt it was… Felt more mood and style than performance.
Definitely. You know who else I would love to see more, I just thought he did a great job on it is Christopher Cain, with Young Guns. I thought he was a great director especially with the Western.
And he’s a fun guy to work with too. He really enjoys what he does and he’s a hoot on the set and he is the kind of guy that loves to play practical jokes and have them played on him which we did quite a few.
Yeah, I could imagine.
I worked with him now a couple of times. I did a film with him early on called, That Was Then, This Is Now and then again on Young Guns.
Yeah. In terms of the Young Guns movies, have you got a favorite? Because that’s a conversation I’m constantly having with people. What’s better, Young Guns, Young Guns II?
Well, I… Dean Semler shot both of them. And I prefer the cinematography in part II. I prefer the look of Part II in that we shot it 235. And Young Guns was 185 and I just can’t imagine even contemplating shooting a western and not shooting 235, right?
Just by the nature of that alone, I prefer Young Guns II.
Right, wow, there you go. I was actually speaking with someone not too long ago, and they said that Fox is tinkering with the idea of doing another Young Guns. I don’t know what they’re thinking.
Yeah, I don’t know whether they’re rebooting it or doing another story of another outlaw..
It doesn’t surprise me, I mean…
Well, that’s interesting.
Well now the Westerns are fashionable again, right?
That’s right. And it’s a built-in brand name and it’s a built-in audience. And they will go looking for you and Lou Diamond Phillips, and be sadly disappointed to see Zac Efron in a cowboy hat.
And my little girl, who was actually just in here a few seconds ago, actually, I don’t know if you heard her, but my little girl Charisma, she’s been watching The Mighty Ducks films for the first time. She’s three, so she doesn’t quite know what’s going on and she doesn’t quite know what the game is but it’s fun. There’re lots of kids there, lots of kids.
She likes the kids, I’m sure, yeah.
She likes the kids. And speaking of kids, I mean, you must be quite proud of Josh Jackson.
I love Josh. To work with him again as an adult on Bobby was a… Yeah, I mean he’s just terrific and I consider him a wonderful friend as well as a fellow actor. He has grown into quite a man.
Yeah, yeah. He is a great actor. He really is a great actor and I’ve heard he has come close to some really big film parts at times. I think Batman was one of them and a couple of other things. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a major movie star in the next few years.
I think he’s got incredible discipline and focus and he takes it very seriously and it’s nice to see that he has really matured.
And a delight to work with on Bobby I must say. He was just an absolute delight.
Came to work with wonderful ideas and a wonderful take on the character and he is kind of an unsung hero in that film.
Yeah, yeah he is. He is actually one of the most memorable characters in it.
Like he has got this great moment at the end when he walks out and Bobby has been taken out and in the end he walks out into that crowd outside the hotel and it’s now what? Right?
He is left with this wonderful, wonderful moment what just happened and now what? Right?
Yeah. And of course you’ve worked with one of my favorite filmmakers, again another guy who doesn’t get out of bed enough, John Badham on the Stakeout films.
Right, but I love John Badham. I learned a lot from John.
John is a wonderful technical director.
And I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. I just think he is cutting the movie as he is shooting it. He is economical, he comes in under budget. He used to direct Richard Dreyfuss and I with a stopwatch.
And he would say, “You know, you guys did that in 45 seconds. It could be a lot funnier in 30.” And he was right. You know what I mean?
He was spot on. It was funnier in 30 seconds.
As opposed to the 45 and he just knew he just had a wonderful instinct for the material.
And I really enjoyed working… I used to go into work on my days off just to watch him set up shots and we had a wonderful DP from Oz, John Seale
On the film. Wonderful DP and somebody who I just adored working with and again there I am as an actor but I never took it for granted. I always made sure that I was absorbing as much as anybody wanted to share with me.
Yeah. Exactly.Badham directed the sequel too, didn’t he?
He did. So whose choice was the shave off the mustaches on you and Richard?
That was in the script.
Was it? I still think it was a mistake. I still think they should have kept those.
It was funny because the scene that I had with Rosie [O’Donnell] where she says… Where I said, “I had this mustache for 15 years. How long have you had yours?” We probably shot it… We probably did 20 takes on it.
I couldn’t stop… I couldn’t get through the line.
Yeah, I could imagine. [laughter]
I could not get through it. I was laughing. She would crack up? I would crack up. Richard was just a complete disaster. I think we all had the piecemeal it together because it was… I couldn’t say the line.
Yeah? I could imagine. Was there ever any talk of a third Stakeout?
No, you know the second one was a complete disaster.
No, it was a complete disaster.
And I think it opened at like a $4 million weekend and we had spent four or five times that to make the sequel and… Well the thing about sequels is that they’re tricky. The conventional thinking is that we keep on window between the decay of the first one and at least mounting the second and we waited, what six years in between and that was just… It was too long.
Yeah, it probably was. But do you… Today obviously your concentration is film making now but do you still receive offers for acting even if they are ones that you just kind of laugh off? You know…
I do and they’re just… Again I want to be inspired. I want to be inspired by the material.
And it’s in the same way that if I go to an actor with a role something that I’ve written I want to inspire them. I want it to be very difficult for them to say no.
And because there is usually not a paycheck… It is not a big paycheck attached to the offer for the kind of films that I normally do.
So I look for that same measure or at least close to that measure of inspiration from the material and if I don’t find it I can’t get interested.
Wow, yeah, I can see that. I can definitely see that in your work. I mean, in looking at the last few years of what you’ve been up to compare early years and it’s all solid and it’s mostly because of you. Because of you’ve gone out there and made the right stuff and put your money where your mouth is basically, so to speak.
And The Way is just a beautiful movie… Just beautiful.
Thank you, man. I really appreciate it, man.
Are you thinking of your next one yet?
Well, I’ve written a couple things that I do like and I’m again, if I can make them for a price they’ll get made. One is a sports film and it deals in the world of honest racing which is pretty popular, which is pretty popular in Australia.
It is, it is.
In fact you guys have the big race there, I think it’s called the Miracle Mile.
Yeah, we have Melbourne Cup every November.
Right. And so, this is a potentially sort of in the spirit of Rocky or in the spirit of Mighty Ducks, it’s the kind of film that could turn into a franchise. In a perfect world, I would do that and in fact part two I’ve already hit the last page of the script, part two says “Follow us to Australia for… ” The name of the script, it’s called Johnny Long shot. So, I say, “Follow us to Australia for Johnny Long Shot Part 2.”
So let’s see, I mean…
You play a role in the film yourself?
Yeah, it’s kind of a five hander. It’s the family and the trainer and the horse of course but the idea behind that is to create like I said the Mighty Ducks type of franchising and put me back squarely in front of the camera as well as behind.
Yeah, yeah. But, I mean speaking of the Mighty Ducks, it seemed that you wanted… You wanted out of that series, did you? I mean with the third one, you’re in it for 15 minutes only. [laughter] You had enough of ducks?
Well, you know that… No. But you know the part of that deal was that we did… I agreed to do Mighty Ducks three for nothing, for free.
In exchange, Disney financed three quarters of The War at Home.
Oh, wow, okay.
So, that was sort of the deal of the devil that I did with Disney, so they called me up and got another movie for their library. And ultimately put it out on four screens. So, that was it. So, that was it for The War at Home and the Mighty Ducks went on up to 2000.
Yeah. I do remember now, going to the cinema, I was reviewing for radio at that time, reviewing films for radio and the place was full of kids, the place was full of kids and your character said his goodbyes, you know, this ten minutes whatever and the whole audience just went, “Ohhh… “
“THE WAY” is now showing in the UK and Ireland