SHOP CATEGORIES
WHAT'S NEW   [more...]
Documentary: The women who defied an empire
ChristianCinema.com Entertainment News « Previous Article    Next Article »
A Pilgrimage with Martin Sheen
A Pilgrimage with Martin Sheen

A Pilgrimage with Martin Sheen

"There's something special going on here that needs to be explored." This was Martin Sheen's first reaction to a journey he made along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela [The Way of St. James], with his grandson Taylor in 2003 during a break in The West Wing. "We were negotiating this pilgrimage by car when Taylor met his wife Julia. Her mother's name is Milagros, which is Spanish for 'Miracles'." That was the first of what Sheen identifies as miracles that happened along the journey of making the film THE WAY.

Like Us on Facebook

Jump to…
A Family Story
American Pilgrimage
Going the Indie Route
Taking a Personal Journey
Discovering Fire Again

"No one has ever done a movie on the Camino before," Sheen said. After his journey, he persuaded his son Emilio Estevez to write a story about a pilgrimage with a character he could play. The end result is a film that was as much a pilgrimage for the father-son duo as it was for the characters in the story.

A Family Story

A Family Story

The story Estevez developed was that of a father who was broken by the loss of his son. The character, played by Sheen, loses his son [played by Estevez], who is journeying along The Way of St. James. "He's never been a good father and he goes on this journey to honor his son. From great pain and great loss comes great healing and renewal." 

Sheen's character is joined along the way by an odd group of pilgrims that, in the beginning, he despises and can't wait to get rid of. However, as he recognizes himself in their own foibles and shortcomings and imperfections, he begins to embrace them."They embrace him and he embraces them and they become a community, an extended family. They are made whole and are healed in the end. It's an extraordinarily inspiring story." 

American Pilgrimage

We talked about the family's journey at the end of a pilgrimage across America to introduce the film in 23 cities in six weeks. "Our bus driver is from New Orleans and just got off tour with U2. In fact, this is one of their buses," Martin said from new York City. "There are seven of us on tour. My son Emilio and grandson Taylor, who is the tour guide. Our great friends David Alexanian and our publicity manager are also with us."

The group's journey started in Los Angeles then headed north to San Francisco. "We started out sleeping on the bus, but realized when we got to a city that we were fatigued and couldn't do many public events. So we got a new schedule. We travel between cities, get to a hotel and sleep, then start our visit the next day when we're fresh and awake."

The team hosted one or two screenings in every city, followed by a question and answer session. "The response has been so tremendous and so gratifying to us. This is a family project and we're out here because we don't have a studio behind us."

Going the Indie Route

Emilio Estevez - The WayLike many independent producers with a story that doesn't quite fit the norm, Estevez and Sheen had a hard time finding a studio that shared their vision for the film. "We couldn't get a studio that has the passion or belief in this film so we're doing it ourselves. Maybe this is a new way to get films seen by the public."

People have made documentaries about the Camino, but no one has attempted a feature film about the journey itself, until now. The pilgrimage ends at a Cathedral where the remains of St. James are buried. "We were the first company they ever allowed to film in there. They allowed us to film at the tomb of St. James, the entrance of the cathedral, and the mass itself, as well at the blessing at the end, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages."

Sheen admits that the external journey that winds through France and Spain is an outward manifestation of the inward and spiritual journey that begins along the way of St. James "We had numerous miracles in the form of events and people. But there were also a lot of personal spiritual moments; a lot of transcendence along the way, and confirmation of our own humanity."

Taking a Personal Journey

Taking a personal Journey - The Way"You know, the purpose of any pilgrimage is basically an effort to unite the work of the Spirit to the will of the flesh. You're called to leave your home, make an uncomfortable journey carrying all your belongings. Along the way, you dispose of some of your belongings because you realize they're too heavy and you don't need them. And then the transcendent journey, the real pilgrimage starts on your inner journey.

"You begin to let go of some of the things you've carried as baggage your entire life; blaming other people, putting those people in the dungeon of your heart where you've kept them locked up for who knows how long. We hang onto judgment, anger, resentment, envy, and all of the things that keep us from being ourselves, from being human.

"When that journey starts, boy, the fireworks begin and we begin to accept ourselves exactly as we were meant to be; free, and with an innate knowledge of our humanity. It's about being loved. The Creator made us for Himself. We are loved. Not for anything we did or deserved, and we cannot get rid of it for anything that we do." 

Discovering Fire Again

Discovering Fire Again - The Way"We are loved because we are human," Sheen said, "and that's God's choice. The genius of God is choosing to dwell where we are least likely to look; in the darkness of our own spirit. When we realize that innate dwelling, then we have discovered fire for the second time, and we are free.

"Every day I'm reminded that I'm still an imperfect mess and that it's OK. The more I realize how imperfect and messy I am, the more I realize myself and love myself despite my problems and my imperfections. I've reached a measure of joy. I'm at a level in my life now that I've never, ever been happier. I cherish every day. I wake up in the morning and when I remember it, I give thanks and praise.

"I have reached a level that I never thought was possible just a few short years ago, but I love every minute of my life, even the difficult ones, because they are an opportunity to remain human and to grow, and I realize the countless blessings I receive every day. I just can't wait for the next adventure. The only regret I have is that I didn't know this when I was younger."

THE WAY opens nationally in wide release on Friday, October 21, 2011. 


DIGITAL BEST SELLING
BUYER REVIEWS [more...]
Unplanned
5 of 5 Stars!
Unplanned
Just wow. Thanks for sharing your story Abby.... [read more]
Quote For The Day
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
- James 1:19 (NIV)

What customers say about ChristianCinema.com:
" I had no problems with their web site or ordering. I'm well pleased and looking forward to ordering more from them in the future and telling all my friends and family where they can get good geals and excellent service for all their Christian movie needs." - Michael Haupt