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‘The Way’ director Emilio Estevez on road trip inspiration

by Staff

Note: This interview was completed prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Growing up as the son of actor Martin Sheen, actor/director Emilio Estevez spent his childhood on the road, “pilgrimaging,” not by choice, from one place to another for his father’s film roles. 

Estevez found, as an adult, he sought out travel on many road trips in his well-loved 2006 Lexus. These experiences informed the projects he works on, including his 2010 film “The Way,” which was re-released this year.  

Estevez continues to hit the road on trips across the country, which he says allow him to “tuck into places, spend time, and chat with people.” He says seeing the country and talking to people on these journeys lifts him up and gives him hope.  

Read more: Director Emilio Estevez on not taking the easy road

This segment has been edited for length and clarity. 

What inspires me more than anything these days is my road trips. I love seeing the country. I love getting in the car – I have a 2006 Lexus that’s got 315,000 miles on it, if that gives you any indication of how much road tripping I do. 

I love this country, and I’m inspired by the towns and the cities that I go to in the flyover states, which is what the coasts often call them. I tuck into places, spend time and chat with people.

I’m really inspired by the people that I meet across this country. They lift me up. And sometimes I find myself shaking my head at some of the things they say, but by and large, I’m really inspired by the people in this country. 

I love being on the road. I love the pilgrimage. And I don’t know if that’s just how I grew up, or if it’s something that I have embraced later in life. But when I was a kid, our immersive travel and our pilgrimages were not by choice. It was by way of my father getting a job, [so] we packed up, we went, and we dug in. We lived in Mexico for four months. We lived in the Philippines for six months — with me six months, my folks two years. 

So I was always moving. I was always on the road. And I think that that has informed not only the types of films that I make about people, that are about the exploration of our humanity, but also about sort of being out there and bumping into the unexpected, being at the whim of wherever the road takes you. I think that there’s something very exciting about that. 

I get nervous when I feel like I’m getting pinned down, or I feel like I got a nail in my foot keeping me somewhere. In seeing the rest of the country, [it] gives me hope. I think that we could all use a little more hope these days.

Read More: Emilio Estevez: “The Public’’

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