“You don’t choose a life, you live one.” These simple words, spoken by the character Daniel, (played by Emilio Estevez), to his father, Tom, (played by Martin Sheen), encapsulate the philosophy of the movie, “The Way.”
Beautifully shot, entirely in Spain and France, “The Way,” directed by Emilio Estevez and starring Martin Sheen, is an inspirational story about a father’s pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Rest assured, “The Way” is not just a traveler’s diary. “The Way” takes us on a journey of transformation. It begins with Tom, a somewhat stern, indefatigable American doctor who travels to France to collect the remains of his son, Tom, who died in a storm while only just beginning the Camino de Santiago. Instead of returning home, Tom decides to make the 500-mile pilgrimage in his son’s honor. Along his travels, he not only establishes new relationships with other pilgrims, but, in essence, Tom meets himself anew.
Breaking the typical Hollywood movie mold, “The Way” does not come with action-packed explosion scenes, quick-paced “sound byte” dialogue, or even a story of romantic intrigue. Yet, what “The Way” offers us is a venue to reflect on our own life and insight and inspiration into how we can grow and change (for the better) as a person who, like everyone else, is navigating our way through the twists and turns of life.
I had an opportunity to discuss “The Way” with Martin Sheen, who, with Emilio, is in the midst of a 55-day cross-country bus tour to promote the movie.
Martin, who spoke with eloquence, enthusiasm, and graciousness, not only shared his passion for “The Way,” but he also gave insight into travels on the tour bus, his own outlook on life, as well as his 30-year daily Bikram yoga practice.
Yogi Times (YT): Good afternoon, Martin. How is the tour going? How is “The Way” being received around the country?
MS: It has been a long, arduous journey, but equally rewarding. We (Emilio and I) weren’t sure how “The Way” would be received, however in every city and every stop, we are just astonished. We couldn’t be happier with the response and how the movie has been embraced and celebrated. Starting out, we knew we had something special with this movie, now it has been confirmed across the country.
YT: I’m really happy to hear this because this movie does not fall into the typical Hollywood mold.
MS: No, we’re not Hollywood at all. We didn’t feel comfortable giving the movie away to a production company and not having a say in how it would be promoted or presented, so that’s why we decided to do the tour on our own. We have the passion and commitment and we have been working on it for a couple years, so we felt more comfortable doing it for ourselves.
YT: It sounds like a real labor of love. One of the things people have told me after watching the movie is how much they want to go on the 500-mile pilgrimage themselves! How much of the actual Camino de Santiago did you walk during the filming?
MS: We reckon we walked about half the distance.