‘This is my adopted city’: Emilio Estevez on his movie returning to theaters today, Cincinnati becoming his home

CINCINNATI — “The Way” has found its way back into movie theaters for one day only.

The movie taking place on the Camino de Santiago in Spain has inspired tens of thousands of people to take the 500-mile pilgrimage.

Emilio Estevez, the writer and director who also acts in the film, said its message of grieving, parent-child relationships and of becoming a world citizen is needed now more than ever.

“I think the film in many ways is more important now than it was originally released in 2012. Coming out of COVID, I think people have this desire, not only to travel again but to be less isolated,” said Estevez. “I think we want to be out with other people. We want to go out to restaurants and we want to go to the movies and we want to go on pilgrimage.”

Watch the entire interview with Estevez here:

Estevez recently won the rights back to the movie, which stars his father Martin Sheen, and forged a partnership with Fathom Films for the re-release.

He said he shot the film for many reasons. First, as a tribute to his grandfather’s Spanish heritage. Secondly, selfishly, so he could see his son, Taylor.

Taylor had gone with his grandfather to Europe and they decided to walk and drive the El Camino. But Taylor stayed in Spain and fell in love with the woman who would become his wife and mother of Estevez’s grandchild.

“It pays homage to my grandfather, is a tribute to my son and it also stars my father. So it’s like, got this generational thing,” Estevez said.

And directing his father in the movie, Estevez said, was the best gift he could give his dad and vice-versa.

“I think my old man ... he’s so good in the movie,” Estevez. “And it’s the movie that he claims that in all of his work, it’s the most personal and the proudest movie he’s ever done.”

The movie has gained cult status, inspiring thousands.

“Tens of thousands from the United States alone,” corrects Estevez. “But globally, this movie is just had this amazing reach, it has inspired people. I may never do another movie that actually inspires people to watch a film, get up off their couch and then travel to Spain and walk 500 miles.”

Part of Estevez’s personal pilgrimage brought him to Cincinnati, where he now owns a home. He said Cincinnati Film Commission president, Kristen Schlotman, called him and convinced him to do a screening in Cincinnati during the original release of “The Way” in 2012. He made Cincinnati the tour’s last stop.

“I stayed here with my son for three days, and I started to fall in love with Cincinnati. And that was sort of the beginning of my next pilgrimage,” Estevez said. “And I’ve since become a resident, this is my adopted city.”

The film will be shown in theaters across the country on May 16. Locally, it will be shown at the Cinemark Western Hills, Cinemark Milford, AMC Newport on the Levee and more. To find locations and times, click here.

Estevez believes it is essential to see “The Way” with others, communally, in a theater.

“If you think about on the Camino, you’re with other people in a communal setting. Seeing this in a theater with other people is the best way to see it,” said Estevez.

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