This was not a book I ever expected to write, nor a book like anything I’d ever written before. But after twenty years of teaching nonfiction writing and helping others shape their stories, I knew I could add value to such a project. When the opportunity came along to help Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez craft a father-son memoir, well, who would pass up that chance?
Along the Way traces the story of four generations of men in the Estevez family. It begins with Martin’s father Francisco, who immigrated to the United States from the Galicia region of northwest Spain; Martin himself, who was born Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez and grew up in Dayton, Ohio; his firstborn son, Emilio, who spent much of his childhood as an actor’s son in Malibu, California, and went on to become an actor and filmmaker himself; and Emilio’s son Taylor, who fell in love with a Spanish woman and moved to northern Spain. Taylor and his wife now live close to the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that served as the basis of Emilio’s 2011 film The Way, which features Martin in the leading role.
Writing this book involved many hours of one-on-one interviews, first to determine the shape of the father-son narrative and then to painstakingly revisit the details of every scene to bring each one to life. I learned a great deal about narrative structure, about collaboration, and about father-son relationships in the eighteen months it took to complete the book. Together we created a fifty-year story set in New York City, Spain, Rome, Paris, the Philippines, and southern California, and spanning half a century of cinematic history including such iconic films as Catch-22, Apocalypse Now, and The Breakfast Club.
And yes, these two guys truly are as nice in person as they appear in interviews and on the screen. I’m grateful to have had the chance to work with them.