Along the Way
The Journey of a Father and Son
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
In this remarkable dual memoir, film legend Martin Sheen and accomplished actor/filmmaker Emilio Estevez recount their lives as father and son. In alternating chapters—and in voices that are as eloquent as they are different—they tell stories spanning more than fifty years of family history, and reflect on their journeys into two different kinds of faith.
At twenty-one, still a struggling actor living hand to mouth, Martin and his wife, Janet, welcomed their firstborn, Emilio, an experience of profound joy for the young couple, who soon had three more children: Ramon, Charlie, and Renée. As Martin’s career moved from stage to screen, the family moved from New York City to Malibu, while traveling together to film locations around the world, from Mexico for Catch-22 to Colorado for Badlands to the Philippines for the legendary Apocalypse Now shoot. As the firstborn, Emilio had a special relationship with Martin: They often mirrored each other’s passions and sometimes clashed in their differences. After Martin and Emilio traveled together to India for the movie Gandhi, each felt the beginnings of a spiritual awakening that soon led Martin back to his Catholic roots, and eventually led both men to Spain, from where Martin’s father had emigrated to the United States. Along the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path, Emilio directed Martin in their acclaimed film, The Way, bringing three generations of Estevez men together in the region of Spain where Martin’s father was born, and near where Emilio’s own son had moved to marry and live.
With vivid, behind-the-scenes anecdotes of this multitalented father’s and son’s work with other notable actors and directors, Along the Way is a striking, stirring, funny story—a family saga that readers will recognize as universal in its rebellions and regrets, aspirations and triumphs. Strikingly candid, searchingly honest, this heartfelt portrait reveals two strong-minded, admirable men of many important roles, perhaps the greatest of which are as fathers and sons.
Martin Sheen was born (and still is) Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez. Sheen is perhaps best known for his unforgettable performances in Badlands, Apocalypse Now, Wall Street, and as President Josiah Bartlet on television’s The West Wing. A longtime activist for social justice and human rights, he resides in Malibu, California, with Janet, his wife of fifty years.
"[A] loving account that's also very candid, staring unflinchingly at the painful moments, including Martin Sheen's alcohol-fueled psychotic breakdown on the set of "Apocalypse Now," seen through Emilio's eyes and recalled with the humiliated clarity of a self-conscious teenager.
Spirituality — Sheen's Catholicism and Estevez's quest for a personal spirituality, which eventually leads him to farming and planting his own vineyard — is at the heart of the book, as is the nature of family relationships and what it means to at once love another human and allow them to walk their own path. Though Sheen's wife and Estevez's mother Janet is dealt with sparely, it is clear that she has always been — and still is — the glue that holds the family tightly together." -- LA Times
"It's refreshing to find a dual memoir between a father and son from the same profession that's so honest and cathartic. Veteran actor Martin Sheen and his eldest son, Emilio Estevez, the accomplished actor/filmmaker, reveal eerie, often ironic parallel journeys, both personally and professionally. They've struggled as artists and fathers, and we come away with a deeper understanding of the sacrifices and compromises they've made in balancing craft and family. In many ways, they've actually grown up together during their remarkable relationship. What's so fascinating about Along the Way is this insightful back and forth. Sheen confesses what a horrible father he was during the making of Francis Ford Coppola's legendary Apocalypse Now. He was at his most self-destructive during this Vietnam opus, which eventually led to a near-fatal heart attack. And Estevez admits how much he needed his father's attention when they were on location together in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Estevez relates his own vices on the way to becoming part of the '80s "Brat Pack" generation (a gross misnomer, it turns out). Yet he overcomes his share of obstacles, too, in attaining satisfaction and enlightenment. Both father and son found inspiration in the life of Robert Kennedy, with Estevez writing, directing and co-starring with Sheen in Bobby, an ode to the charismatic and compassionate political figure in the wake of his assassination. ... This cries out for a follow-up." -- USA Today
"Icons of the silver screen and father/son duo Sheen and Estevez reminisce on their careers, lives, and relationship in this engaging dual memoir. In alternating chapters, each actor describes the difficulties and triumphs of making it in showbiz, as well as the struggles intrinsic to any father/son relationship. The stories hinge on the making of The Way, a new movie directed by Estevez, and featuring Sheen as a father bearing his son's ashes across Spain's 500-mile Camino de Santiago. Sheen remembers his Spanish roots and his resilient immigrant father; Estevez recalls in a vivid picaresque his childhood years spent abroad as his father made movies. In addition to reflections on each man's philosophies, intimacies, and misunderstandings, exciting events abound, as when Sheen eschews a stunt-double and leaps into a frigid river while shooting The Way. While Sheen struggled with a dark, demanding script during filming for Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, Estevez--then a teenager--remembers the night a local tribe "sacrificed a water buffalo by hacking off its head in four brutal blows…It was horrifying and fascinating at the same time, primitive yet reverent, painful to watch but impossible to turn my eyes away from." From fist fighting in a Philippine cabana to spiritual awakenings in India, readers will revel in the exploits of this dynamic and charming duo." -- Publishers Weekly
"An engaging dual memoir by Sheen and Estevez that explores their lives and their intense relationship. Punctuated with humor and unusual frankness, the emotional highs and lows they share will resonate with fathers and sons.
Sheen and Estevez write as much about family and spiritual matters ... as they do about their work. "Along the Way" offers the promise that our differences don't have to divide us if we keep love, respect and forgiveness in our hearts. That would be a comfort on any journey." --Associated Press