Emilio Estevez on 'The Public' and why it took so long to make it

The actor appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and shares the story of his 12-year battle to get his newest film to the big screen.
20:41 | 04/12/19

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Transcript for Emilio Estevez on 'The Public' and why it took so long to make it
Which I think everybody should see it's about a public library and fit in that takes place with the homeless people that are there. But why should I talk about when I have the director writer producer and star. Must be exhausted and I am yet here is anyway immunity thank you so thank you for being a friend. So you know I'm we talked a little bit before about how you seemed to disappear. In the right. You know people. Who are interviewing are always saying is that that was the last movie made with breakfast club right now he drew Hackett hill is back aerial ever after 35 I hear you imagine that worked in an effort 35 year. It's true. But you this one really did take some time for you to get lost that game and took. Fact this week is the man. Is that that the anniversary of the twelve years and it's do it where I began as just this started April 1 2007. It began with the LA times arriving at the house I open it up I read an article written by librarian who's retiring. From Salt Lake city's m.'s chip ward. And that piece was about how. Lifers have become de facto homeless shelters and how librarians were an outcast. With being first responders and and effectively being effective social workers and so. I was really moved by the peace I'd done the bulk of my research for bogging down at the that at the downtown regional ivory. And so went back. To elaborate and see if it was in fact every it is bad guys. Mr. ward was talking about. And in of course it was not localized team Salt Lake City this was happening in Los Angeles and in really every urban library. Across the country. And so started imagining what it would look like if the patrons most of whom were homeless and some of whom are mentally ill but this station old fashioned sixties protest and what without look like. On a particularly cold like they decided we're not leaving and how would law enforcement. And how would the press spin that. And how might have politicians. Who is in the middle of an election cycle how might he used that event and change and air differs on political game. You hear about that and you think oh there's a city and it's the public library. In I'm not knocking any documentaries that are made about it you know were to Waxman's or are actually officially released it's great it's about this but. In order for an audience to be on paying attention you can't give them Sturm and and say you can't should be doing this now it can't be didactic he can't you can't beat the audience over the head. It is I didn't make what some called I appeals now. Sounds good for you she eat it and I don't want you tell us so I think this is more like a gluten free cheese cake it. Contributed food and Alan I wanna get in any kind of post this movie is a gluten looting Ricci case. But but we know we're on a thirty city tour. I've taken a film from Seattle. Down the coast across the country. We screened it at libraries at that the LA convention and her lovers as you can mention in oral instigated in Seattle at the at the mid winter crop. A screen it for a homeless advocacy groups screen getting homeless shelters. And what's. What has been so gratifying. For me and as a filmmaker is to watch the story unfold. For the people made for this movie celebrates the misfits and outcasts and marginalized war. And they're seeing themselves on screen there. And that's me and acts and it's inspiring them and their feeling empowered as they see. And so that is ultimately who I made the movie for. So. It's and it's been quite arrived and and I believe worth every bit of the twelve years that had invested. In in in this profit Catholic youth is because how many days did you actually had to Hughes so will you now you know it's. At what it takes to be taken if I think it independent movie yet this usually have a day in half right but it takes to twelve years to get exactly we wish articulate and in in twenty eighths acquisition you again way is I had to. Be very while Pratt. And and it was of feet really of the editor on this film beacons. The movie has an enormous cast and it pat we had to make it look like they were all they are the same time and so. You breach up every right. I don't know no right to Alec Baldwin you've got for for five days and Jeffrey Wright comes in and out of shooting west world he's got. You know six days and kill a chilling in the middle and oranges and new black and she's got four days so how. And you're looking everybody's schedule. And you're thinking don't understand and don't they get it at but actors you know they they don't unless you've directed. You don't totally understand what the directors is going to certain trying to make all that and I don't bring any that stressed that this. I don't they never know with going on. Underneath them then we'll have pretty late fees because this time. Well as opposed to the way where you were in for didn't say we're second Jack exists is you everything right. Yet right now and and their and the scenes that I just what was directing rate didn't have to bill workers an actor there's there's word that. Should our I have to put on clean clothes it was you know negotiating I think those are those are degree games. But but again. And I couldn't wait for. Someone else to say yes to the role of Stewart. Again that's how it might have been another four years. This was a situation where it's like we we pulled the funny together we're gonna make this film let's go. And then of course the obvious connections were. Well nearly as back in the library after 35 years there's at that breakfast club connection. I don't ever and it will never effort now Nyerere and and that film just. You know is is it ended up being a very iconic film. And I am grateful for that but you know you talk to an factors nobody knows but hell. It is that happens when you say yes to me you know that was that that movie. I auditioned for. And the same yeah I auditioned for room chips that the TV show and and maybe a Taco Bell commercial it was it is we could drive in a way. Right which you can't anymore he could go to 89 and allegations and beaten. So they just happen to say yes. John Hughes said yes and I'm okay I'm I'm in this movie. Who knew 35 almost 35 years later but that would still be talking about but that because it is very strange because people are always on to the next thing and yet certain thing to do it but that whole. In vain he'd term about the brat pack and you're doing. Breakfast club and seeing almost buyer in the end to me. You know you'll always be Gordon Bombay to in the mighty god c'mon program actually affected. My kid growing up it was that people want to watch that kind of thing nominated but you moved on from. Even though the rest the world won't let you. They won't and an immoral you know. Maybe I need to show up you know looked like an old man before. You know please don't think you mean you don't do that you don't you direct your calendars. But you don't show up on it you're not in lake the latest Netflix HBO know where you're at home. They'll which isn't to say that I wouldn't. I love acting I love the process I love being it's. And all of the communities that it is created when your when your in the middle of the project. But. But it would have to be the right thing. Now we see my dad had enormous success with the west wing. And my brother wit which would have meant so. It's it's there are there are examples within my own family where television has has worked out very well. So I don't rule it out I don't rule it out and I think. Potentially and and were I'm talking through a couple of companies about this but the public could be a great. TV show the aggressors he 1012. Episodes. Per season and it's showed he could move from from city to city. You can do the first season instances of difference here. Jettison the cast yes we're putting UN. In an incident in Seattle New York Public Library needed to showed he could move all over the war all of them the country. But at at. The root out it. To me is an issue of Civil Disobedience. And we live in an error now I'll get super political but we're it this art in our civil liberties are being squeezed the track. And so even though you waiting twelve years. I don't think he credible and it. At a more pertinent time. Intern what we see it adds one that's at that. But when you do this in in terms of your social consciousness. Is that something done with you all your life. Because I did I said before Bobby which is the assassination of Robert Kennedy but about people becoming. Politically engaged as a result of who he represented in him being gone the way. A movie I really think uses essential kind of thing for people to watch and about a spiritual pilgrimage and can. A commune known Santiago right. And now with public you're doing is is this something that you have in your head as. This is what I want to do I want to make movies that won't make me die. But that are cold I that's sad terrible thing this. But it of course that's not true. Because it doesn't cost a fortune to do it so it does stretch of the RO line and this can be but he's not making avengers much it's not now not many films do do. But but I'm of when you make films that are personal. You know they do come with a cost to your point become of the personal cost oftentimes come of the financial cost. Beat it not just lost opportunity but sometimes you're putting your own. Funds it to keep it going or to get at go. And initially so. I think that you twenty years ago I really took a left turn. If you well I stopped making movies for the studios. And I started making bogeys for me movies that I felt that. We're movies and I would Agassi. But also films that we were. About people felt films it had a shared humanity. And I think if you look at those. Sometimes physically started with the work home was about a that suffer from PT SD in 1972. Kathy Bates played my mother my father. Please my dad Kimberly Williams plays my sister. And it's a family coming to grips with what post traumatic stress disorder looks like before we knew what to call it. And so it began there and then of course Bobby and the way in on the public and all of that the last twenty years haven't had truly informed were on that right now. And I think what those films all have in common. Is that I don't believe anybody walks the planet pain free you know we all have a certain amount of trauma in our lives. And and whether we and it's really about it's about degrees in about how we process that trauma and so. I think that all of these films have the be the common thread of shared trauma. What does it look like what without by the Kennedy in the world. What does it look like when a family can't deal with have that returning from the war what does a spiritual journey look like when you're experiencing grief. But because a loss in the sun and now with the public what does it look like for the poor and the marginalized. And outcasts and misfits. To. Be criminalized. Continually and and have their resources taken away now what does that look like in the context. Of this this new film. And so I think again they have a shared humanity and have they these films have a shared. Trauma. And what and what Lawson went brief look like. But your films all of the one. You to mention. Don't leave view at the end despair it. Now the big deal with despairing issues. But there's there's a sense that there's a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel you've been called naive for that and China and this sense his if that's what knife tape is have been you know let's have some more because we do live in a world where. Everybody has become cynical about the idea of what the process. I couldn't agree with you more. And I I would say that. I am me I am not an optimist. You. Because I think that's me. I am what Doctor King called them a prisoner Pope. I'm president and I'm happy to be jailed. In that in that lock up as a personal for the rest of my life that I think we if you don't have hope. And you are gonna live in despair. And and I want my films. Hew to be a reflection of that I want people to go out. On on me on a note where a where where they meet two. Be willing to join me in that prison. By each team. You know we were talking before where you go between what we doing during twelve years while you're waiting for it to be used everything good. And screen everything bill that with the folks that my dad's on Grayson Frankie he's he's he's done that would show. The they're in their sixties and not my mom she turns. Along with John Steinbeck's grapes of wrath but also turns eighty this year there about four days apart. So. I am Charlie's problems to agree he's he's I'm not speaking at a class at sixteen month to sobriety now it's like. Is that they're just there are miracles happening all around. And then my guests have been eaten and and healthy and and an increased spears. So I'm I'm blessed for salon living in the bonus. Have my parents are still together there's still alive. My siblings are terrific. Those. Those twelve years I'm I me the way. During during that time but but I get involved in the wine business I've learned how to. Adam. I actually planning her penal laws in an alarm my backyard and yet thousand vines. As so I but I was making wine in the garage. For starters it became business. I learned how to groom food chickens for eggs I kept the news network mock says to. I mean I was at I was a small farmer. When I was growing. Q tons of Prodi's an acre of land every year imagine. That's 4000. Because it's unclear. Sinaloa chancellors and I had Loretta Cain and now because I've got foreigner pounds of cucumbers and all come right at the same time so I was. I learned some skills they didn't fall back and yet there were things that inform your life moving near skills that. That you you don't ever lose no matter how old you yet you I'm always you know how to how to make cheese and out of plant food ammo it. I maniacal and in nineteen thank you had the forward most in two don't think who live in the path the I don't really see when they have all these movies you did now in the anniversary I won't regret that Edward Shea has booked as are you don't want no actors. I'm with Ed and it's like. I don't well if you walk at my house. There are no movie posters there are no photos of famous people there's there's Stanley pictures and books and some art and little bit of furniture but. The most part if you don't know what I do you won't know because I'm not against your plan a living. And I'm I try to be used forward thinking as I can. Often times people want to drag you back here and your point breakfast club reunions Mighty Ducks reunions in. And I and I explained to the producers and directors whose feelings are often hurt. And cast members through and Molly renewals been very vocal element is it wouldn't she call me Greta Garbo of the Catholic. And I don't want to take that. I don't just want to be left alone of course in I enjoyed it enjoyed being out in and talking to people and and being in the world. But I don't. And I'm not. Interest fitting in in in going backwards. And and and living in my. I I don't want my. Previous work. To influence were formally them what when I'm good with the one do you want. The most from an audience going defeatist mood how would you like him to you when they. That they would see themselves on screen. That they would see. Again we talked earlier about just the importance of wipers importance of Civil Disobedience importance of your First Amendment right. Of free speech and these. The importance of the right to send. In. Really what's going on in this country the marginalization and normalization. Or. Use. I find. Unacceptable I'm not okay with that and and when you have. 575000. Homeless individuals. That. At any given night don't have a roof over their head that I'm not okay with. When. You have C a system that continues to criminalize these people toward the situation that there and I'm also not okay with that. So how do we collectively get our arms around. And and solve this issue because it is homelessness is is knot it a condition to situation. And it hasn't really been around that long this is it were relatively. Early there and recent phenomena we're last forty years. I'll win that right after the the mental health services act was enacted by President Carter it was repealed the next. Year but the incoming administration along with the the honest budget. And enacted by rate Reagan which guided. The Hyde. By 77%. She had these these the this enormous hit. That affected poor people and people color more than AM. Demo in the country so so I think again it's a relatively new. Issue. That we if we get our arms around it itself. Where the should be talked about and discuss let's get in the conversation it's just get into that aren't well. This the first having done this particular show me Seattle we edits and saw. And rapid that you have to look at look at the panic are underwater ever wonder blasting a what you're about the find out. Well it's all there is a song and for the public yes and it's a great job. And I would love to hear. That piecing it together drug dilemma and I know this so get ready and I'm ready one. 23. I can't see clear it. Rey de Alan. I can see. You all obstacles. In mile away. Now enough I'm not acting. We got edited heavily on government I have got its what is the end. There's going to be over we're we're. Sunshine it day. Amelio Estevez the musical connect I don't like wanna see it stint on Broadway have application. I live in a million thank you so much for occupancy easy.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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