>> Martin and me. It was a collaborative process; he had ideas
and suggestions for scenes and I would try to work them organically into the piece. Once we figured out that it’s going
to be a father-son story, I was struck with the idea that the
road itself is a metaphor for life, and the Wizard of Oz was
a great template. If Tom is Dorothy, let’s figure out the Tin
Man, the Scarecrow, and the Lion. We also had to figure out
how to get his character to Spain and how to keep it interesting along the way and have his character face his demons. In
every road movie, a person will have to face their demons one
way or another, whether they are actual demons and monsters impeding the traveler's progress, or the demons that are
inside of all of us.
FT: Did you experience any unexpected moments working
on the film?
EE: The entire experience was filled with surprises. I saw
the things that could have been inconveniences as real gifts.
For instance, if a crowd of tourists got off the train and
walked through the shot, years ago I would have lost my
mind and said, “Oh that shot is ruined,” but on The Way,
I embraced all the flaws and included them in the film. If a
crowd of people walked through the frame they may be in
the movie now.
That was cool to be open to moments of divine intervention. There are always two ways to look at a situation: as
either a problem or a miracle. On this film, I saw things that
could have been problematic as miracles and this film celebrates our flaws.
There were some actual miracles too. We were warned
against shooting in the north of Spain during the time that we
were there because we heard every day that it would rain. My
fear was a downpour that would slow everything down. We
were on a long 40-day schedule, but it only rained twice and
both of those days we were shooting inside. To some people
familiar with the Camino, this film isn’t authentic because
the characters never wore ponchos and their shoes weren't
caked with mud.
FT: What do you hope the viewer takes away from watching this film?
EE: This film is about transformation, and ultimately anyone’s transformation comes from within.
Transformation doesn't come from something you’re going
to glue on yourself or a medical visit that is going to make
yourself more complete or better. We are currently living in a
culture where we are told over and over again that we have
to look a certain way and if you don’t then you are discarded.
In the end all these characters arrive at a place where they
say to themselves, “I'm okay being exactly who I am.”
When Joost, the heavyset guy says, “I needed a new suit
anyway,” he is okay with being who he is. Jack is okay with
not having the last word. Being okay with who you are is a
powerful statement, especially in the culture that we live in
where it’s difficult to come to that place. For example, older
people are constantly being told to be younger. There is wis-
dom in age and it’s important to be comfortable in your own
skin. That is a place that we all need to get to and whether we
do or not is another story. I like being my age.
FT: It sounds like making this film and exploring this story
is part of your personal journey.
EE: In my life, I’ve been in places when I was chasing a lot
of what I now see as the wrong things. I was saying yes to
movies not because of how I thought they would affect me
but because they were the movies that other people thought
that I should do. Between making the film Bobby and now, I
believe that I’ve become happier.
FT: Speaking of Bobby, did the approval and success you
received from that film shift things for you?
EE: Any project worth doing is going to cost you something personally or professionally. When that film came together, people believed in me. But then when I set out to make
The Way, it fell on deaf ears in Hollywood. I stuck with it
because saw the potential; the film is about human beings.
People are tired of going to the movies and seeing everything
dumbed down. I hope to continue to make movies that celebrate our humanity. I see myself creating entertainment that
FT: Where in LA do you find your personal Camino?
EE: I love walking the Backbone Trail. It starts at Will Rogers Park and winds all the way to Point Mugu within the
Santa Monica Mountains, the largest park that is in close
proximity to a large city. It takes three days to walk the entire
60 miles. I’ve done it in sections and it’s a goal of mine to do
the entire hike in the three-day period. It’s the closest thing to
a Camino we have in the city.
FT: What daily practices help you to stay focused and
EE: I’ve been a runner since I was eleven years old and it is
my go-to meditation practice.
Martin continues to be a Yoga practitioner. He attributes
his years of Yoga practice to being able to hike over the Pyrenees at his age. He started Yoga 40 years ago before it was
as ubiquitous as it is now.
FT: What other projects are on the horizon for you?
EE: We are giving birth to this project now. It’s so personal
and we've been on it for so long that my focus is on this entirely. I'm in the middle of writing a book with Martin tentatively titled Along the Way. We are looking to finish it this fall
and it will be released next year, hopefully in time for Father’s
Day. It’s about our relationship over the years and how we
arrived at this place of making the film together.
The Way opens in theaters on October 7.
For showtimes or more information about
the film, visit: Theway-themovie.com