The 2010 film The Way directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen is set to be re-released this year.
But a major difference in the film will be that Sheen won’t be listed in the credits. Instead, the lead role will be attributed to Ramon Estevez, Sheen’s birth name.
Speaking with Today on Tuesday, Emilio explained why he decided to not change his name to Sheen once he started getting his feet wet in Hollywood.
“Back in the day in 1958, [my father] changed his name from Ramón Estévez to Martin Sheen because, at the time, there was a lot of prejudice against people with the Hispanic name,” he started.
“Years later, in 1967, my grandfather, Francisco, to whom I dedicate the movie to, came to see him on Broadway when he was doing, ‘The Subject Was Roses,’” Estevez continued. “He stood outside of the theater and looked up at the marquee, and my dad saw him shake his head in disappointment, and so he never got over that.”
“And so I think when it was time for me to sort of start making those moves and start getting out and doing auditions, [Martin] said, ‘Man, if I had one thing to do over, it was that I never would have changed my name.’”
Martin, or Ramon, has previously spoken on his regrets of changing his name for his career.
Speaking with Closer Weekly in June 2022, the Apocalypse Now star shared how he got into show business and why he decided to have a stage name.
Talking about the hardships he experienced trying to get his parents to approve of his career choice, he said, “Both my parents were immigrants. My father was from Spain, and my mother was from Ireland. My real name is Ramon Estévez . My father was very practical. He was a factory worker for most of his adult life, and he wanted me to go to college and improve my chances of making a better living than he did. We had some very, very painful confrontations about it.”
After much discussion and persuasion, Martin was able to convince his parents that he was capable of making a name for himself, to which his father “blessed” him and continued to do so until his death.
“I adored him,” Sheen added.
He went on to explain that he wasn’t aware that his children would follow in his footsteps to pursue a Hollywood career, including his son Emilio. The one piece of advice he gave his son was to not change his name, and he never did.
“I thank god he didn’t,” Sheen said.
But for Sheen, he had already built a career on his stage name, despite having never legally changed his birth name.
“That’s one of my regrets,” Martin confessed. “I never changed my name officially. It’s still Ramon Estévez on my birth certificate. It’s on my marriage license, my passport, driver’s license. Sometimes you get persuaded when you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, and you pay for it later. But, of course, I’m only speaking for myself.”
By dedicating his and his son’s joint project The Way – which was filmed in Spain and told a story of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela – to his late father, he says it was able to give him the “deepest gratitude and satisfaction” in his career.
“It is the best thing I’ve ever done,” he added. “Thousands of people have seen the film and been inspired to do the pilgrimage. That is a great source of satisfaction and pride.”