Martin Sheen walks to Compostella in new film

Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez

Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez

When Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella on Saturday, two people in the congregation were Hollywood actor Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez, who had just completed a film set on the ancient Camino pilgrimage route to the traditional burial place of the Apostle James.

Sheen, who is now 70, told reporters: "I first heard about the trail from my father, who came from this part of Spain. But in those days I wasn't a practicing Catholic and it didn't mean much to me." Sheen says he went off the rails after Apocalypse Now, but following a spell in rehab, in his late 30s, he returned to the Church and is now a very committed Catholic.

Initially Sheen asked his son Emilio to collaborate with him on a documentary about the Camino, but Emilio said he wanted to something 'grander' - a story of a father and son who have chosen different paths in life, who both set out on the Camino for different reasons at different times.

The project took a couple of years. They filmed it last year walking along the entire 800 km path. On Monday night the film was premiered in Santiago de Compostela.

"The film is about a very personal introspecitve journey" Sheen said. "When you see the pilgrims, they set out in groups but mostly end up walking in a single line."

In 'The Way,' Sheen plays a California doctor who struggles with the fact that his son has thrown in his studies to go off to travel the world. But after his son dies in a storm in the Pyrenees, Sheen flies to France and once there, decides to do the pilgrimage in his son's honour, scattering his ashes along the way.

For more information see the official website of The Way:

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