Emilio Estevez's Dream
In 1968, with the country in turmoil, the hopes of many Americans rested on New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy. With enthusiasm, passion and idealism, Senator Kennedy sought to bridge the great divide in America between blacks and whites, the young and old, and the rich and poor. "We can start to work together. We are a great country, a selfless country and a compassionate country," he said.
On June 4, 1968, Senator Kennedy won the California primary, paving the way to become the Democratic presidential nominee. His supporters were jubilant. However, the celebration would be short lived. Later that night, Senator Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel.
To honor his fallen hero, Emilio decided to write a film about Senator Kennedy and the night he lost his life. But for seven years, Emilio struggled to make his dream a reality. After writing 30 pages, he started suffering from a paralyzing case of writer's block. For years, when asked what he was working on, Emilio would say a Bobby Kennedy movie—but he felt it was a lie. "I was at a place, [where] I think, emotionally and spiritually I was broken," Emilio says.
Charlie read Emilio's script in the backyard and returned with an important message. "He said, 'You have to go finish this. … You have to do this. This is potentially your life's work. It will change your life if you finish it,'" Emilio recalls.
At his brother's urging, Emilio got in his car and started driving. He checked into a Pismo Beach, California, motel. There, a woman recognized him and asked him why he was there. "I said, 'Well, I'm working on a film about the day Bobby Kennedy was shot.'" Emilio says. "'My God,' she said, 'I was there.'"
Right after Bobby's speech, her friend's dad wanted to leave to beat traffic. As they left, they heard what they thought were firecrackers. "We heard the shots. And we left. But we didn't realize that they were shots," Diane says. Diane didn't realize Bobby had been shot until she got home and turned on the television.
Diane's story helped reignite Emilio's passion for his project. She even became a character in the script!
Emilio says the actors were even star struck by one another. "I remember the first week of shooting, Anthony Hopkins ran up to me and … he was like 6 years old again. And he said, 'I can't believe I'm working with Bill Macy,'" Emilio says. "And then five minutes later Bill Macy would come up to me and … he's saying, 'I can't believe I'm working with Anthony Hopkins!'"
Emilio says working with his former fiancée Demi Moore was a great experience—he even wrote a part just for her! Emilio and Demi play an abused husband and an alcoholic wife in the film. "It was no reflection on what our relationship was like when we were engaged," Emilio jokes. "She and I had been friends for years."
"Emilio brings out the very best in you as an actor and as a human being. You know, I frankly can't think of a more proud moment than I'm having right now with his success with Bobby. He's finally realizing a dream," Martin says. "It has not been an easy journey, but he's never wavered and he's stayed focused and always true to Bobby Kennedy and himself. … Emilio, I cannot be prouder of you."
Martin says remembering Bobby Kennedy is important in light of today's events. "When Emilio decided to do a story about Bobby Kennedy, he was reawakening for his generation what I had experienced in the '60s in my generation," Martin says. "He was a great hope. The young people need to hear that voice again. And it's very powerful."
In the film, Lindsay plays a young woman who agrees to marry a classmate to keep him from going to Vietnam—a character based on the true story of Diane Huber's life. Lindsay says Emilio's excitement for the project was one of the many reasons she wanted to do the film. "I met with Emilio and I've never seen someone so passionate about a film, and the meaning behind it, as much as he was. … And the cast was incredible," she says. "It's bringing attention to a great leader that we've had. For my generation, I think that's important."
Is Lindsay's reputation as a so-called party girl true? "No. I mean, I've been acting my whole life. And this is what I love to do. And I'm very lucky and blessed to be able to do that," Lindsay says. "I'm 20 years old. Is it a crime to go…dancing with your friends? It's not. I have a life and I have my family and I have work and I have those three things."
Emilio says Lindsay was great to work with—and was always on time. "The media likes to focus on [the negative] because it sells. And the fact of the matter is I'd rather have them focus on how extraordinary she is in this film and how dedicated and how passionate she is in this role," Emilio says. "You see a young actress mature on film and you see her do, I think, the best work of her life."
"I believe that the death of Bobby Kennedy was, in many ways, the death of decency in America. … And I believe that we lost our way," Emilio says. "We need to reconnect to our humanity because we have come so far away from that. We've come so far away from treating one another as brothers and sisters. … We're so much better than where we're at."
The film also shows that Bobby Kennedy's message is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago, Oprah says. On the day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Bobby Kennedy delivered these words: "Those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life, that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness. Surely this bond of common fate, this bond of common goals, can begin to teach us something, and we can begin to work a little harder to become, in our hearts, brothers and countrymen once again."