Talk about commitment! Emilio Estevez’s new film, “The Public,” is finally in theaters. It’s the result of a 12-year push Estevez was determined to see to the end.
“This started April 1, 2007,” Estevez said in a recent appearance on “Popcorn with Peter Travers.” “I read an article written by a librarian who was retiring from Salt Lake City. His name was Chip Ward. The piece was about how libraries had become de facto homeless shelters.”
He added, “I was really moved by the piece. I had done the bulk of my research at the downtown branch of the public library. So I went back to see if it was every bit as bad as Mr. Ward was talking about. And of course it was not localized to Salt Lake City. And this was happening in Los Angeles and in every urban library across the country.”
Estevez knew immediately he wanted to help tell the story.
“I started imagining what it would look like if the patrons, most of whom are homeless, and some of whom are mentally ill, what if they staged an old fashioned 60s protest and refused to leave? What would that look like?” Estevez said.
That idea would become the focus of the film: a group of homeless people refuse to leave a Cincinnati Public Library because the weather is too cold and they have nowhere to go.
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Estevez wrote, directed and stared in the film. His co-stars include Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Wright and Taylor Schilling.
“Twenty years ago I took a left turn. I stopped making movies for studios. And I started making movies for me, movies that I felt that were movies that I would go see. But also films that were about people. Films that have a shared humanity,” Estevez said.
"The Public" can be seen in theaters everywhere.
Watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Emilio Estevez in the video above.