Martin was born Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez, but took the stage name Martin Sheen shortly before starring in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Academy Award-winning film Apocalypse Now, choosing his professional last name in honor of Catholic TV pioneer Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Martin’s father, Francisco Estevez, was a native of Spain, where The Way takes place.
The film tells of a bereaved father on a hiking pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James, in northern Spain. It stars Martin as the dad and Emilio as the late son. The film was directed by Emilio.
Charlie was born Carlos Irwin Estevez. As a boy, he made amateur Super 8 films with his big brother and school friends Rob Lowe and Sean Penn under his birth name. Just before graduation, he was expelled from
school for poor grades and attendance. Deciding to become an actor, he took his father’s professional last name.
Martin Sheen in "The Way"
Rescuing an inspirational movie isn’t exactly within Charlie’s public image. The actor played the rogue in such films as Red Dawn, Young Guns, Platoon, Wall Street and Major League.
As Charlie Harper on the TV situation comedy Two and a Half Men, he played the alcohol-soaked cad Charlie Harper who brought giggling one-night stands home to a Malibu beach house shared with a dim-witted teenage nephew and the boy’s aimless, divorced father.
In that role, Sheen was the highest paid actor on television, earning $1.8 million per episode.
His personal life mirrored the show as he flaunted alcohol and drug abuse and paraded before the cameras multiple live-in girlfriends, who he called his “goddesses.” He was kicked off the show after a very public dispute with producer Chuck Lorre. He subsequently went on a highly publicized in-your-face nationwide tour in which he mocked his detractors and justified his behavior.
His father told the Catholic Herald that The Way could not have been released without Charlie riding to the rescue. Martin told the magazine
“I think that that should be known about him along with everything else,” Martin said, adding that Charlie is “traveling a slightly different road from some of us – he’s on a different Camino, let’s say.”
“But we’re all pilgrims, after all,” said Martin, “and his journey is not over yet.”