Emilio Estevez remembers his dad shouting the Lord's Prayer 'at the top of his lungs' while being arrested

Emilio Estevez in his latest movie, The Public(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Emilio Estevez is the son of Hollywood legend Martin Sheen but in addition to being a star of the big screen, his dad was also a passionate activist who often found himself on the wrong side of the law with his public protests. 

Estevez, most famous as the teenager on detention in the 1985 flick The Breakfast Club, shared some insights into his adolescence in an interview with the British magazine for the homeless, The Big Issue

He said his dad's activism mostly concerned immigration, the homeless, and campaigning against nuclear weapons. 

The activism is especially resonating with Estevez now because his latest movie, The Public, is about a librarian who takes a brave stand for the homeless people in his local community.

He says his dad was arrested 69 times for non-violent civil disobedience and that when he was young, he used to feel "embarrassed" about it.  But as he got older, his attitude changed and now he's thanking his dad for the lessons he taught him. 

"As a boy and as a young man, I would watch him on the news - oftentimes they would only cover the protests because he was going and he was drawing attention to the issue," he told the magazine.

"Or I would sit next to my mother as he was carted off in handcuffs, reciting the Lord's Prayer at the top of his lungs looking out of his mind.

"I was embarrassed as a young man.

"I understood fundamentally why he was doing it, but did not understand on a spiritual level until I started working on my new film, The Public - which takes place in a library and deals with homelessness and mental illness."

The movie already released in the US in April, but in the UK, it's coming out to theaters on January 2020. 

Sheen was really moved when he watched a screening of the movie, Estevez says. "I screened it for my dad and he was in tears.

"I said, 'I paid attention. I understood.  I listened to you - and God bless you.' 

"I thanked him for another lesson I didn't realise I was learning."