Emilio Estevez, 60, recently recounted a harrowing experience on The Jennifer Hudson Show that took place when he was just a teenager. Estevez was visiting his father, Martin Sheen, on the set of the 1979 Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now when he nearly drowned in a river in the Philippines, according to Variety. Estevez recalled being out on a boat with Laurence Fishburne, who played a supporting part in the film. When they got close to the shore, Emilio Estevez decided to jump out and push the boat offshore. However, he found himself quickly sinking in the quicksand-like mud. Fishburne saved his life, reaching out and pulling him back up to safety.
Estevez and Fishburne were teenagers at the time and had only known each other for a couple of days. But the incident created an unbreakable bond between them. Estevez described Laurence Fishburne looking at him and saying, “Grab my hand!” as he pulled him back up to the surface. Estevez’s father, Martin Sheen, never knew about the incident until decades later when he learned of it from his son. He reached out to Fishburne to thank him for saving his son’s life.
Sheen played the lead role in the film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The infamous production was plagued with problems, including Sheen suffering a near-fatal heart attack at just 36 years old. Sheen often made sure his family could stay with him on location for extended film shoots. And that is how Estevez came to be in the Philippines and nearly lose his life in the river.
Estevez and Fishburne have remained friends since that fateful day on the river. Estevez spoke about the incident on The Jennifer Hudson Show alongside his father as they promoted their upcoming film, The Way. Estevez’s story is a reminder of the importance of friendship and the unexpected ways that people can impact our lives.