Entranced by the event displayed upon the television, 11 year-old Emilio felt something stir within. Was it the prurient nature of the swimsuit contest? No, he had yet to discover the possibilities of that part of his anatomy. Could it be the whiter than white gleam of the contestants’ teeth or the canned banality of their prepared answers when asked “What fruit best represents world peace?” Young Emilio held no interest in poise under pressure or musical water glasses. The beauty pageant was forced upon his eyes by his sister during tv time. It was her night to choose the channel and so young Emilio and the rest of the siblings had to endure Miss America. Little Charlie didn’t mind, despite his 8 years of age; he gazed intently with one raised eyebrow at the lurid affair. Young Emilio yawned initially. What could be enticing about this bland evening of boring women bearing false smiles?
As Miss Idaho entered from stage left to be introduced, her belly was the first thing visible and young Emilio perked up in intrigue. Idaho did her best not to waddle as she sauntered across the stage with something to prove. A smattering of applause and some boos. The first pregnant Miss America contestant. It had been scandal status and many believed it an outrage; the concept of a young, sexually active female, imbued with fetus, representing our puritanical nation. But Idaho stood proud as young Emilio’s heart leapt out from his chest.
He stared with awe and confusion but mostly a burning yearning he couldn’t understand. He cranked his head down to view his pre-teen body clad in orange-brown horizontal striped shirt and soft shorts. His belly was flat and that had never been unacceptable until now. Looking back at the television he saw a gallant warrior of pregnant glory standing in opposition to the frightening homogeneity of these tepid tit tournaments. As brother Charlie glanced over at young Emilio, he felt an immediate sense of shame and averted his widened eyes to the rug.
The famous emotional scene in the 1985 film, “The Breakfast Club”, wherein the five angst-ridden teenagers speak openly with one another regarding their motives and feelings was not scripted. John Hughes, in an effort to squeeze more potent, acned performances from the actors, instructed them to ad-lib. Emilio, perched upon a vulnerable 23 years of age, was fairly new to the “biz”, as he’d once heard his father call it, and had grown close to the other cast members with whom he felt he could lean on when the production became too overwhelming.
When it finally came time to film the scene, he felt an almost familial kinship with the others; so much so that Anthony Michael Hall would call him, “EmiliBRO”. Anthony was oft the joker of the pack. This closeness Emilio shared with them boosted his self-esteem to the peak it needed to ascend in order for him to mask his true sensitive and wanton nature to portray the athletic and popular Andrew Clark. But this was the emotional divot point in the film, the moment when each character reveals their insecurities. Emilio pulled Anthony aside and asked him what he was going to say. Anthony told him the story he had thought out. Emilio responded, “That’s so good!” as Anthony nodded and said, “And then I’m gonna cry and punch a chair.”
Inspired. The thought of diving to such a trench of despair to actually produce tears was invigorating to Emilio. He knew now he had to pull out a heart-felt and true piece of himself if acting was truly his life’s pursuit. Clearly Anthony was bound for life-long super-stardom with what thespian gems he had planned. The five of them sat on the floor in the staged school library’s upper deck, Emilio hunched against the railing and Hughes shouted, “Action!”.
With a pained breath and a quivering voice, Emilio revealed himself on film. He spoke of the lightning-like misery that shot through his being with every glance at his flat boy-stomach. He told them how every night he stuffs his pillow up his shirt and rubs it to sleep. He spoke of his several failed attempts to persuade a confused lamaze instructor to give him private lessons. He told them about Miss Idaho and the years of tears and longing, the constant shame, the hidden shrine of baby clothes stored in his closet. And he bawled. His emotions flushed from his soul and poured out onto the film-set floor. His face was near purple with feeling and his jaw ached like a chattering teeth toy.
As Hughes yelled, “Cut!”, the entire set was silent. Every person’s eyes, from the best boy to Judd Nelson, darted around at one another in uncomfortable bafflement. Ally Sheedy only managed to utter, “Um…” as a bewildered John Hughes crept toward Emilio contemplatively. “Well… That was definitely interesting, Em. But I’m afraid it doesn’t really make much sense in the scheme of the film”. Emilio scraped the moisture from his face and responded, “Yeah. Well. It was just a joke, you guys.” and without looking up from his feet, feigned a weak laugh. Molly Ringwald nervously chuckled in sympathy. Hughes decided to wrap shooting for the day and start anew later in the week. He wrote out a new monologue about a locker room butt-cheek brawl for Emilio to perform and nobody spoke of the pregnant outburst for the remainder of the production.
Enraged, Emilio stormed the office of his agent, Ronnie Glugman, surpassing the confused secretary who whimpered, “Mr Estevez-”, but the door had already slammed in his wake. Ronnie, slumped at his cluttered desk, headset in ear, mid-sentence, “He’s been in a daze ever since ‘Cybill’ was cancelled-” glanced up at the teeming actor and flashed the “just a minute” finger. Nostrils flared, Emilio stomped four steps toward him and smacked his index finger on the off hook, ending Ronnie’s call. Mouth agape, Ronnie asked, “What the hell is so important? That was Soleil Moon Frye’s people, she needs a new agent.” Emilio ignored this and screeched, “You cannot make decisions for me! I told you right off the bat, I will not do Mighty Ducks 4! I just received a phone call from the producer, he’s thrilled that I’m apparently coming back for it.”
Glugman sighed and replied, “Would you calm yourself, please?” Emilio took a breath, sat down, and responded, “No! I hate this chair!” Ronnie stood up and wheeled his chair around the desk, “Here, take mine.” Emilio pouted and barked, “You said whenever I come here, I get the rolly chair. You said you would sit in this stupid fold chair from now on so that whenever I stop in, I would get to sit in the rolly chair.” Ronnie placated him with a smile and responded, “I’m giving you the rolly chair! Here it is, it’s all yours.” Emilio begrudgingly transferred his buns to the periwinkle swivel mesh rolling chair as Ronnie carried the green foldable chair back behind his desk to sit down.
Ronnie feigned another smile and gently asked, “Everything better?” Emilio flew back into his actorly rage, “No! You should have TWO rolly chairs so that we never have this problem again!” Ronnie nodded, “Noted. Now can we talk about-” Emilio butted in, “I’m done with the duck movies, Ronnie!” Glugman calmly stated, “Emilio. It is 1998. It’s been two years since the third Mighty Duck film and the offers aren’t exactly rolling in.” Emilio leaned in and said, “I don’t give a shit, Ronnie, I’m not doing another one. I need to focus on MY film. You need to focus on it too.” Ronnie, a virtual sigh-factory in the presence of the demanding Estevez, once again released breath through his nose and tried, “The duck films are your saving grace, kid.” Emilio shouted, “I am 36 years old! Stop calling me ‘kid’!”
“So you refuse to do the movie? Is this what you’re telling me.”, Ronnie asked. “I will never even watch a hockey game again. Yes, I refuse to do the movie.”, Emilio said plainly. “Well then I don’t know what to do for you, kid. The only other offers are for made-for-tv movies on cable.”, Ronnie said. “Ronnie, have you even read my script?” Emilio inquired. Ronnie rolled his eyes and stated, “Yeah, Em. I read your ‘script’”.
Ronnie, his eyes weighed down by purple bags of jaded stress from dealing with clients like Emilio, poured a cup of water and handed it to him. “I’m not thirsty.”, said Emilio. Ronnie breathed in deep and began, “You are not going to like what I’m about to say. I normally try to avoid being this blunt with talent but something needs to be explained to you, Em… You will never get that script made.” Emilio’s face jumped, “But-”, Ronnie continued, “Never! It’s not going to happen. I cannot even begin to fathom why this has been your passion project for so many years. You won’t talk about anything else! I don’t get it, Emilio. It doesn’t even make any sense.” Emilio, taking umbrage, responded, “It’s a story about a lost soul, misunderstood by the pig-headed masses within the archaic constructs of a society only able to handle a heteronormative moral stance!” Ronnie leaned back in his foldable chair and asked softly, “Em… Is this script about you?”
Emilio leapt out of his chair and forced a loud guffaw. “What?! Are you crazy?! Of course not, that’s ridiculous. It’s about someone else, someone I made up.” Ronnie lifted his hands up in defeat, “Whatever. It doesn’t matter. It will never get made. And if you don’t do the duck movie, you’ll be stuck in made-for-tv hell for the rest of your career.” Emilio stormed backwards through the door of Glugman’s office and snarled with indignation, “I’ll show you!”