“I cried out that I can’t play a character who’s complaining about owning a million-dollar piece of real estate in downtown Minneapolis when the city’s on fire around us.”
Emilio Estevez says he’s “terribly proud” of his former “Mighty Ducks” co-star Shaun Weiss amid his sobriety journey.
In a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, the 58-year-old actor — who reprises his role as Coach Gordon Bombay in the upcoming Disney+ series “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” — weighed in on Weiss’ road to recovery.
Weiss, 42, who famously starred as Goalie Greg Goldberg in the “Mighty Ducks” films, has battled drug addiction and was arrested for meth and burglary back in 2020. However, last January marked Weiss’ one year of sobriety.
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“As everyone knows, my family is not immune to that sort of scrutiny,” said Estevez, whose brother, Charlie Sheen, struggled with addiction in the past.
“Sean’s journey has been a very personal journey for him,” Estevez continued, adding that he hasn’t reached out to Weiss. “I do hold him in high regard and I know getting sober for him is obviously a big deal.”
“I’m terribly proud of him,” he shared. “The first leg of the journey is now under his belt, I’m encouraged and I’m hopeful.”
“The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” a 10 episode series, is set 25 years after “D3: The Mighty Ducks.” While several of the Original Ducks will be appearing in an episode of “Game Changers,” Disney reportedly didn’t invite Weiss to return, according to TMZ.
When asked if he would like to see Weiss or any other of the Original Ducks make an appearance on the series if it gets picked up for a second season, Estevez stressed that all of the OG Ducks are “certainly welcome to join.”
“Steve Brill, the original creator of [‘The Mighty Ducks’], and I like to say that the door is always open to any of the Original Ducks to join us,” he explained. “Once an OD always an OD.”
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Meanwhile, Estevez also spoke about “Game Changes” in an interview with Vanity Fair, during which he revealed that there were arguments with Disney about including timely issues — such as Black Lives Matter protests, George Floyd’s death and the coronavirus pandemic — in the new series.
“Coming out of the independent world where I was making movies that I felt had to be socially relevant and had to be meaningful, I jumped into doing the Ducks,” Estevez told the publication. “It’s set in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul. We started filming the year and in the same city that George Floyd was murdered. And yet here we were making five hours of television, and we don’t mention it.”
“So I pushed back at the producers and at the studio,” he continued. “I said, ‘You know, guys, we have to acknowledge this. We’re in the middle of a pandemic.’ I got on my soapbox and I cried out that I can’t play a character who’s complaining about owning a million-dollar piece of real estate in downtown Minneapolis when the city’s on fire around us.”
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However, according to Estevez, Disney didn’t go for it.
Estevez explained, “The pushback was, ‘This is a show that people need that doesn’t remind them of what’s happening in the world right now. That is the Disney brand. We’re not going to acknowledge the virus; we’re not going to acknowledge the systemic racism; we are going to be comfort food as we shoot these episodes.'”
“I got in a huge argument with the showrunners about it,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Look, you’ve got to check your own privilege here. We have an obligation as artists, as storytellers to speak to the times that we’re living in.’ And there was pushback.”
Ultimately, Estevez said he “understood” where Disney was coming from, adding that he hopes viewers will find “a little bit of a silver lining and solace in what’s been a very, very dark year.”
“The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” is streaming now on Disney+.
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