Laurence Fishburne Saved Emilio Estevez From Drowning in Quicksand at 14 During ‘Apocalypse Now’ Shoot: ‘Bonded Ever Since’

Emilio Estevez recalled on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” that he was 14 years old when Laurence Fishburne saved him from drowning in quicksand in the Philippines. The two were in the Philippines for the production of Frances Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war epic “Apocalypse Now,” in which Fishburne had a supporting role. Estevez’s father, Martin Sheen, had a starring role in the film as U.S. Army Captain Benjamin Willard.

“He says, ‘Hey there’s this little boat, let’s go out on it.’ I said, ‘Sure.’ We were both 14 at the time,” Estevez said of Fishburne. “So we were out on this boat together, and we started getting too close to the shore and I said, ‘Well, let me jump out, I’ll push us offshore. I jumped out, and it was like quicksand mud.”

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“I was sinking, and I just saw Fishburne just looking at me going, ‘Grab my hand!’ and he pulled me back onto the boat,” Estevez continued. “We were bonded ever since.”

Sheen was never told the story of Estevez’s near-quicksand death until decades later. When he was finally informed, he reached out to Fishburne directly.

“I called Mr. Fishburne to thank him for saving my son’s life,” Sheen said.

Sheen was only 21 years old when Emilio Estevez was born. Because he had a young family, Sheen often made it a priority in his film contracts to ensure his family could stay with him if a film production was at a remote location for an extended period of time. Such was the case with “Apocalypse Now,” one of the most infamous productions in Hollywood history. Sheen suffered a near fatal heart attack during production. He was only 36 years old at the time.

Watch Sheen and Estevez’s full interview on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” in the video below.

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