Australian film The Way, My Way, stars Chris Haywood

Politics


The film also stars Bennett's wife, Jennifer Cluff, playing herself.

The two actors are among only four professionals in the 24-person cast, the rest are pilgrims, fellow hikers, whom Bennett met on the first of his 11 Camino adventures.

Actress Laura Lakshmi, and pilgrims Balazs Orban and Laszlo Vas, starring in The Way, My Way.

“I'm not religious at all, but I experienced my little miracle on the way, when I met my oldest daughter for the first time,” said Haywood, father of five, including artist daughter Charlotte with his first wife Wendy Hughes. .

While filming in the Spanish village of Hontanas, Haywood's eldest daughter Claire, 50, who recently tracked him down thanks to Ancestry.com, visited him on set.

Actor Chris Haywood meets his adopted daughter Claire for the first time on Spain's Camino de Santiago.

Actor Chris Haywood meets his adopted daughter Claire for the first time on Spain's Camino de Santiago.Credit: Chris Haywood

“I knew of his existence because his mother had told me she had given him up for adoption in 1973, but it was a real pleasure to meet her,” he said.

“I hadn't worked on a film since COVID-19, and suddenly after Bill asked me to do this one, I got three other film jobs, which was another miracle.

There were a lot of people my age walking the Camino, which just goes to show you never know what's around the corner at any age.”

“Now I understand why wherever you go in the world you meet 'fellow travelers' who have thrown away the distractions of everyday life to find the freedom to walk and talk on this pilgrimage,” Haywood said.

The film premiered last month at Mount Vic Flicks, in a sold-out national Q&A tour thanks in part to the support of the 16 local Australian Friends of the Trail chapters.

A new tour with 12 film Q&As is scheduled for this month and the film will be released on 100 screens across the country, unusual for a local independent production.

Filming The Way, My Way on Spain's Camino de Santiago in 2023.

Filming The Way, My Way on Spain's Camino de Santiago in 2023.

“The popularity of the film shows that there is so much interest in the trail in Australia, not only for those who have walked it, but also for those who are curious about it,” said Margaret Boutell, from the group 750 members of Blue Mountains Camino Supporters.

It even has its own five-day local 'mini Camino' from Penrith to Blackheath to replicate the Spanish experience of long-distance walking.

Bennett and Cluff spent last weekend in Croatia at the Adria Camino Festival, where the film was enthusiastically received by some of the European pilgrims who star in it.

Chris Haywood plays his director friend Bill Bennett in the movie The Way, My Way.

Chris Haywood plays his director friend Bill Bennett in the movie The Way, My Way.

Next week it will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival from May 14 to 25.

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