Emilio Estevez Says He Took the Role of Billy The Kid from this Famous Star

YOUNG GUNS II, Emilio Estevez, 1990
Everett Collection

Emilio Estevez is reminiscing about playing Billy the Kid and teasing a third movie while celebrating Young Guns‘ 35th anniversary. The 61-year-old played the iconic character in the first two films and admitted that he basically begged to play the part. In fact, the director had another big star in mind to play the role: Kiefer Sutherland. Sutherland did end up getting cast but as Doc.

Estevez explained, “I lobbied hard because I was not the first choice. The director was looking at a lot of other actors to play that role. I actually called the director who I knew I’d worked with before [on 1985’s ‘That Was Then… This Is Now’], and I said, ‘I was born to play Billy the Kid.’ And he says, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘I was born to play this role, and you can go on and audition whomever you want.’ I said, ‘I’ll come in, I’ll audition, whatever you want, you’re going to end up casting me in this film.’

YOUNG GUNS, Kiefer Sutherland, 1988

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection.

He continued, “And he says, ‘Well, what about you playing Doc? You’re more of the sensitive guy. I’m really thinking about Kiefer Sutherland to play Billy.’ I said, ‘You got it the wrong way, bro. You got it the wrong way. Switch ’em.’ And he did. Sorry, Kiefer.”

YOUNG GUNS, Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, 1988.

Everett Collection

Young Guns, also starring Estevez’s brother Charlie Sheen, premiered on August 12, 1988, and was one of the highest-grossing movies of the year. Since it did so well, a sequel quickly followed in 1990. Despite coming out over three decades ago, Estevez confirmed that a third movie is still in the works. In fact, there was a first draft of the script in 2021 that reportedly featured the character Chavez making a return despite an apparent death in the second film.

YOUNG GUNS II, (back l-r): Alan Ruck, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, (front l-r): Balthazar Getty, Emilio Estevez, Christian Slater, 1990

20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection

John Fusco, who created the first two films, is back and finishing up the new script. However, Estevez joked that since the original cast has obviously aged over 30 years, they can’t really call it Young Guns anymore so it may just be Guns. If you want to go back and watch the first two films, they are available to stream on The Roku Channel and FreeVee.

Wild West- Heroes & Villains
Want More?

Wild West- Heroes & Villains

November 2022

Celebrates the unique sense of justice, compassion and adventure in the Old West as seen on TV and in the movies

Buy This Issue