Emilio Estevez’s anguished liberal conscience is ready to entertain you again.  You loved the ninety-four-character, late-60s microcosm that was Bobby; now, let this son of Sheen take you on a tour of The Public.

Set in the Los Angeles Central Public Library on 5th Street (a must-visit if you live out here), Estevez’s comparably modest sixteen-character ensemble piece will contend with the plight of the homeless.  His screenplay is based on a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece penned by Chip Ward, a retired librarian concerned with the widespread use of the nation’s public libraries as havens by the dispossessed in lieu of actual, operating shelters (many of which have been shut down due to a lack of public funding).  It’s a milieu Estevez knows well; when I interviewed him for Bobby, we blew five minutes on a tangent going off on how magnificent L.A.’s Central Public Library is (it’s where he did the majority of his research for the 2006 film).  I don’t remember the homeless coming up, but they rarely ever do.

Estevez’s screenplay will focus on an act of civil disobedience staged by a librarian who refuses to turn away those seeking shelter on the two coldest days of the year in Los Angeles (obviously not as unforgiving as a New York City winter, but, um, if it’s raining and in the 40s, you really would rather be indoors).  Estevez is currently meeting with actors in anticipation of a March 26 start.  I doubt he’ll work with Lindsey Lohan again, but she’d be ideal casting for a film about mentally ill tramps. 

The Public is being financed by Eleven Eleven Films.