(CBS Local)– Emilio Estevez sees life and films in the same way.

Everything is seen through an epic lense for the star and actor director. Estevez’s latest project can certainly be categorized as epic after it took 12 years to make. His movie “The Public” tells the story of a group of homeless men who refuse to leave the library during a bitter cold winter night in Cincinnati. This film was one of the biggest challenges of Estevez’s career.

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“When you think big, that means bigger sets and more extras,” said Estevez in an interview with CBS Local. “That’s why I don’t make too many films. I like to take my time. This was too long, frankly…this took 12 years. So much of it is funding and a movie about the library, homelessness, and mental health doesn’t push the blockbuster button. They want a sure thing, but there is no such thing as a sure thing. The fact that this movie got made is a testament to the hard work of the people that believed in it.”

Estevez stars and directs the film that features Hollywood heavy hitters like Alec Baldwin, Michael K. Williams, Taylor Schilling and Gabrielle Union. The director wanted to send a message about various topics, without it looking like a message. Estevez has been on sets with many talented directors and picked up tips like this from one of the greats in Francis Ford Coppola.

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“I was in the Philippines and watched Francis Ford Coppola direct ‘Apocalypse Now,'” said Estevez. “Obviously an epic film and an epic scale because it was intended to be that. I really had the advantage of watching these directors at work. I dug in and watched them create their art. Even when I went off to create films that had limited budgets and resources, I always thought of the big screen. It’s very difficult for me to think about a small screen experience, when I grew up with the big screen experience.”

The Brat Pack star ended up working with Coppola just a few years later on “The Outsiders” in 1983. That was just one of the movies that hit big for Estevez during his storied career. One that came as a surprise was a Disney movie about hockey that turned into the Mighty Ducks franchise.

“I had to learn how to skate for that film,” said Estevez. “I skated once at Wollman Rink when I was six. I sat down with the director and producer and they asked if I could skate and I said ‘oh yeah.’ I left the meeting, got in my car, found a skating rink in LA, which is not an easy feat and begged the guy to teach me how to skate in three weeks. They didn’t want the kids to make fun of me and I knew they would. The Ducks was supposed to be a small movie, a programmer for Disney. They didn’t have any real high expectations for it. It became a hit and a business for the studio. Nobody could’ve seen that coming.'”

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“The Public” hits theaters on Friday, April 5th.