The Camino is famous for miracles. It transformed this actor


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

The two actors are among only four professionals in the 24-strong cast, the remainder are pilgrims – fellow walkers – 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.

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 own little miracle on the Camino, when I met my eldest daughter for the first time,” said Haywood, a father of five, including artist daughter Charlotte with his first wife Wendy Hughes.

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

Actor Chris Haywood meeting his adopted daughter Claire for the first time on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Actor Chris Haywood meeting his adopted daughter Claire for the first time on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.Credit: Chris Haywood

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

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

There were loads of people my age walking the Camino – which proves you never know what’s around the corner at any age.”

“I understand now why wherever you go in the world you meet ‘fellow travellers’ 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, on a national Q&A tour which sold out thanks in part to the support of the 16 local chapters of the Australian Friends of the Camino.

A new tour with 12 cinema Q&As is scheduled this month, and the film will open on 100 screens across the nation, 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 film’s popularity proves there is such an interest in the Camino in Australia, not just those who have walked it but those who are curious about it,” said Margaret Boutell, of the 750-member Blue Mountains Camino Supporters group.

It even has its own local five-day “mini Camino” walk from Penrith to Blackheath to replicate the Spanish long-distance walk experience.

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 friend director Bill Bennett in the film The Way, My Way.

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

Next week it will launch at Cannes Film Festival from May 14-25.

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