Patrick Stewart Describes ‘Negative Aspect’ Of Star Trek Typecasting

A radio interview Sir Patrick Stewart did a couple of years ago that went mostly unnoticed has been making the rounds in the last week, featuring some brutally honest comments the actor made about life after Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stewart described what it was like being typecast, telling KPCC’s The Frame:

Jean-Luc Picard was who I was. I did finally get into a room to meet with a director that I had been clamoring to meet, and he was doing a movie I wanted to be in as a supporting role, and we had a good meeting. At the end he said, “Look, you’re a terrific actor, and I would love to have you in my movie, but why would I want Jean-Luc Picard in my picture?”

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Stewart also said his success on Star Trek “really hurt” his career for a time, but noted how he was “fortunate” to be part of of the Trek franchise as well as the X-Men franchise. However, due to his experience with Star Trek, he had some hesitation before taking on the role of Professor Charles Xavier, saying:

I was reluctant at first because the “Star Trek” movies were over and I was already beginning to experience a negative aspect of them. Close identification, partly through the television series, with one character can discourage directors or producers from wanting to employ you in other means, because the identification’s so strong.

Stewart eventually ended up playing Professor “X” Charles Xavier in more movies than he played Jean-Luc Picard.

Stewart’s first time as Charles Xavier in X-Men (2000)

Stewart: it was “over” for TNG after Insurrection

It is also interesting that Sir Patrick talks about reluctance to take on Xavier “after” the Star Trek films were “over.” X-Men (his first time playing Xavier) was released in 2000, so it seems that Stewart considered his time with Trek done following 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection. After that film failed to build on the success of Star Trek: First Contact, it did seem like it could be over for the TNG films, but Paramount eventually did another in 2002 with Star Trek: Nemesis.

The box office failure of Nemesis put an end to the TNG movie series, and likely to Stewart, an end to Jean-Luc Picard on film. However, in recent years the actor has said he would be open to returning to the role if there was a “really good reason” and a “good script,” but he also acknowledges it is unlikely to happen as Picard is getting “rather elderly.” Then again, the aged hero angle worked for Stewart’s last return as Xavier in this year’s Logan.

Patrick Stewart returns as older Xavier in Logan (2017)

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37 Comments on "Patrick Stewart Describes ‘Negative Aspect’ Of Star Trek Typecasting"

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While Inlove Sir Patrick and Trek, I am tired of seeing my franchise idols die! Enuff!!!!! This is supposed to be fun!

That is, I don’t want to see an old TNG crew get together to kill off Picard like they did Data.

Not to mention the fact that killing Data was a mistake to begin with.

NEMESIS was itself a huge mistake.

Gary… You forget that Data is a machine. You can’t kill machines. You can rebuild them.

ML31,

You forget a fundalmental unit of 23rd century technology, the transporter, ensures that all who use it are not the original but rebuilt copies.

I like old actors and would love to see a telemovie about the old TNG Crusts , their lives and adventures ! Because you know , everything in NuTrek is perfect , and their stories are just superficial !

If I understand you correctly, I too would love to see a RED-type Trek movie, where the original actors at their current age, reunite to solve some puzzle, as only they can do — showing the arrogant young crew of some fleet ship, just what an old starfleet officer is capable of. That would be the best use of these old actors now.

Well Curious , preferably limited tv series just for the old (29-129) trekkies , individual adventures (with their own kids & grandkids + , friends etc) , interactions with old crewmates , and taking on a intergalactic problem together . But I honestly can’t see them really showing up Starfleet , as retired personnel . Maybe something like searching for lost comrades , or gathering information on the borderworlds .

Darfyn,

People keep saying ST is just a western in space. You might want to check out THE OVERTHEHILL GANG television movies.

Thanks for mentioning , Disinvited ! I checked it out , and looks interesting . I have the Magnificent 7 Blu-ray Series which is a tremendous Set . So the Over The Hill Gang tv-movies looks a great addition too !

Darfyn,

You are welcome. I only wish I knew of some transfer that did justice to it.

Sounds kind of dull. I can’t imagine all Star Trek fans over the age of 29 would be interested in a nostalgia fest. There needs to be some kind of actual compelling story where those characters do what they do, with a chance of drawing in some kind of audience beyond those who grew up watching them. I don’t mind having a few kids and grandkids in the mix, but it’s not very realistic. A Picard family Christmas reunion isn’t going to work, unless the Romulans attack it.

Curious , well the thing that attracted me to DS9 , Enterprise , Voyager and even TNG were the background stories , the stories of the little people and support actors . For me , it was sheer delight .

But I’m going to have to admit defeat !

.. it seems most trekkies really want action (which i’m not interested in at all – I have had enough in my real life . I like something that is intriguing and explores the depth of characters .

(The title of this article gives the impression that Stewart is complaining about the negative consequences of Star Trek producers and directors casting actors by type. I nearly didn’t bother reading this article.)

I found Stewart was well cast in CONSPIRACY THEORY. It’s a shame that more directors couldn’t see past the Picard character to Stewart’s potential; he’s obviously a brilliant and versatile actor. It’s downright stupid, actually.

It seemed to me he was discussing being typecast immediately after the tng movies. Not that he is experiencing it now.

He seems to be able to do whatever he wants right now.

Agreed @Markm
He is excellent in Green Room. Such a different role that we are accustomed to seeing Stewart in. The late Anton Yelchin is also brilliant.

Also, check out Match. Stewart is absolutely fantastic in it.

Markm

Yup.

age has never stopped someone coming back to ‘trek’

‘ At the end he said, “Look, you’re a terrific actor, and I would love to have you in my movie, but why would I want Jean-Luc Picard in my picture?”’

what the….?

 
Star Trek is incredible and a miracle. It helped me deal with my alcoholism, helped me curb my sex addiction, stopped me from stealing my neighbors panties and saved my marriage, and now I hardly ever beat my children. I don’t know where I would be without this show. Probably in jail or dead. I owe everything to the show Star Trek
 

We must learn to open our hands in friendship , Boris ! I’ve heard many stories where Star Trek has improved someone’s life . I hope Star Trek continues to provide thoughtful and affirming stories through it’s continuing series !

Darfyn,

I’ve not only heard of them, I’ve heard it from the horses’ mouths.

But while the pluses far exceed the minuses, we have to give Boris’ cry for balance a nod, in that we can’t deny there was always a darkness out on its edges that occasionally succeeded in taking advantage of STAR TREK. What happened to Grace was none of those miraculous things. However, STAR TREK definitely aided her, and many others, in their recoveries from the darkness that found its way into their lives.

I love TNG and am very satisfied with the seven seasons of TV episodes and four films. I don’t think they need to make more. It’s DSC’s time on TV (er, “All Access”) now. I’m sure there’s more than enough story telling out there for TNG to continue as original novels and comics for the foreseeable future.

I know that audiences often confuse the character with the actor — so much so that Leonard Nimoy had to title his first autobiography I Am Not Spock, just to remind us all that he was an actor and not an actual Vulcan. :-) But it seems weird to me that A DIRECTOR didn’t understand that the actor is not the character. Geeze, Louise, directors watch hundreds of actors take on roles other than themselves; how can a director not GET this?

No, the director understood that audiences have this trouble, and unfortunately expressed that in extremely blunt, and rude terms.

The saving grace for Stewart is he’s not just a “terrific” actor, he’s an incredible actor. A great actor will always overcome such stereotypes, and I think we always see them overcome such unfair perceptions. Unfortunately most of the other Trek alumi don’t share that trait and for them Trek truly was a one-trick pony. The sad part is, many of those actors don’t realize how lucky they were to have had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The smart ones went behind the camera.

Well, just flip that coin a bit – how many people have posted here about not being able to accept Trek at all without Shatner, Nimoy, et al, in character. I can understand someone expressing a preference for either Shatner or Pine, but the lengths some have gone to to recommend the studio trot Bill out, or raise Nimoy from the dead border on obsession. We know it took substantial effort for Shatner, Nimoy, and now, apparently Stewart to break typecast – most of the secondary characters seem to have accepted that outside the franchise, there was little left in the industry for them outside of caricatures of their Trek roles.

Phil , Most of Us Oldsters just like a Good Ol’ Story . Leonard , DeForest , Jimmy , Gene & Majel , and Grace are gone now . And Most of Us know that ! I have no desire to see them resurrected as digital recreations . But we still have Bill (known as the Difficult Actor) , Nichelle , Walter and George . Most of us are just asking for the furtherance of Our Star Trek Story . You know , just a Cameo ! The Young Trekkers have the Nu-Movies . But the 2 million+ older fans want more of their own too !

I can’t sign onto that plan. I’m one of those fans and I don’t want, nor need to see more Shatner, much less the others, merely as a cameo to pander to fans, while diluting whatever it is they’re in. It turns into a stop and awe moment that can ruin the overall experience. I’m all for putting these actors into character again in their own relevant appearances, as I’ve suggested elsewhere. But a cameo for nostalgias sake, shoe-horned into something else, is not my idea of a good use of talent.

Curious Cadet,

I agree with you on the cameo for cameo’s sake. However, the Worf character was shoehorned in from its non-cameo inception, and Trek producers seemed determined that the character and his spinoffs serve that vital shoehorned-in function over and over again. By now, if you are going cause some variation on Worf to appear, the shoehorning is expected, i.e. part of the nostalgia of including him.

I had doubts when they cast him as a regular in DS9 — especially since they appeared to be attempting to fix something that didn’t need fixing, but I didn’t walk away from the series’ final episode with the feeling that either Dorn or his character had watered the DS9 series down by mere inclusion.

Nimoy wrote a sequel, I AM Spock.

Gary 8.5,

Re: Nimoy wrote a sequel, I AM Spock.

Yes, but only AFTER he had become a DIRECTOR. ;-)

love to see them brought back to the small screen either as a TV film or better as 6 to 8 part epic story arch,spanning not only next gen also ds9 and yeah if they can do something with enterprising that would be good to ,say have the seeds start off in enterprise and have flashbacks. please let something happen before it is to late

I Heart You , Captain ! Most Long-term and Life-long Fans feel this Way !

It’s a shame that Stewart was typecast–both for his sake and for a franchise that was overexposed at the time. That said, I don’t know that he would have gotten all the opportunities he did without Trek.

Holden,

I agrre. He probably looks forward to the day when people stop calling him Professor X.

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