Stewart: Work In Hollywood Lacked Substance

Last weekend Patrick Stewart dropped by ITV’s Parkinson  to talk about life back in the UK. TNG’s Picard stated that his return was permanent and that by the time he was offered the opportunity to return to the English stage had had grown "bitterly homesick." Although he did not mention Star Trek specifically, he did seem to be derisive of his time working in Hollywood.

When I went to do all this exciting and thrilling work in Hollywood, and remunerative work too, and sunshine and palm trees and all of that, it was fun but there was a substance that was lacking in it. Because what I’m doing now is all that I wanted to do and I increasingly began to feel panicked.

Stewart continued

I had two lots of panics living in America. One was that I would never find my way back to where I am now. And the other one was that I would be knocked down in the street and I would die lying on my back on an American street looking up at the sky, knowing that I was dying and knowing that I wasn’t in England. This became such a serious phobia that I would never cross the street except at the intersections, I’d never cross against the red-man or when it said don’t walk, because I was so convinced that this was going to happen to me and it would have been possibly the worst thing that could have happened. So I relocated, I’m back here permanently living in England, I’m acting in Shakespeare again and if I do get knocked down it will be on an English street!  

The only time that Star Trek came up specifically was to how it led to being named the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ twice while he was in his late 40s. Stewart was asked if that helped his self esteem issues, to which he replied

It did momentarily. (Laughter) It’s like reviews, you don’t believe the good ones you only believe the bad ones. Well, it just would have been nice if it had happened when I was seventeen.

From the various statements Stewart has made in the last year (such as calling his time at TNG ‘a calamty’ or ‘a relationship that is over‘) it would appear that the actor has truly moved on from his time as Captain Picard and Professor Xavier. Then again going from Nemesis to MacBeth, perhaps he has a poiint.  


Full transcript (and video) of Stewart on Parkinson  



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I’m no Stewart fan in regards to his portrayal of Picard, but I can’t wait to see how this handful of comments will be dissected and judged.

I don’t place too much stock in anything these actors say, particularly when you rarely get to hear or read them in complete context.

I’ve seen reviewers say Patrick Stewart gets hired because he can deliver crappy dialogue and make it believable. That was true in Nemesis, certainly. If an actor wants to pee on his own past gigs, so be it. Stewart wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last.

I’m also not even CLOSE to being a member of the Patrick Stewart fan club. I thought Picard was, while competantly acted, a lousy captain. And I enjoyed him in all the X-men movies, although he was little more than competant in those as well…nothing really to write home about. He did the role, he didn’t suck, and that’s about it.
But those that do like the man should not get bent out of shape because of statements like this. How does his feelings have anything at ALL to do with you and how you feel? I think Kirk, as portrayed by Shatner, is one of the greatest characters of all time. And if Shatner released a statement tomorrow proclaiming Kirk the worst role he ever had, lamenting his time on Star Trek….I would think, oh well…. Kirk, as portrayed by Shatner, is STILL one of the greatest characters of all time… then pour me up another beer and pop in a TOS DVD.

#3 – Well said. I, for one, do like Stewart’s performances as Picard quite a lot, and this wouldn’t change any of that. I think that people forget that, while they as viewers may have made these emotional attachments to a character, the actor portraying that character is doing a job. If he’s doing the job well, then great, but don’t expect him to revere the role as much as you revere the character.

He can’t HATE the role if he bothers to keep a TNG pinball machine in his game room… plus a little red (10K) captain suit in the closet.

Oh come on, he never said, that he HATES the role. He’s just over it and that’s something I can understand very well. And as it seems in this interview he’s not only over Star Trek but also over (Hollywood) film-making in general. Many actors made a pause some time in their career and turned to their roots – the stage. Kate Mulgrew for example is doing the same since the end of Voyager, if I’m not completely wrong.

I liked Stewart’s performance of Picard a lot – especially in the movies, and I think that he’s an important part of the Trek universe. Can’t blame him for being tired of it, though, he’s a human being after all.

He said in another interview that he’s never putting on the captain’s uniform again. I’m fine with that since there’s small likelyhood that the Next Gen cast will get another go at it, but if they do, it’s comforting to me to know that Riker will finally get to take the lead.

I think Stewart is a class act. Nothing I’ve read in the above story has detracted from my opinion of him. Keep in mind that Stewart is a classically trained actor who needs new challenges. He probably feels he’s went as far as he could with the Picard character. I’ve no doubt that he cherishes those years on TNG despite his “calamity” comment. He’s just glad to be back home in England with new acting challenges ahead of him. Can’t fault a guy for that.

i get the sense that he is embarassed by his work on star trek and XMen.

This is a non-story. He’s home, giving the home press a “feel-good” piece. I liked him as Picard and that has not changed.

But I am sure we’ll see some cannon shots (not canon) as the story posts move down. No doubt a few will hang him purely because he “dared to be captain of the Enterprise when no one but Kirk should be.”

anyone else kind of freaked out by this paranoid fantasy of being knocked down and dying in America? What he doesnt like the way we drive or something?

Stewart had enough class to cash his checks, but not enough to respect the material and the people that made him a star.

I can understand him being a little tired of the role, but as an actor, I am surprised he would not want to give his character a better ‘closure.’ Nemesis is not the way a character like Picard should go out. The character just has to much history for that.

I really would love to see TNG do one more movie, or even better, do a 4 hour mini-series for CBS to wrap it all up. Get someone like Bryan Singer to either direct or be executive producer (he was executive producer on the sci-fi mini-series “The Triangle”) DVD sales for that would be huge, for sure, and ratings would be huge for CBS too. Someone like Bryan Singer would certainly have the clout to get Patrick Stewart back.

“Stewart had enough class to cash his checks, but not enough to respect the material and the people that made him a star.”

I saw Parkinson on Saturday, but I don’t think you did.

“I saw Parkinson on Saturday, but I don’t think you did.”

True enough, but relevant to his numerous comments elsewhere how?

I consider Patrick Stewart to be a great actor. As to his concern about being knocked down on an American street, I think it was simply his feeling at the time of being a “stranger in a strange land”. After all, if any of us were say, working in Thailand for a handful of years, we might feel more than a little displaced by our environment, even if we were there for a prolonged period of time. I admire his candour in being willing to share a private anxiety like that with a major audience.

I have worked abroad, but never developed a ‘serious phobia’ nor was i ‘convinced’ i would get knocked down and die on foreign soil

It sounds to me more like he liked Hollywood for a time, but has grown tired of it and wanted to go back to something more familiar. Kind of reaching a bit of a mid-life crisis, in late life. It seems to me that maybe there are some lines being missed. Here is what he said once about TNG:

“It did change many, many things, and I’m immensely grateful for that. I have worked hard not in any sense to feel they were wasted years —though time is a factor in all of this, and I now have a lot of catching up to do. I feel that acutely — not that there have been lost opportunities, but that there are things I might have done and I’ve got to do a lot of them quickly now.”

It seems that he is saying he liked TNG then, but now he wants to do other things. Also, a lot of mid-life-crisis like comments through out. Ironically, the comments he makes here are immediately after he said the call for TNG was “a calamity,” so I think it kind of got over emphasized at the expense of the rest, which is context. I interpret the quote “a relationship that is over” a little differently too. To me, it means there was a relationship, he enjoyed the work, but it is over, life moves on. Here’s a quote from this article that I think reiterates my point:

“When I went to do all this exciting and thrilling work in Hollywood, […] it was fun but there was a substance that was lacking in it.”

He specifically says that it was “exciting and thrilling” and “fun.” His other comments sound more like an explanation of why he returned to UK. Again, it sounds to me like he was gradually feeling life and time passing him by.

Ironically, his current feelings seem very similar to some of Picard’s in the TNG episode “Family” and the TNG film Generations!

I do agree, however, that I could hear him say he hates Star Trek in every way, always had and always will, and I’d still like Picard, even if I hate Stewart.

I guess he liked the material enough to take the money.

Re: #10

Quote: No doubt a few will hang him purely because he “dared to be captain of the Enterprise when no one but Kirk should be.”

LOL, you’ve captured their histrionic tone perfectly.

I do wonder how much of Stewart’s comments are spin. People are probably asking him, “You used to be a movie star. Now you’re back on the stage. What happened?” And maybe he feels he has to answer the questions in this way to get the point across he’s glad to be back doing Shakespeare.

Whatever the case, no need for anyone to get their feathers ruffled over this. That’s right, purists–Stewart’s comments AREN’T a “slap in the face” to the fanbase.

good he went back to England,hopefully he learned during his time here that brushing his teeth regularly is a good thing.

I’ve been a fan of his work before TNG even started after it not as much. If hes happy at the stage then filming than Hollywood good for him. Lots of actors prefer the stage … for whatever reasons they might have.

I had the rare chance to see Every Good Boy Deserves Favour in Chicago during TNG’s run. I felt he was really good seeing him on stage.

The character of Picard gave a different veiw of a captain in Star trek. While Kirk was at time gung ho and captured the spirit of most young adventurers, Picard showed the more seasoned Captain, who paid a price for his gung ho years. For me the character of Picard appealed to me more than Kirk, while I love the adventurer side of Kirk, Picards more sedate nature reflects mine.

I have no doubt some will “bash” him for calling his years on trek a calamity at times, which I have no doubt it was, all shows have up’s and downs. I have seen numerous interviews where he reinforces his love of what he did on Trek, but that he was over it and wanted to move on.

As for his paranoia of getting knocked over in the US, well, he had been away from his native land for many years and the effects of home sickness can manifest themselves in many way this is how it happened to him.

Stewart is one of the greatest stafe actors of the current erra, he is right up there with Sir Ian McKellan. He has gone back to his first calling.

not everybody aspires to be an actor in a sci-fi franchise. most actors….and i know a lot, set their sights on realistic, dramatic context. they FEAR not being taken seriously and love change. they are able to do mulitple films, tv or plays in the course of their careers, and when they feel they get cornered, they freak out. he felt he was being cornered…same type of material…acting with a green screen. the fear probably led to his phobias and he is back where he feels safe and happy.

he did his bit for king and country.

live long and prosper, stewart!

This story is just a convenient trigger for the people that didn’t like stewart or TNG to take his words and tell us how bad he was. ..such as #21 kahless’ comment, which I see as a poor attempt at harrasment or humor..trying to decide which.

I wonder if he’ll continue to voice the role of Stan’s boss on “American Dad”? Loved the episode where he broke his girlfriend’s neck and then asked Stan to help cover it up. CIA reflexes, don’t you know?

Patrick has moved on. He has expressed gratitude for the role and such that Trek gave him but think about it he’s done with it. If anything I’m sure it is irritating to get noted for one character all the time. Leave the bloke alone, he did a lot for Trek, he knows it, and right now he needs time away from it. He was a great cast member and let’s leave the Limey alone for a few years.

Wow. I’m surprised. More than 25 posts without somebody jumping on their high horse squealing “Patrick Stewart should kiss my boots because my devotion to Star Trek made him a celebrity.”

Considering the vitriol that spewed when the last interview with him was posted here (the one with the unfortunate “calamity” comment), I was expecting more of the same from the trekkier-than-thous. I’m glad to see that hasn’t happened so far.

Stewart was a great addition to the franchise, but if he feels his Trek time is over, that’s quite all-right. I applaud the guy for not begrudgingly clinging to it if he doesn’t really want to. Trek’s loss is the English stage’s gain, apparently. Cheers to him.

Perhaps other captains should move on as well?

I agree with Demode, would be a real treat to see a TNG miniseries produced by someone other than Berman.

You reach a point in life where you have to wonder whether you’re really happy with what you’re doing. Patrick Stewart’s a damn good theatre actor who’s had twenty-odd years doing the Hollywood thing, which has probably made him financially comfortable for the rest of his life.

But enough’s enough. His first love is the stage and he can carry that on for as long as he wants. Maybe he’ll even turn up on the occasional TV show in the UK in something beyond a cameo appearance.

He defined an era of Star Trek – indeed, when you think how all the modern Star Trek casts consciously or unconsciously seemed to imitate his mannerisms and you think of the way Trek writers came to write Trek dialogue, you realise that Stewart’s performance is the most influential in all the post-1987 Treks.

It’s fitting that, as he bows out like a gentleman, someone different has come in to take Star Trek in yet another new direction.

Thanks Patrick.

I’m with Dom #32, Patrick Stewart has earned the right to do whatever artistic project he wants, whenever he wants to, many times over. For me, Picard was far and away the best captain, but I am content to let that character be a historical one now. I certainly don’t support any plans to trot out Picard only to have the character be polluted with Nemesis-like nonsense (it pains me to consider that crap canon).

30. Xai – May 17, 2007 -Oh you risk the wrath of Kirk die hards :-)

I agree with 32 and 32 as well. Stewart and the Next Generation crew brought Star Trek to the top of the food chain in syndication. It was viewed as mainstream! Star Trek as mainstream! He also influenced the Captains to follow – Janeway in particular. While Sisko was a blend of both Kirk and Picard, in the later series he leant more to Picard in some ways. And Archer was very much PIcard from my point of view. As Kirk/Shatner defined Trek in the 60’s to the mid to late 80’s Picard/Stewart in a way defined Trek in the 90’s and the Early part of the 00’s.

Now it’s time for the torch to be passed again. Stewart after so many years wants to move on from Trek and let’s face it not many people stay in the any job longer than ten years these days.

His Trek Movies sure lacked substance…LMAO!!!

SOoooo….if he’s back in “jolly old England” for good then I guess that means there won’t be an X4? LOL!!! So much for that tease at the end of X3, right? LOL!!!!

*sniff sniff*

I smell burning bridges…


Thing is, I like ‘Star Trek’ a lot, yeah, (I wouldn’t know this website existed if I didn’t and I certainly wouldn’t bother posting on if I didn’t after all) but all the man says is that some of his Hollywood work lacked ‘substance’ compared to what he’s doing now. Since going back to England he’s played leading roles in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and ‘The Tempest’ and is working on ‘MacBeth’. Whatever the merits of ‘Star Trek’ (and it has many, many merits as television, as drama, even as world-view) it *is* insubstantial compared to those three plays. That’s not too harsh a judgement though, not really, because so is most writing in English. They’re three of the best scripts ever written by a human being. The very best ‘Star Trek’ episodes are very, very good indeed but there’s not one that is the equal of ‘The Tempest’ – and I say that with a lot of love in my heart for all things ‘Trek’.

I doubt that he intended the remarks to come across as disparaging about America and Star Trek they way they did. I think he was more trying to demonstrate enthusiasm for England and Shakespeare, etc by way of contrast. Of course, he’s still understandably bitter about Nemesis, too.

Give him 5 or 10 years. Like the various members of the Brady Bunch and the William Shatners before him, frustration with typecast will give way to acceptance and renewed interest in reunion. We’ve seen this a million times and the only question here is how bad will his remarks continue to get before they get better?

I dont think we’ve heard the last of this from Patrick Stewart.

And…” I had two lots of panics living in America. One was that I would never find my way back to where I am now. And the other one was that I would be knocked down in the street and I would die lying on my back on an American street looking up at the sky, knowing that I was dying and knowing that I wasn’t in England.”

Well hello, drama queen. You’re a MAN for chrissake, Patty. Take a cue from Tony Soprano – Gary Cooper strong silent type, SAD CLOWN laughing on the oustide crying on the inside. Jeez.



He needs to distance himself, because the TNG movies bar one, really dragged the franchise down.

This whole knock down thingy might sound a bit harsh, but to be fair the United States are not really known for their ahimsa. Of course this is a prejudice, but one I can relate to. When I moved to a large city I also had this panic sometimes… in the end it’s a panic, something you can’t control and that has nothing to do with him being a man or not.

#40 – Get lost. You know why.

#39 hitch1969

English Thespians, eh?… ;)

I’m sure if we had a time machine and asked Stewart v1986 if he’d prefer to be a reletively penniless shakesperean actor or a rich well known actor that he’d make the same choice. But I suppose it took the Shat several several years to warm up to his trek legacy, so to be fair we should allow these tng whiners to whine. Although unlike the Shat, Stewart should have known what he was in for. Let me make my choice now in case theres a time machine coming to ask me….I’ll take the money, money=freedom and options.
LOL @ the ‘red man’ and the mustache…very british

Whadda like?Joe Shakespeah!

Tony, what happened to Nothing new in a week. It was a great source.

So, what about X4?

re 13 Demode:

I kinda jumped ahead here so apologies if i’m retreading… I agree with you. I would think he would want to go out with a bang rather than a whimper with a character he portrayed so well for so long. So you never know… maybe the right project…

Also, Paramount is really missing the boat with the Mini-series route. I’ve been suggesting this idea for years. It doesn’t tie the actors down beyond the project, and you have the forum to do something that is not confined by episodic television OR limited to a 2 hour movie. It’s bigger, and I believe perfectly feasible, with network rights, and dvd sales liable to be huge.

All that said… don’t they have traffic accidents in England??? What’s the fuss???

Doug L

X4 is not in the cards right now. With the Wolverine prequel in 2008 and the Magneto prequel in 2009, the Xmen franchise is busy. I don’t think Stewart would be a part of these projects.

Nice mustache. :D

re 41:

London’s not a big city? dl