Last weekend Star Trek The Next Generation’s Patrick Stewart visited San Francisco for a Star Trek con and while there he gave an interview to the SF Chronicle. The actor discussed his knighthood and how Star Trek has influenced his life, noting how grateful he is for the opportunities Trek gave him. Excerpts below.
Stewart Grateful for Trek experience
Since his time with the Trek (and X-Men) franchises, Patrick Stewart has spent most of the last decade on the stage in London (and New York). While at the San Francisco Star Trek con, the San Francisco Chronicle talked to the actor about the break and how Trek has changed his life, here are excerpts:
Q: You haven’t done many films lately. Are you taking a break?
A: I’ve been almost exclusively focusing on theater the last five years, because I have a lot of catching up to do (smiles). It’s all I ever wanted to do. I had no ambition to work in television, I had no ambition to work in film, because it just seemed improbable and unlikely. All I ever wanted to be was on the stage, because the stage was, well, quite crudely, the safest place to be. Far safer than the outside world. … Everything else that happened was an accident. A wonderful accident.
Q: An accident that led to two prominent roles in two major franchises: "Star Trek" and "X-Men."
A: My feeling is you cannot have too many franchises in a career! My dear friend Ian McKellen was in "X-Men," "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and soon will make it three, with "The Hobbit."
Q: You were just knighted during the 2010 New Year’s Honour services, so now you’re Sir Patrick Stewart. You have a long and distinguished stage career, but would you have been knighted had you not played Capt. Jean-Luc Picard?
A: (Long pause.) It is a result. I’m grateful to you for making me reflect on that. Because the cumulative result of "Star Trek" and the "X-Men" … when I went back to the U.K. after 15 years away, I went and did an Ibsen play ("The Master Builder"). … Not a writer that fills theaters. What "Star Trek" did was to take me out of the world of being an elitist Shakespearean actor with a very small audience, and it put me on an international stage. … After the role ended, I was able to mount stage projects that I never would have been able to do before.
Q: I know William Shatner went through a period where he hated being Capt. Kirk. What about you? Ever resent being identified with Jean-Luc Picard?
A: No, I’m grateful. I did a one-man show that did quite well, "A Christmas Carol." … We sold the first week on Broadway through the "Star Trek" fan clubs (laughs). That was the marketing! And they filled the place. It doesn’t matter why they come. … Ian and I, we shared a dressing room for seven months (in 2009) doing "Waiting for Godot." I do think we’ve been significantly creating a new audience for live theater.
Read more, including how he feels turning 70, at : sfgate.com
Patrick Stewart and William Shatner at San Francisco Star Trek Con – January 24 (San Francisco Chronicle)