Patrick Stewart: Grateful To Be Identified As Star Trek’s Picard

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 :

Patrick Stewart and William Shatner at San Francisco Star Trek Con – January 24 (San Francisco Chronicle)

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good questions – interesting

That’s a great photo of Sir Patrick with the Shat!

Good lord and 16 years after Generations.

Patrick Stewart’s a class act. Wish we could see him as Picard one last time.

I truly wish I could have seen Godot. Would have been amazing. His Christmas Carol audio recording is a favorite of mine. He’s one of those people who, in spite of his great talent, just seems like someone that would be fun to just hang out with and chat.

He is most certainly a very classy man.

William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart seem to get on quite well don’t they. It’s nice to see that the two star trek captains seem to get on in ‘reality’.

What an awesome picture.

Who that with Mr. Stewart, the Tellerite ambassador?

I’m sure he is grateful!
Had you heard of him before Trek? No, neither had I.

Hey, wish I should look that good in my 70s…

#11 I hear that. I’m glad he’s taking some time off from film to do what he always enjoyed doing.

What I’d like to know is if he’s ever going to come back to Broadway and do a show or two.

It may seem silly to some but the character (in both sensese of the word) of Captain Jean-Luc Picard had a real and positive effect on me during my formative years.

He was as decent a role model as a fictional pop culture figure can be. A man with an abundance of qualities: diplomatic, disciplined, compassionate, courageous, respectful and refined.

He was also able to convey his views through a calm and dignified demeanor while defending them with his fierce intelligence and integrity.

Sir Patrick Stewart should indeed be proud.

Turning 70???

I hope I am in that good of shape when I turn 70!

This is why I have so much Respect and am a HUGE Fan of Sir Patrick Stewart-the Love that he has for the Role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the Love and Respect he has for his fans.

His Christmas Carol movie he did through TNT was the best movie adaption even if it was a TV movie! Anyone else like his Mysterious Island he did with the Halmark Channel?

I wouldn’t be a good nerd if I didn’t nitpick that, technically, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are the same franchise.

Sir Patrick has seen the film, Sir Patrick loves being identified with and as captain picard. Sir Patrick stewart Loves Star Trek…and it appears that he can say all that without a huge price tag!!

I just can’t my eyes off Shatner’s red face. Shatner must pound the liquor….his face is always so red….blood pressure way up there? You can’t call that off on rosacea.

I heard of Patrick Stewart before Trek. He was in Dune, Lifeforce & Excalibur.

two of the baldest and boldest starfleet captains….

Say what you may, but both are awesome people!

Ah-ha-ha, the best part was left out! :)

Q: So you turn 70 in July. You look like a man of 50. Any thoughts on the big 7-Oh?

A: I think I have great peasant genes. You ought to look at my thighs! I’ve got great peasant thighs – and hands.

Yes you have sir Patrick, and as for looking at them – oh yes please, any time! :)

That made me smile, and I love the photo. Thanks.

And he’s on American Dad! I loved him before but hearing him on that show was the coolest thing ever. And the things he says on there…. very unbefitting a captain.

Actually the funniest thing I’ve heard him say as himself was when he was on Late Night with Conan, who asked him if he read his theatre reviews in the papers, to which Patrick Stewart replied indignantly, “And soil my fingers with newsprint???” Conan was speechless for a moment before Patrick started laughing. I laughed so hard I had to pause the show.

,Trek was definitely the best thing that ever happened to his career. It made him one of the most recognized actors on the planet.

@ 14. Millennium Vulcan – January 30, 2010

Absolutely true! One of the greatest failing of the TNG movies was turning Picard into an action hero when he has always been more of a cerebral diplomat.

He was a great role model growing up. I will even admit to tugging on my tunic on occasion as a bit of a homage to the man. Now that’s silly!

The biggest failing of the next Generation movies was that with the exception of First Contact , they could come with good story.

Classiness, thy name is Patrick. :)

Recalling movies and tv-movies he’s done, don’t forget King of Texas. Superb adaptation of King Lear with Patrick in the lead.

@28: And Sir Patrick was one of the best things that ever happened to Trek! Winners all around, if you ask me. :)

I’d love to be able to see Sir Patrick on state some time. He was wonderful as Picard which was out of his element, I can only imagine how great he’d be on state, in his element.

@ 33 There is no question he did bring alot to trek .


I look forward to your impeccable sources confirming.denying the aicn rumour which reunites Stewart with Nemesis co-star Tom Hardy in George Miller’s Fury Road!

#10: “I’m sure he is grateful! Had you heard of him before Trek? No, neither had I.”

You may not have, but I had.

Mr. Stewart was, prior to ST TNG, in other genre films such as ‘Excalibur, Dune, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, I, Claudius’ and countless other classics!

He brought a lot of class to ‘Star Trek’ and an audience that might not have otherwise been attracted to the show.

Well if he’s thankful or not…. the fact remains that the Trek community is thankful for his role !

Regarding the current poll, I’ve watched Trek 09′ officially 100 times last night ! lol

Seeing Patrick Stewart perform live is a truly great theatrical experience!

I, and four of my friends, saw him, along with TNG alum Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, Colm Meaney and Jonathan Frakes (sad to say, I do not recall the young male actor’s name, however, he had guested on an episode of TNG) in Chicago in 1992 when they performed in playright Tom Stoddard’s ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.’

It was an utter joy seeing the cast performing live on stage.

I had forgotten Mr. Stewart was in the film, ‘Lifeforce,’ not one of my favorite movies.

Stewart is such a talent that he could read directly from the phone book and make his audience weep.

The man is a legend, Such a lovely and awesome actor.

He is great. I do think one of his most under estimated performances was playing King Richard The Lion Heart in Robin Hood with Cary Elwes.

A brief albeit career defining performance.

4. Nick Cook – January 30, 2010
Patrick Stewart’s a class act. Wish we could see him as Picard one last time.

Ain’t gonna happen. Not with these writers, director and producer.

Yesterday watched Nemesis again….much better than i remember it and much better that Insurrection which was very cheesy and poorly produced imo (the ships looked awfully digital..) i gotta say i would give anything to see Sir Patrick ONCE more in one of those classy First Contact style uniforms. one more TNG movie would be off the hook. Miss the TNG very much, the best Captain of ALL Star Trek series….the one who pulled me into Star Trek in the first place

If anyone wants to see a great, early Patrick Stewart performance, check out I, Claudius.

He plays a villainous curly-haired Roman named Sejanus. Fantastic performance and series.

Regarding Shat and Stewart, they often speak very fondly of each other.

# 42, I am sadly forced to agree.

#43, I agree. While far from perfect, the movie isn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be.

Eh, LOTR and The Hobbit are sort of in the same franchise…



Absolutely, Stewart was absolutely slimy as Sejanus. And it was a wonderful series overall. Great performances by Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips, and John Hurt as well. Though I should warn younger viewers that the production values are pretty much non-existent. This was a low budget, 1970s British television series after all. You really need to think of it as a televised stage production rather than a mini-series in the traditional sense. Old school acting at its best.

I was only a Star Trek fan for a year when the Next Generation came out. When I first saw it, I did not think I was going to like it. Boy was I wrong. A lot of great episodes in those 7 years. Patrick Stewart did a great job in his role, and he was even able to tap into his Shakespeare roots from time to time. Really, I enjoyed all the actors (well, Wil Wheaton did grate on me on occassion-but maybe that was more the writer’s fault then his). It was great seeing them all develop in their roles. I loved the 4 Next Generation movies too. It’s always nice seeing the former actors pay their respects to the fans, and I am always glad to see them succeed in future endeavors. That also pays a nice homage to their roles in Star Trek.

Lets just hope that Sir Patrick gets to appear at the Las Vegas CON.

If you listen carefully to the crowd you can hear somebody calling out “Locutus!”
I sure wish Stewart would have appered in a Doctor Who episode before Tennant left.