Since his time with Star Trek (and X-Man), Sir Patrick Stewart has returned to his roots as a Shakespearean actor. In an interview promoting the PBS showing of his performance in Hamlet, the actor says that his Shakespearean training brought gravitas to Star Trek.
Sir Patrick on Shakespearean Gravitas and TNG longevity
In an interview with TV Squad, promoting his roles in the PBS series Great Performances showings of Hamlet and Macbeth, Patrick Stewart also talked a bit about the role he is best known for, and how he didn’t thing that Star Trek: The Next Generation would last past a couple of seasons. Here are some excerpts
In your case, what did all your Shakespearean experience bring to playing a role like Jean-Luc Picard all those years, in a genre that’s so different from what you had been doing?
Well, in a word, is difficult. But I would say it brought gravitas maybe.
Do you think that’s what attracted a lot of people to that version of ‘Trek?’ Because there was more gravitas and more seriousness to it?
Yeah. I hope so. That’s what we tried to bring. I mean, we had a lot of fun, too. Of course, fantastic fun. But yeah, we took it seriously. And so if I’m standing there talking to, you know, some alien on the view screen, or an oil slick, which I did once have a conversation with, or a grain of rice that I talked to once, you know, you better take that seriously.
Wil Wheaton used to write for our site; he would take the season one episodes of ‘Next Generation’ and do recaps with his funny spin on them. What’s interesting about his recaps is that in the first season everybody was feeling things out, and trying to figure out what was going on. When you look back now, did you think that it would still be such a well-remembered show?
(whispered) Noooo… No. I was told we wouldn’t make it through the first season. Everybody I went to ask, ‘What should I do, I’ve been offered this job, what should I do?’ A few people I knew in Hollywood, their opinions ranged from, ‘You’ll be lucky to do all 26 episodes,’ through to ‘Eh, a couple years maximum.’ Nobody… nobody… banked on it.
Go to TVSquad for more from Patrick on Hamlet, Macbeth and how Wil Wheaton set up his first computer.
Sir Patrick in Hamlet on PBS
PBS airs Hamlet, starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart on APril 28th at 8PM. More info at http://pbs.org/gperf. Here are some clips and interview with Patrick Stewart about Hamlet.