Sir Patrick Stewart spoke recently at the Edinburgh International Film Festival about his acting career including his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The first video of the nine-part video series of the Stewart discussion can be seen here. The other eight parts are also on YouTube courtesy of RemingtonReview’s Channel.
Stewart has had a good time as a judge at the 64th annual Edinburgh International Film Festival. “I am at the end of what has been one of the best weeks of my career, being here in Edinburgh in this glorious weather watching film after film,” he said. “There is always something to be learned, something to be discovered.”
One of the questioners wanted to know how Stewart had come to play Jean-Luc Picard. “I remember saying to my agent, ‘I need to get some screen time, because I am never going to improve without more screen time,'” answered Stewart. “So be careful what you wish for.
“At the time I was working at the Young Vic on a salary of £125 a week. I knew I was being offered something most actors would love to do. But at the same time I was in the middle of a stage career.
“I was offered a six year contract and I took it, because everyone said it would never work and would only run for one series.”
Although Stewart thought that his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation would only last for a year, he wanted to do his best for his new character and the show. “…I had a responsibility towards my character and towards the series. Thankfully Picard was an admirable sort of person, and I was always conscious that there were families that watched together.”
Stewart spoke about television today and compared it to when he first began back in the days of I, Claudius. “It is so miserable now,” he said, referring to working on shows for television. “I am so grateful that I got my experience when there was a play a week and a play of the month. Instead now we have a lot of reality television and the thing that always strikes me about reality television is how fake it is. I, Claudius in 1976 was the first important role I had on television. Of course I, Claudius was the launch of many careers, most notably Derek Jacobi and John Hurt.”