Stewart Says Picard Nearly Overtook HimBy Christian
November 5, 2007 - 4:23 PM
Looking back at his 15 years of playing Captain Picard, five years after he last stepped onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, Patrick Stewart suggested this weekend the role may have defined him a little too much.
"It came to a point where I had no idea where Picard began and I ended," Stewart told the British Sunday Times. "We completely overlapped. His voice became my voice, and there were other elements of him that became me." This was even more true for the audience than for Stewart himself, as the actor found when The Next Generation ended, and he was able to find few other roles -- besides that of Professor Xavier in the X-Men, a role that was rather similar to that of Picard. "I don’t have a film career. [...] I have a franchise career."
When Stewart first started on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he hardly had a career at all. He'd had few American film roles, and despite many years of work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he wasn't yet a recognisable name in England. However, Stewart always was a very dedicated actor, as he proved in an infamous incident during the first seasons of TNG when he told the rest of the cast, "We’re not here to have fun, we’re here to work." Looking back, Stewart explained: "I came to think there was too much fooling around on set. I was very aware of the clock ticking. I was the oldest person on the set, and we were working until midnight or beyond, and it took more of a toll on me than on them."
The actor suggested that now, he might have done things differently. "“I always chose work over the family – I regret that, I really do. I have a great relationship with my children now, terrific, but I didn’t always have it. I missed out so much. And I don’t think I supported their mother as much as I might have done. It would never occur to me to put family first. It’s still a struggle. It wasn’t because I didn’t love them, I just loved the job so much."
And even now, Stewart still loves the work he did on TNG. "I’m very proud of the series," he said. "I think we did really good work. Every now and then we did absolute crap, but it was 178 episodes. We really fought to keep the standards high – the script, the language, the story lines, everything. We also acquired an astonishing number of eminent fans: several secretaries of state, chiefs of staff, chancellors of universities. Frank Sinatra never missed a show, and Tom Hanks knows the name of every episode."
In the full interview, Stewart discussed his return to the stage, and talked about the Trek spoof Galaxy Quest. To read that article, please follow this link.