Back when Star Trek: The Next Generation had just finished airing, Sir Patrick Stewart felt obliged to leave Los Angeles.
The reason for his departure was being typecast as Jean-Luc Picard.
“Jean-Luc Picard was who I was,” said Stewart. “I did finally get into a room to meet with a director that I had been clamoring to meet, and he was doing a movie I wanted to be in as a supporting role, and we had a good meeting. At the end he said, “Look, you’re a terrific actor, and I would love to have you in my movie, but why would I want Jean-Luc Picard in my picture?”
So Stewart’s success as Picard was inhibiting his career after The Next Generation. “In a sense, yes, and that really hurt,” he said. “And soon after that I left Hollywood. And then the Royal Shakespeare Company came to my rescue and offered me two roles, Prospero in The Tempest and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, and that season turned the whole tide around. Almost overnight I suddenly found myself a leading actor in the company.”
But Stewart will always be identified with his iconic role as Captain Picard. “That will never leave me,” he said. “Wherever I go in the world, people shout out, ‘Hey, Captain, how you doing?'”
Source: Southern California Public Radio