Thursday, December 27, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation - LA Times Hero Complex: Patrick Stewart Interview

Source: The Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex [follow link for complete interview]


THE LOS ANGELES TIMES' HERO COMPLEX: Patrick Stewart: ‘Next Generation,’ ‘X-Men’ and Hollywood history

Dec. 26, 2012
by Patrick Kevin Day

Just before the USS Enterprise embarked on a new mission with “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in 1987, an article in the Los Angeles Times referred to the distinguished Englishman portraying the ship’s captain as an “unknown British Shakespearean actor.”

The description stuck with Patrick Stewart, who refers to the unintentional jibe during the supplemental cast reunion video included on the newly remastered Blu-ray edition of the second season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” It’s no surprise he remembers it — his costar Brent Spiner made a point of hanging a sign on Stewart’s trailer door reading, “Beware unknown British Shakespearean actor.”

Today, Stewart remains beloved for his turn as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on “Next Generation,” though he’s got another fantastic elder statesman on his résumé too: Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” films (James McAvoy played the younger incarnation of the character in “X-Men: First Class”).

He’s scheduled to reprise the role in the upcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and he’s confirmed for a very different sort of project as well, co-hosting “The Second City Guide to the Opera” with soprano Renée Fleming. An evening of opera-themed sketches and musical performances penned by the famed improv troupe, the event will take place Jan. 5 in Chicago. (Anyone who caught Stewart’s guest-starring spot on HBO’s Ricky Gervais comedy “Extras” knows how funny he can be.)

Stewart recently spoke to Hero Complex by phone from New York City to reflect on his time aboard the Enterprise and his own connection to Hollywood history, though he was a little more tight-lipped about what to expect from the next installment in the highly anticipated comic book movie franchise...

... HC: Did your first “Star Trek” convention experience — when you realized how famous you had become — change your approach to the character or the work?

Patrick Stewart: "Well it was then, of course, that we had the writers strike. We were due to start shooting the second series in late April/early May and in fact, we didn’t start back until late August/September. And we were very happy and relieved to be back, albeit, we had lost Gates [McFadden]. I think at that point we were settling in for the long haul and building a body of work that was as interesting and engaging as we could make it. On the day-to-day basis, that’s what we were doing. To do a series like that, there is a bit of a conveyer belt element to it. Sometimes we would wrap an episode at 4 in the afternoon and we’d start a new episode with a new director an hour later, so there wasn’t a lot of time for reflection. The reflecting had to be done in front of the camera, and in the long, lengthy conversations I had with Rick Berman, particularly since Gene [Roddenberry] so unexpectedly and disappointingly died so early in the run of the show. I guess my conversations with Rick most locked me into the feeling of creating a specific character and a character with as much complexity we could reasonably give him..."

Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns are shown in the US on BBC America and Syfy.

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