Yesterday, Patrick Stewart talked about his memories of Star Trek: The Next Generation, revealed that he’s content to let Star Trek: Nemesis stand as his final outing as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and discussed his role as Macbeth in the PBS adaptation of "The Scottish Play." Today, in part two of our interview, Stewart recounts sharing the stage with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy at a recent Star Trek convention, previews his new Broadway show, A Life in the Theatre, and expresses his gratitude for a long, successful – and still ongoing – life and career.
We saw you at the 2010 Creation Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas a couple of months ago and you seemed to be enjoying yourself tremendously during your time on stage. You helped create a true once-in-a-lifetime moment for thousands of fans when you surprised William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy by joining them during their session. What did that moment mean to you?
Stewart: I felt that a real honor was being bestowed on me because these are the guys that created it all. These are the living legends of Star Trek. They also happen to be two men who I’ve grown to like very much. I know Bill more than I do Leonard, but I admire and like both of them. So, to be a third party on that stage, in front of such an audience, was a real treat for me.
You and the Next Gen cast got together not too long ago for the group’s annual dinner, but we’ve heard that this year’s gathering was particularly special. First, everyone made it for the first time in a while and also LeVar Burton toasted you and your knighthood in a most memorable manner. Take us to that day.
Stewart: That was the first celebration that I held once the news of my knighthood had been announced. It just so happened that I was returning to Los Angeles. It just so happened that every single cast member was in town, and (so were) Rick (Berman) and John Logan. I threw this dinner party in Beverly Hills. I look upon this wonderful distinction I’ve been given as also a nodding in the direction of Star Trek, to those seven years that I spent on the series. To be able to celebrate this unexpected honor with perhaps the group of actors in my 52-year career I have grown closest to of all the companies I have ever worked with, was just a very appropriate way to go. And, of course, I got indescribably teased about it. But the evening was full of a lot of affection and love and good cheer.
You said yesterday that there’s comedy to be mined in Falstaff, and your current show, A Life in the Theatre, is a David Mamet comedy that will have its opening night on Broadway on October 12. What excites you most about doing the show again?
Stewart: Picking up where I left. When the production ended its run in London five years ago, I contacted David Mamet and said, “I’m not done with this. This has just been too much fun. I’d like to go on doing it. If there’s any possibility for it to have a further life or to do it somewhere else, I’d love to do it.” Well, a number of years passed and then, about nine months ago, I got a call. And here we are, on Broadway, with a new cast. Well, with 50 percent a new cast. I’m sharing the stage with a wonderful young actor, T.R. Knight, who is playing John (to Stewart’s older actor character, Robert). For an English actor it is thrilling to be premiering a David Mamet show on Broadway.
We know that A Life in the Theatre hasn’t even officially opened yet, so this may be premature, but do you know what stage show you’ll be doing next and where it’ll be mounted?
Stewart: Well, I actually met with a director on Sunday night for dinner to discuss a project. It would not be a first time for me. It would be a fourth time approaching this role. I can’t say what it is, but it would be for the UK and it would be Shakespeare. The Royal Shakespeare Company is opening its new theater this year. The huge, multi-million pound renovation that has been done on main house is opening and I have always hoped that I might have some part in that. So that may possibly happen, but I can’t give you any more detail beyond that.
We don’t have enough time to go through all the credits currently listed for you on IMDB, which include Dorothy of Oz, Gnomeo & Juliet, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage. So, is there one on that list you’re particularly excited about?
Stewart: Oh, the Gnomeo & Juliet project is terrific fun. I have not seen the fully completed film, but I’ve seen enough of it, though, to know that it’s very unusual. And, of course, I get to play William Shakespeare in it, so that means something to me. I think that is really delightful.
You are a Shakespearean actor and a father. You are Picard in the eyes of many and Professor Xavier to others. Some people know you as Avery Bullock (the recurring character he voices for American Dad!) And now you are Sir Patrick Stewart. How strange and satisfying a brew is that?
Stewart: I get giddy at times with my good fortune. That I should find myself in my 71st year being involved in such a diverse quantity of work and blessed to be healthy enough to look forward to – I hope – a busy career, with perhaps a few more little breaks from time to time than I have taken in the past, I sometimes feel as though all this has happened to somebody else or that it might have happened to somebody I dreamed about. It is so far beyond my modest ambitions when I left drama school and became a professional actor that it does make me a little giddy sometimes with the reality of it. Am I having fun? Yes, I am having the time of my life currently. The last six years have been the best years of my career and my life. My family are all well and happy. You know, it’s a great, great blessing to have a life and a career at this place where mine is now. I’m very, very lucky. And if it were all to end tonight I would be very, very content with what has been achieved.