Sir Patrick Stewart has played some iconic characters but maybe none more so than Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
That’s why when the news that he would be returning to the role for a brand new series, fans were beyond excited and Stewart says he was surprised how excited he is too.
“I am very excited about it,” the veteran actor told Yahoo Movies UK. “I’m more excited than I thought it would ever be possible for me to be about going back into the world of Jean-Luc Picard.”
Stewart says that “under pain of severe retribution” he cannot give any plot details away about the new series but he did reveal a little about its production dates and location.
“I know what our first season will be about and I know the storylines and so forth,” he explained. “We start shooting it in the middle of April sometime, in the middle of California.”
The septuagenarian can next be seen in The Kid Who Would Be King, Joe Cornish’s sophomore feature that is a modern retelling of the Arthurian legend. In the film, he plays Merlin while Angus Imrie plays the younger version.
“It was a thrill for me when I heard that Angus was going to be playing the younger version of Merlin because I had worked with Angus’ mother 40 years ago,” Stewart said. “I adored her in the theatre and has since become great friends with her so to be working with her son was just marvellous.”
He is, of course, talking about Celia Imrie who he last appeared on screen with, in the 1990 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, though it wasn’t until production began on the movie that Angus was introduced to his mother’s pal.
“We hadn’t started shooting and Patrick had just got involved which, as you can imagine for everyone involved in the film but particularly for me to be able to share a role with him, was so fantastic,” Imrie said.
“We had been rehearsing for a little while just in pre-production and Patrick came in. He was given a seat in the stalls in the theatre and we had to perform the scenes we had been working on for him so he could get a sense of how it was going to be,” the actor continued. “He was incredibly gracious and that’s when we started the work proper to match our performances.”
Stewart has experience playing the same character as another actor thanks to his tenure as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise along with James McAvoy, but he says this film offered “a fascinating challenge.”
“One of the things in my career that I have enjoyed about being an actor is when those opportunities come along to do something you haven’t done before,” he said.
“In recent years I seem to be finishing a scene and saying to people, ‘I’ve never done that before, that was the first time on camera I’ve ever done that,’ most of them I can’t even repeat in public.
“And this idea of the same character being seen in the movie played by two very different people, not just different people, but I guess I am 50 years older than Angus,” Stewart continued, “how to bring us closer together so that there is a semblance of reality about them being the same man was really interesting and we had such great fun.”
So now that Angus has played a younger version of Patrick could he play a young Jean-Luc Picard?
“That would be a spin-off,” said Stewart.
The Kid Who Would Be King is in cinemas this Friday, 15 February.