Mr.Picard

The Sir Patrick Stewart Topic

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1) Saw? Really? OMG I am a violent movie wimp. No - worse than that - I avoid most films rated over PG13 cuz I know they'll be a little more that I can handle. (I have baaaaad dreams too easily.) My friends know me so well that they will email me and tell me - Oh you won't like this one. There have been a few exceptions to this rule and I can't explain why - maybe because the violence was so cartoonish? (RoboCop was one)

Yeah, I love the Saw movies. :thumbsup2: You cannot imagine how PLEASED I was when I read that Rupert Goold, the director of Mr. Stewart's Macbeth named Saw, among other horror movies, as a major influence on how he set up the play and the stage. :thumbsup2: It made me want to see the play so badly, but I couldn't do that back then... no money for a trip to England. :(

However - I adore the serious plays too - I'm awfully fond of Othello and Julius Caesar. JC was the first play I ever read aloud in class so it holds a special place in my heart. (I got to read the main character's role - so that goes without saying.)

But I'm a huge fan of the low-brow humor that can be played up in the comedies. My favorite version of Merry Wives of Windsor was done by a University Group in SoCal about 20 years ago and their exorbintant use of codpieces had me weeping.

Besides - Falstaff is my favorite underrated character. (I heard a rumor that Mr. Stewart might be looking to undertake that role soon?)

Yes, I also like Julius Caesar and Othello (especially Iago!!!!). I also like Coriolanus a lot. Antony And Cleopatra is a favorite of mine as well...

You're correct, Mr. Stewart has repeatedly stated that Falstaff is one character he'd love to play, maybe even his favorite character. :thumbsup2:

2) I know that journalists will always reference Trek in their articles - and admittedly the reference you showed here wasn't that bad. I just get frustrated when that's all they talk about when they speak to him....Luckily that was not the case in this article - they really did focus on his stage work.

Yes, but still, I'd love it if they just stopped using "make it so" and all that. I know it's hard to resist for a journalist to use Trek references because they work so well most of the time, but still. It's kinda frustrating. :dontgetit: On the other hand, I know that Jean-Luc Picard was, is and will always be a huge influence on Mr. Stewart, so it's not that bad... but still... you're right, it bothers me much more if they ask him only about Trek in interviews that were supposed to be about his stage work.

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Some more Stewart pics! ;)

Mr. Stewart in the movie "King Of Texas":

kingoftexas3.jpg

Another convention picture:

g7.jpg

And one of my all-time-fave Stewart pics:

bafta.jpg

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Terilynn   
Mhhhm, I love these!!!! :thumbup: Thanks, Ta-Dah! :thumbsup2:

That first scene.....Whew! Is it warm in here? :angel_not:

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That first scene.....Whew! Is it warm in here? :angel_not:

Just let me say that he ASKED Rupert Goold (Kate Fleetwood's husband and director of Macbeth) if it'd be okay for him when they decided to play the scene in that way. :laugh: He recently said that in an interview... he didn't want to do that without Rupert's (and Kate's, of course *lol*) permission. :laugh:

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New interview with Mr. Stewart!!!! :thumbup:

A few years ago, Patrick Stewart decided to get back to basics—which, in his case, meant a return to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, where he began his acting career four decades ago. Stewart had spent the better part of 20 years working in American film and TV, becoming an international star as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Xavier in the X-Men trilogy. Though he managed to mix in some notable stage performances—starring as Prospero in George C. Wolfe's production of The Tempest, playing the title role in a racially reversed Othello in Washington, wowing Broadway audiences in his one-man Christmas Carol and playing a bigamist in Arthur Miller's underrated The Ride Down Mount Morgan—he was ready to go home and challenge himself. Luckily for New York theatergoers, one result of the 67-year-old actor's decision, a stylish Macbeth directed by RSC vet Rupert Goold at England's Chichester Festival, jumped first to BAM and now to Broadway. Stewart's powerful yet human Scottish king makes the audience understand how ambition can lead a man astray, especially when he's egged on by a poisonously alluring Lady. The always charming and articulate actor chatted about the Bard and his desire to do a musical (!) with Broadway.com.

Before this production of Macbeth began, you were quoted calling it "a graveyard of a play." What are the challenges in getting it right?

In terms of its structure, the play has real land-mine areas, the witches probably being the greatest one of all. You're creating a world that is both believable and fantastic because of the presence of the witches and black magic and spells. And beyond that, justifying how Macbeth can acquire so much power and hold onto it when everyone else is opposed to him. Then there are set piece scenes, like the banquet scene with Banquo and his ghost, which are always difficult to pull off. How do you have a character who suddenly appears, but he's only seen by one person not by others? There's also the disintegration of Lady Macbeth's personality, from being so tough and so certain about how to carry all this off, and in the post-murder world, she cannot survive with the knowledge of what she's done, whereas for Macbeth, it makes him stronger and crueler.

When did you realize that this Macbeth was going to be special?

When Rupert Goold agreed to direct it. He had done a production of The Tempest with me [as Prospero] the previous summer. I had done the play three times in the United States but I felt I had unfinished business with it in England.

That Tempest in Central Park [directed by George C. Wolfe in 1995] was magical.

It was a wonderful production, and the complete antithesis of what Rupert did with it in Stratford when he set it in the Arctic. It had ice floes and snow and polar bears and Inuit images and so forth; it was dazzling. I had also seen Paradise Lost, which he adapted and directed himself, so I knew that he would not do a conventional production [of Macbeth]. But let me say: I don't think in any way the basis of Rupert's work is just to be unconventional. He tries to find the essence of a work and reflect that essence in his production.

And now Mrs. Goold, Kate Fleetwood, is your Lady Macbeth. The two of you are sexy together, don't you agree?

We both felt that this is an erotic relationship. It's the very centerpiece of who they are, and we went for that. Poor Kate has to have her body handled by me in all sorts of intimate and personal ways, which she is a great sport about [laughs]. I never did anything without asking her or Rupert first. Like the scene when I come on and touch her breast—I had the feeling that I needed to show some way in which Macbeth tries to revive what they've had. She's in her evening gown and looks so beautiful, but the contact between them [at that point] is meaningless.

This Lady Macbeth has been called a young "trophy wife," but your relationship is perfectly believable.

Well, I think we made them believable. That was very important to us. We created a real relationship for them, and Kate is an absolute delight to act with. She's so committed, and she's outstanding technically; she gives every performance 100 percent.

You are very generous in giving her equal time during in the curtain call.

All my life, I have been an ensemble actor. It's very nice to be a star and it's nice to lead the company and it's nice to be the one who stands up front, but I passionately believe that a production cannot survive—in fact, will be damaged—by one egotistical star performance. So I like to create a working atmosphere in which every actor is as important as anybody else, and the work is a community work. I couldn't play Macbeth without those other 17 actors. I admire them and I admire Kate immensely, and I love being able to show the audience what I feel for her.

You know Shakespeare's plays inside and out. How does this one rank in being satisfying to perform?

When you're doing one, it tends to overshadow everything else. Last year, I played Prospero [in The Tempest] and I also played Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, which was one of the best experiences of my life. Playing Antony was actually more fun than playing Macbeth. Macbeth isn't fun. It's very challenging and fascinating, but playing Antony was an absolute blast because he's an extraordinarily infuriating and attractive and exotic and charming character. For me, the play I'm doing swamps everything else. I'm trying to read Hamlet [in preparation for playing Claudius at Stratford] but I'm not doing too well with it because it's hard for me to take my mind off Macbeth.

Everybody in America reads Macbeth in high school. Is it a challenge to do speeches that are so well known?

Well, you know, I call them sing-along speeches [laughs]. In fact, there are times you can hear the audience quietly murmuring the words. That's fine! I go to opera sometimes and find myself quietly humming along. So what I like to do is take the audience by surprise with these speeches and get into them before they know that you're into them.

You're not pushing it, or being super-dramatic.

No, no, that doesn't work. It's necessary to make the audience feel that they're hearing something that is spontaneous, new-minted and never spoken before. So "Is this a dagger that I see before me?" has got to come out of a situation that I absolutely believe in. A number of audience members have told me, "I saw the dagger. I saw it there!" And that's wonderful, because it means that what I'm doing is working. If I see the dagger well enough, sometimes an audience can see it too.

What's your feeling about the notion that American actors are not as good at Shakespeare as Brits?

It's crap. I've worked with lots of American actors on Shakespeare. You saw that Tempest at Shakespeare in the Park, and we have two American actors in this production now [byron Jennings and Rachel Ticotin]; I defy anybody to identify which ones they are. In many respects, actually, I think American actors have a much freer and more open relationship with these plays than we do. We tend to overanalyze and overstudy. When I started out, I was a bit inhibited by Shakespeare and by all the great actors who had played the roles that I was playing. I think American have a much more liberated relationship with the plays.

What's the greatest Shakespearean performance you ever saw?

I'd have to go back many, many years to a production that I was in. I couldn't single out one performance, but I played two tiny roles in a production of Henry IV, Parts I and II and the magnificent Ian Holm played Prince Hal and Paul Rogers [played Falstaff]. Along with David Warner's Hamlet in the same season, they were mind-expanding performances of Shakespeare. I didn't know it was possible to act Shakespeare in a poetic and completely real way, as they did, and with so much intensity. I was lucky to be only 25 when I saw these performances, and they have been a powerful influence on me all my life. I also saw Paul Scofield play Lear around the same time, when I was first seriously challenging myself with Shakespeare; they were all inspirational.

You have one of the most distinctive voices in show business. Did you always speak this way?

People used to make fun of my voice when I was a younger actor. They used to do impersonations of me. And I thought, "God, if that's what I sound like, that's awful." I think I had a higher pitched and rather metallic sound, which was the fashion in those days. A lot of it was started by Laurence Olivier, who spoke with this very clipped and high-pitched tone. I think perhaps unconsciously a lot of us copied him.

Well, your voice has served you well in all types of parts on stage and screen.

I do believe that the quality of the voice affects an audience, so if you want the audience to feel at ease with you, it's important that the voice achieves that. If you want to scare the wits out of them, you can do that with your voice too. If you want to communicate big emotions and feelings, the voice is really all you've got. I was blessed to work with [voice teacher] Cicely Barry and, indeed, I will be going back to Stratford and having private classes with her just as I did 40 years ago. And I was lucky to work with the American voice teacher and director Kristin Linklater, who had a huge influence on me when I first worked with her in 1970.

Your career has been mix of "high" and "low" culture, from Shakespeare to all kinds of TV parts, notably Star Trek: The Next Generation. Is it simply a matter of doing things that appeal to you?

Absolutely. I do a lot of voiceovers, for instance. I've a recurring character in a wonderful Fox animated series called American Dad, which is very explicit and "out there" [laughs]. I play the British head of the CIA, and I have to do some really outrageous and shocking things. I get as much pleasure out of those recording sessions as I do Macbeth. If the quality of the work is good, then there's always satisfaction to be found. I've been lucky that I've always worked on quality projects. Star Trek was a quality project.

Speaking of Star Trek, how did the folks back home react to your success in America?

The English have got a rather odd relationship with success. They like their people to be successful, but they're not too keen on them being successful elsewhere. And they like to remind them that maybe they're not as successful as they think they are [laughs]. Performing in the States is so much fun because people truly celebrate success here. Our audiences [at Macbeth] know that they're at a smash hit, and they relish every aspect of it. You can hear them congratulating themselves that they're there at this event, and they're going to get everything out of it and then cheer us to the rafters. Whereas English audiences tend to be a little hard to convince. "Prove it to us," they might say. But I love working in England. What I'm doing right now is all I ever wanted to do: great Shakespeare on English stages with a fine group of actors.

Not bad for an actor named the sexiest man on television when you were over 50.

Yes, that was a curiosity wasn't it? [Laughs.] Nobody was more astonished than I was.

I read that you and your Star Trek co-stars formed a band. Can we expect to see you as King Arthur in Spamalot?

Haha. Wouldn't that be fun? No, I didn't form a bad. Brent Spiner, who played Data the android, made a beautiful album of standards, and I suggested that he sing a song by the Ink Spots, "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie." The Ink Spots did this distinctive humming and crooning in the background, so Brent asked Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton and myself to do backup vocals for this one particular number. We called ourselves the Sun Spots. I'm afraid our career began and ended in one night, but we did actually record the song in a studio where the Rolling Stones had recorded, so we felt pretty good about ourselves.

But seriously, could you see yourself doing a musical?

Oh yes. I'm an actor who sings, and I very much want to do musicals. In fact, I've been in discussions about it for the last year or so; it's a matter of finding the right piece. I know what I want to do. I think one of the greatest roles written for an actor-singer in the 20th century is Sweeney Todd. I would have to go into serious and extended coaching and practice for that, because it's a very, very challenging role but it's a role I would love to play because the character fascinates me and, of course, the music is great. I guess I'm not yet too old for it.

You'd do Sweeney Todd in England?

Probably. We've talked about doing Camelot, which I would like to do. We've talked about The King and I. The other day, somebody talked about A Little Night Music, which is a musical that I love. But I would seriously have to get down to work if I were going to do that, because speaking is one thing, and singing is another set of demands altogether.

It's a special treat for theater fans to see you and Ian McKellen going head to head in the X-Men movies. Have you ever worked together onstage?

We did one stage production together, the world premiere of a Tom Stoppard play called Every Good Boy Deserves Favour [in 1977]. We've known each other for 40 years, but it wasn't until we began to do X-Men that we really became good friends. He and I are going to do a stage project next year, but I can't tell you what it is. Every time I think about it I get goosebumps, but I can't tell because it hasn't been formally announced yet.

You'll do this in England?

It's going to be in England, but if we're any good at all, we might like to see if New York would like to have a look at it too.

Would I be able to guess what it is?

Nope. Because I wouldn't tell you if you did [laughs].

What's the most challenging thing you've ever done? Your solo version of A Christmas Carol has got to be at the top.

Yep, it's very demanding, but I've no one to blame but myself for that because I adapted it and directed it and put it on the stage. I love performing it, and I hope I will do it again sometime. It means perhaps more to me than anything else I've ever done because I believe in the message of the story so passionately.

At this point, what makes you say yes to a play?

Years and years ago, I had a wonderful agent who said to me, "When you read a script, if your blood doesn't start pounding in your veins, toss it aside." So I wait for a sense of excitement to come, and it's unmistakeable when it happens. Like this thing with Ian—when I sat down to read it, there it was.

Does it make you feel good that your son, Daniel, decided to become an actor?

It didn't at the time, because I know what a tough business it is, and you want your children to be happy and successful. It's a real battle, building a career as an actor, but Daniel is a wonderful actor. What is so exciting is that he's a very different actor from me; he does things I couldn't do. We have a bond that ties us together now, which is that we have the same job and can be supportive of each other. He gives me notes and advice on what I do, and I do the same for him

How about your daughter, Sophie?

My daughter is a mom, she has two wonderful children. I'm a granddad four times over.

Awards season is upon us. Would you like to win a Tony Award? How do you feel about acting awards in general?

I have always dreamed of earning a Tony nomination. I believe awards are good for the whole theater community. I have won, I have lost, I have been overlooked and ignored—and I try to smile through it all and remind myself that I am so lucky to do this job in the company of outstanding people.

Source

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Terilynn   

^ Sigh. I just adore him. Wonderful, wonderful actor.

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Yes, I like him a lot as well. :thumbsup2: He's always polite (well, not if people ask stupid questions, of course *lol*), very, very intelligent and he has a wonderful sense of humor. ^^

And I so want him to be in a musical. OMG. I love it when he sings!!!! :clap:

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That mention he makes of a new play with him and Sir Ian McKellen sounds VERY promising! Oh, I'm about to faint...and if it does come to New York...I HAVE to see it! It would be a Shakespeare admirer's dream! :inlove:

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That mention he makes of a new play with him and Sir Ian McKellen sounds VERY promising! Oh, I'm about to faint...and if it does come to New York...I HAVE to see it! It would be a Shakespeare admirer's dream! :inlove:

Yes I know, it's very, very promising. I HAVE to see this as well. *is already saving money for the trip to England* :angel_not:

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Ta-Dah   

oh, man...Ian and Patrick together on stage ... :drool:

I'm going to Stratford this summer to see Hamlet, but that play with Ian next year...it's a must see thing...

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Yeah, I can't wait to see them together on stage... I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent 'Mr. Stewart might play Iago in Othello' rumors. Hmm.

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Terilynn   
Yeah, I can't wait to see them together on stage... I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent 'Mr. Stewart might play Iago in Othello' rumors. Hmm.

OMG - if that ocurrs. HR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll fly into Newark. I'll rent the car and you can navigate me to NY (Never been there.) We'll go! OK!!?

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Make sure that the two of you are then going to have a nice little chat at the stage door with Mr. Stewart and Sir Ian. ;)

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Don't worry, Terri...getting to New York is easier than trying to find a girlfriend! No, wait...aw, man! If only the latter was as easy as getting to New York. :( But Newark is practically across the pond from New York, at least a 20-minute drive! ;) It'd be great to see them!

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Ta-Dah   

I just watched Extras - one episode with Ian and another with Patrick...both of them were hilarious. There are also histerically funny outtakes from season 1. Ricky Gervais can't keep straight face for more than 3 seconds in his scene with Patrick. They must have done that scene at least 20 times.... :biggrin:

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I loooove the Extras outtakes on the DVDs!!! I love how Gervais laughs and laughs and laughs... if I'd been Mr. Stewart, I'd have slapped him after a while! :laugh:

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Terilynn   

I'll have to try it later - I got rolled to a conversation on Google and then the Stewart item would never load.... :( I'll give it ten and try again.

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