Here's why Patrick Stewart thought twice before taking on the role of Professor X

Contributed by
Nov 10, 2017

Patrick Stewart is an accomplished actor, best known for his work as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series of movies. But that sentence almost ended on the word “Generation,” because X-Men director Bryan Singer had to convince Stewart to take the role…because Stewart didn’t want to be typecast. Again.

In a conversation with Deadline on its vlog The Actor's Side with Pete Hammond, below, Stewart said, “There is a downside to playing an iconic, immediately recognizable actor in a successful television series, which was you become that person.”

Stewart recalled that during one particular meeting for an audition, a director — whom Stewart didn't name — told him: “‘Patrick, you’re a good actor. I like what you do, but why would I want Jean-Luc Picard in my movie?’ It really hurt. It knocked me down for quite a while.”

But it worked out for fans of Stewart’s performance as Professor X in the X-Men series. He said, “Thankfully, Bryan Singer insisted I have lunch with him, and he persuaded me differently.”

As for exiting the role of Professor X, interviewer Hammond said, “I know you went into Logan saying, 'This is it.' " But Stewart corrected him. “No, I came out of Logan saying, ‘This is it.’ ”

Closure came during a screening, sitting side-by-side with Hugh Jackman at the Berlin Film Festival, when he saw the finale to Logan. “There cannot be a better farewell to this 17-year experience than what we have in Logan. It’s a beautiful movie.”

Stewart is currently in talks with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He may be returning to the theater in 2020.

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: