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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.

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