‘Star Trek: Picard’: Patrick Stewart: “I met my father as a weak and alcoholic man. Then I discovered his other face ”| TV


Patrick Stewart in an instant of ‘Picard’, from Amazon Prime Video.



To access the interview with Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart), the most famous commander of Star trek, with permission from its predecessor Kirk, there is as much control as in the bridge of command of USS Enterprise. Do not sneak or face vulcanian. The appointment to talk about the new series of ten episodes Star Trek: Picard (Amazon Prime Video), an expansion of the popular science fiction franchise which begins airing on Friday, January 24, is in a very distinguished hotel in London with corridors so long that a teleporter is needed to travel them. The organization of the meeting, omnipresent, includes a lot of girls with the pin of the star fleet and two guys with Klingon air that look at you with suspicion, do not go to be a trekkie infiltrate. With great punctuality the door of room 126 opens and I get a green light. Here we go, beam me up, Scotty, and that Mr. Spock distributes luck. Stewart, the legendary protagonist of the television series Star Trek: the new generation (seven seasons, 1987-1994, premiered 21 years after the original) and his four films, he sits at a table and radiates the same authority as if we were to activate the thrust by curvature to enter a very distant corner of the universe . He wears an impolute white shirt (with collar) and wears glasses. At his side is, and it is a surprise because it was not announced, nothing less than the actress Jeri Ryan, Seven of Nine in the galaxy, a borg (dangerous race of cyber humanoids) reinserted that appeared in the series Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001, seven seasons) and that comes out in the new one. It is a satisfaction to contemplate that today Ryan does not have artificial implants, nor is it that the former Miss Illinois needs them …

“Peace and prosperity”, beginning, as it seems forced. Stewart and Ryan make a funny face at the greeting and the Vulcan gesture and return it smiling. It is surprising to note that Captain Picard cannot open his fingers as he is canonical. They both laugh. “I’ve never been able to,” the actor deplores, with his formidable deep voice. What are the differences between the new Picard and the previous one, which we left 18 years ago in the film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)? “Huge. To accept starring in the new series, I put the same situation in the same situation as not doing the same thing again. Enterprise, wearing the uniform … No, it had to be something completely different. Then they came with that new story that is great. It made me think right away about the interest of reviewing Picard’s television story. The plot evolves to show a man who is angry, alone, and even in some way desperate. And isolated. At the beginning he is living with two Romulans, who take care of him, two excellent people, who will return in the second season. It is about exploring how that man who was reasonable, calm, cunning, friendly, warm, has become very different. It is a challenge that I enjoyed greatly. In a first script, I shouted to the workers of my vineyards in French, in French, an abusive Frenchman. I love what can baffle the public that. ”

The series, in which a very special mysterious young woman, Dahj (Isa Briones) related to the sacrificed android Data, goes to ask for help from the protagonist in his retirement, starts with Picard, of French origin (La Barre, 2305), of low Starfleet, taking care of the family’s vineyards and bottling the Château Picard. Stewart (Mirfield, Yorkshire, 1940) is more tea than Earl Gray, isn’t it? The actor laughs willingly and Jery Ryan too. The actress takes the opportunity to say that she loves Stewart’s work in the new series. “I’ve seen only the first three episodes but I think it’s magnificent, it makes me cry,” he says. “It’s so touching, so emotional, so competent.”

There are some amazing references to dunkirk in the first episode, in reference to the past tragedy of the exodus of millions of Romulan refugees, after the destruction of the homeworld of their empire, in whose rescue the Starfleet failed despite Picard’s attempts, something that haunts him. “Yes”. Stewart’s father was in the Dunkirk retreat. “Not exactly, he was part of the British expeditionary force in France in 1939, he escaped on the last ship in Cheburg, just when the German army Panzer closed the bag.” There are echoes of Dunkirk, the collective rescue effort, in the Roman tragedy that has traumatized Picard and also of the current refugee drama. “Yes, in the interview she gives to television in episode 1 and how bad it goes, the interviewer says that the effort made by the fleet was like building the Egyptian pyramids, and Picard ditch: ‘No, no, no, the pyramids were an act of excessive pride, the tightest historical image is that of Dunkirk. ‘ The poor interviewer, of course, has no idea what Dunkirk was … ”

Stewart’s father had a very negative impact on his son, drunk and abusive, it was a kind of Darth Vader. The actor is not bothered by the personal turn of the interview and even laughs a little with the mention of the villain of Star Wars. “Yes, he finished his service in the army in 1945 as a superstar, he was the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer of his regiment. When I participated in a BBC program about family roots, a man, who had been a sergeant with him, said: ‘Do you know what your father did?’, No, he never told me, I replied, ‘Well, he fought in Montecasino ‘, that hell. He was then taken to London and commissioned to reorganize the Parachute Regiment, which had been decimated in Arnheim, with so many dead and so many prisoners the morale was on the ground and his job was to restore it. “It seems to me that your father was an extraordinary man,” said the sergeant. That moved me very deeply, because I knew him as a weak and alcoholic man, violent and angry. So as soon as I knew it, and because my mother had suffered so much and I had become a member of Refuge, the most important association that deals with domestic violence in the United Kingdom, I did research and discovered that there was another organization, Combat Stress, to help war veterans, and I joined her. It is for my father, the other for my mother. ”

Patrick Stewart at the premiere of 'Star Trek: Picard' in Los Angeles.


Patrick Stewart at the premiere of ‘Star Trek: Picard’ in Los Angeles. Getty

Stewart has been visibly excited remembering, which with his Shakespearean voice record is absolutely moving and exceptional, and Ryan has rested his hand on his arm tenderly. “Anyway, my father had had very bad press for me for years, I’m afraid.” Picard, by the way, has a very Shakespearean side, the logical given that whoever incarnates him is a recognized member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who has done numerous roles of the playwright, including notable Othello, Prosperous, Macbeth and Claudio, the stepfather of Hamlet (and has said that Shakespeare’s characters prepared him to sit in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise and face galactic dilemmas). Is Shakespearian Picard even more in the new series? “I guess we could say it. His life is close to tragedy. I have a theory about classical actors and science fiction. One of the reasons why you find so many actors with that kind of training … ”, like his great friend Ian Mckellen (Gandalf, Magneto), with whom they share the films of Patrol X (Stewart as the preceptor of the mutants Charles Xavier, Professor X), apart from having done Vladimir and Estragon together in Waiting for Godot; “Yes Yes; He said that it is because there are certain similarities, not only because there are no pockets in the space suits as well as in the Shakespearean leotards, it is the scope of the stories, great stories about recognizable people. ”

How captains prefer Picard or Ahab, who has given life in the miniseries Moby dick (1998)? “Oh, Ahab is crazy. He is an unstable and dangerous man. I loved doing it. Even more so because there was Gregory Peck, John Huston’s Ahab playing the role of Father Marple, who made Orson Welles in that version. ” Interestingly, Picard quotes Moby dick on the bridge of the Enterprise… He has also made Captain Nemo, what a trio of captains! “True, I did it. In Thailand. A television version of The mysterious Island. My Nemo was very cool, and well, honestly, I enjoyed being all that time in Thailand. ” Stewart takes the opportunity to remember that he also came out, like Gurney Halleck (the Atreides’ weapons master), in “that weird science fiction David Lynch movie, what was his name?”, Dune, “exact”. What Stewart did not do … he was even the fearsome chief of the Praetorians Sejano in I, Claudio, and King Leodegrance, father of Geneva, in ExcalibuJohn Boorman’s r!

In the new series, Picard is a passenger rather than a captain — a paper left to Santiago Cabrera as a space smuggler of the Han Solo race. “Yes”. Which is better in a spaceship, being captain or passenger? “There is a time when Picard passes the captain’s chair and realizes that it is not his, and that he has to take a seat as a passenger … I love being a captain, every part of it; and in that I have to speak again of my father, of the capacity of leadership and to inspire others ”.

In the plot, in relation to the prohibition of creating artificial beings, there seems to be echoes of Blade Runner “Mmm, I can’t say it, I’m not sure I recognize that.” Fans of Star trek they would not forgive me not to ask if a new model of Enterprise “No, you can see a model hanging in the lobby of the Starfleet headquarters, but I think it’s the D model, the truth is that I’m never quite sure about that.” Stewart and Ryan laugh in unison.

Does the actor practice fencing like Picard? “Fencing? I studied a year. I had two options, fencing or judo. And I was not interested in judo, so I chose fencing and really enjoyed it. ” Saber? “No, it was my teacher’s weapon, but I used foil, and sword.” Don’t Jedi lightsaber? “Hahaha no”. Time is up, Stewart has the detail of printing an autograph on the cover of the book Star Trek, Picard: the classic Chronicles (Titan, 2019), a celebration of the character and the series. With the copy under the arm one can go out and, full of enthusiasm trekkie, see how the world expands to the limits of known space and beyond, to the last frontier.

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