Patrick Stewart, age 70, has managed to pursue a career blending classic theater with pop culture TV to much acclaim. This year, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance as Claudius and the Ghost in Hamlet on PBS’ Great Performances, competing in the made-for-TV movie/miniseries supporting actor category against the likes of Michael Gambon (Emma), Jonathan Pryce (Return to Cranford), David Straithairn (Temple Grandin) and John Goodman (You Don’t Know Jack). But to a generation of TV viewers, he will always be Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sir Patrick spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about the honor of being knighted, his obsession with Shakespeare, and why he originally thought casting him on Star Trek was crazy talk.
Deadline Hollywood: You were knighted in June. How did this all go down?
Sir Patrick Stewart: I received a letter, and when I opened it there was shock and utter disbelief. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. People have been saying this could happen to me for several years, but they’re not the kind of things I listened to. From the time I was much younger, I’d followed those actors who were similarly honored, like Sir Michael Redgrave, Sir Ian McKellan. I never anticipated someday being able to join those ranks. It’s a terrific honor and I take it as one bestowed on my profession and my associations. I am very proud and very humbled by it.
DH: I suppose that by comparison, an Emmy nomination is pretty modest stuff. You’ve received three of those before.
SPS: It is not something I take lightly at all. It’s an extraordinary distinction, particularly for playing a supporting player in a Shakespearean play. That doesn’t happen to many actors on television. (more…)