Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have been old friends well before they played the frenemies of Professor X and Magneto respectively in the Fox “X-Men” franchise. However, not even old friends always get along. Back in the day, McKellen gave Stewart what he felt was some sage advice that the former leader of the X-Men and Starfleet captain ignored.
The advice McKellen had for his friend at the time? Don’t join the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
At the time, Stewart was a well known Shakespeare stage actor and McKellen shared that he had given his friend some potentially horrible advice:
“He had had a distinguished career doing Shakespeare, and he was a leading young actor here doing the classics[.] He said he had been asked to go do ‘Star Trek,’ and I said, ‘Do be very careful. You’re having such a wonderful career here; to stop it to go off and do a telly that might not work is a very dangerous step.’ Thank goodness he didn’t take my advice.”
These days, McKellen is thrilled that his old friend had taken the job and what it had meant for Stewart’s career:
“He plays very strong characters[.] And he looks formidable. He looks reliable. He’s the guy who you want to have in a difficult situation. ‘Captain Picard is here, don’t you worry.’ But inside that strength is a tenderness, which responds to love and affection, and which gives out the same thing to people who are closest to him.”
Are you as happy as Ian McKellen is that Patrick Stewart ignored his advice? Could you imagine that Jean-Luc Picard would have been as iconic of a character in the hands of another actor? Were Stewart’s roots in Shakespeare part of what made him such a perfect choice? Share your thoughts in the comments below!