I don’t know how many, and I don’t know who they are until a text stimulates them. There’s one text that keeps getting tossed in my direction, which is King Lear.
I would love to see you in Lear.
But should I do it? I’m not sure that I have the physical stamina. It’s nearly a four-hour play. Ian McKellen [who first played Lear in 2007] told me that the role has a big break, like a 25-minute break, in the middle of the play. Thank you, William Shakespeare! He knew what he was doing. He was an actor himself. He knew what it was like to play endless roles where you’d never leave the stage. And Ian lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, very close to the theater. He would go home in the middle of his interval while the play went on.
Going back to the Star Trek franchise, I can imagine that somebody at Paramount has already hatched plans to do a series about Picard as a young Starfleet officer before he becomes captain …
I see where you’re going.
How does that feel to you? We now have multiple Kirks and McCoys and Spocks. Can you imagine there being another Picard?
It will happen, I’m sure. I mean, I already have a son. And who knows what’s going to happen to him. He could become the next Jean-Luc, and he’s a wonderful actor. But Star Trek: Picard, especially season three, left us in a very unresolved place. I had an idea about how to play the last scene that would have kind of resolved it, but it didn’t work out.
You write in the book that you wanted him to be married or to have a woman in his life. Is that what you would want to see, the final resolution come to the screen?
Well, it would be: Let’s explore further the inside of this man’s head. His fears, his anger, his frustration, his questioning all of those things. There is a moment, I’m not quite sure where it comes in the series … Well, there are two moments. One is when Picard doesn’t know what to do. He’s stumped. And we never saw that in The Next Generation. There is also a moment when he is truly fearful. And those two pointers alone, I think, make him an interesting study for one more movie.
You said that there are questions still to be resolved in his mind. Do you feel like there are questions on what’s going on in your mind?
About myself? That’s truly a work in progress.
Oh, yes. It always will be. There are problems in my family life, not here, not with my wife, but with my family in England. And I believe it is my job to internally connect with this and then perhaps more overtly connect with it.
You know, this is one of the kind of shameful things about acting: Immediately, I think, “Oh, yes, I know what I would do with that!” And from being a teenage boy, I could do that. Because, as a teenage boy, it meant I didn’t have to be Patrick Stewart, who I didn’t really like very much. I could pretend to be somebody else, and adults would believe me.