Star Trek: TNG's Patrick Stewart Admits He Was A "Bastard" During Season 1 Filming
Tempers flared in that first season as the classically-trained actor adapted to the American TV lifestyle.
It's been almost 30 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air--though characters would return throughout different Star Trek movies and spin-offs--but it helped launch Patrick Stewart and a cast of mostly unknown and untested actors into stardom.
Introducing new Star Trek canon after 20 years was a long-shot gamble for sure, and Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard was a new Commander in charge of the USS Enterprise and wasn't always the most jovial. Stewart writes in his new memoir, Making It So: A Memoir, which includes a story about a time the Emmy-nominated actor lashed out at his TNG co-stars while shooting Season 1.
"I could be a severe bastard," he writes in an exclusive excerpt published by The Hollywood Reporter. "My experiences at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre had been intense and serious...On the TNG set, I grew angry with the conduct of my peers, and that's when I called that meeting in which I lectured the cast for goofing off and responded to Denise Crosby's, 'We've got to have some fun sometimes, Patrick' comment by saying, 'We are not here, Denise, to have fun.'"
And when the cast couldn't contain their laughter, Stewart stormed offset but realized that wasn't exactly the best way to do things. "I didn't handle it well," he writes. "I stormed off the set and into my trailer, slamming the door."
TNG was Stewart's first regular TV gig and he was being paid more money than he had in London. The show had already been predicted to end in a similar fashion to its predecessor. The pressure was mounting and Stewart wanted to prove them wrong.
The actor goes on to mention it was Jonathan Frakes who came to him and told him that, yes, maybe there is too much goofing off going on, but being so standoffish and seeing himself as a superior actor wasn't the best way to be a stage leader.
"I had failed to read the room, imposing RSC behavior on people accustomed to the ways of episodic television," Stewart added, "which was, after all, what we were shooting."
Making It So: A Memoir is being released this Tuesday by Gallery Books.
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