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Patrick Stewart almost rejected 'Star Trek' role

The British actor talks to IWC Schaffhausen, considers being called gay as one of his "biggest achievements in life"

By Verinia Khoo | Published: 23 Mar 2017

Video: IWC Watches

Star Trek wouldn't be the same if Patrick Stewart hadn't played Captain Jean-Luc Picard. In an episode of IWC Schaffhausen's #IWCTalksTo series, the actor elaborated on how he almost turned down playing the sci-fi legend in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the following films in the franchise. He had initially wanted to pass up the opportunity because he had other plans.

"After three auditions, where they flew me to Los Angeles from London, which struck me as kind of grotesque for me to be doing that, then they offered me the role. I was in Los Angeles at the time and I was given five days to make a decision," Patrick said. "My agent said to me, whom I've never met before because I've never been offered work in Los Angeles before – took me out for lunch and explained to me the terms of my deal and then he mentioned six years."

"I said, 'No, no, no, that's not possible', and he said, 'Why?' and I said, 'I have plans,' and he said, 'What plans?' and I said, 'Well, there's a play I want to do in London'. And he rolled his eyes and groaned at the idea of theatre in Los Angeles is just absurd," he said. "I knew a few people in Los Angeles, in Hollywood, and I went to see them all and I asked them the same question, and to a man, they all the said the same thing: 'It's never going to work. You'd be lucky to make it through the first season.'"

Patrick also talks about kissing longtime friend and collaborator Ian McKellen, and being labelled gay when he is not, something he considers one of the biggest achievements in his life.

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