Ian McKellen Once Advised Patrick Stewart Not To Play Picard

As part of a celebration of Patrick Stewart’s 80th birthday, his long-time friend Sir Ian McKellen has dished some goss on their history together. In an interview with The Guardian, picked up by THR, McKellen confessed that he advised his friend not to take the Star Trek role for the sake of his career.

It was due to Stewart’s “success as a classical actor with the Royal Shakespeare and National Theatre companies” that McKellen warned against the role as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. “He’s long forgiven me my advice not to risk a solid career on the British stage by falling for an uncertain future in Star Trek.”

In hindsight Stewart’s career after Star Trek was anything but uncertain, with Picard becoming a fan-favorite character that Stewart would reprise for seven seasons, four movies and now CBS’s new show Star Trek: Picard.

“How he got that job is a prime example of how luck can be a lady and it will be a riveting chapter in the memoir he must write. He has so much to tell,” McKellen said.

The two classical theater actors ended up facing off in the sci-fi world of 2000’s X-Men, with Patrick Stewart playing Professor X and McKellen as his nemesis Magneto.

The Guardian’s celebration of Stewart’s birthday also includes interviews with David Tennant, William Shatner, Kelsey Grammar, and many more actors who have worked with him for both stage and screen.

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