The May issue of Smithsonian magazine has an interview with Sir Patrick Stewart, in which he talks about Star Trek, science fiction, and the rights of robots, in addition to the usual questions about acting. It starts out like this:
Is your lifelong passion for human rights part of what attracted you to the role of Professor Xavier in X-Men?
STEWART: Actually, yes. I turned that down when it was first offered to me, and the director, Bryan Singer, whom I had not met, said, “Please meet with me. I want to talk to you, before we move on and talk to someone else.” And he talked to me about what he hoped to achieve with the first of those films; how the subject matter would be examining the rights of those who are different from others and asking, because they were different, did they have the same rights as everybody else. And he said in the film there will be two camps. There will be a camp led by Magneto, who believes that the only way in which the mutant world can protect itself is by fighting and destroying its enemies, and Xavier, who believes that there is, as Captain Picard would have done, another route which is peaceful and involves discussion and exposure and conversation and dialogue. And I saw it, I saw the point. So I happily signed on to be an active voice for the good guys.
Stewart doesn’t really draw a contrast between Shakespearean acting and modern science fiction, as his interest is in the deeper motivations of the characters. The rest of the interview is quite interesting.
(Image credit: Dan Winters)