Wizard World: The Wit and Wisdom of Patrick Stewart (Abridged)
Captain Picard talks Shakespeare, airline travel, and free drink
By Richard Whittaker, 7:00AM, Sun. Oct. 28, 2012
They say a keen imagination keeps you young. If that's true, then Patrick Stewart must have a vivid fantasy life. The spritely 72 year old, best known for playing Macbeth, Professor Xavier, Captain Ahab, Scrooge, Gurney Halleck, Vladimir – OK, let's just warp straight to Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
At a packed room at Wizard World Austin Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon, the great diplomat of televised science fiction (and probably the most famous Yorkshireman alive today) took to the stage with the natural grace of a 60 year veteran, and fielded questions from the audience. As has been the pattern at this convention, there's been a dearth of "So, in episode six of season three"-style nerd-snores. Instead, the half hour chat stretched from his approach to Shakespeare to his role speaking out against domestic violence.
On convention Q&A etiquette: "I can talk and walk around at the same time. You'd be amazed how many actors can't."
On well-wishers buying him food and drink in Austin: "Free drinks, free breakfast. A pattern has been established" (Just FYI, Patrick? That Laphroaig came from Austin-based international affairs expert Dan Grant.)
On loud talkers in planes: "I am a man of the people, but when it comes to air travel, to hell with the people."
To an infant being carried out screaming: "Sometimes there are people who just do not want to see you or hear you talk."
On what he liked most about Star Trek: "My friends. And you guys."
On whether the world is close to Gene Rodenberry's Utopian dream: "It is becoming a better place, no matter how much despair I feel in the morning when I open the newspaper."
On helping young men break the vicious circle of domestic violence: "Treat a 12 year old like a 16 year old, and he might just behave like one."
On the discomfort of filming Excalibur: "There is nothing like sitting on a horse in armor and the director saying the light is not quite right – and it starts raining."
On great closing questions at a convention: "Shakespeare question. Yeah!"
On his X-Men/Waiting for Godot co-star Sir Ian McKellan's advice on the "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" speech from Macbeth: "He told me, the important word is 'and.'"
On re-interpreting the Bard of Avon: "You can't hurt Shakespeare, so do what you want with it."
Wizard World Austin Comic-Con, Oct. 26-28, Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez. www.wizardworld.com/home-tx.html