Patrick Stewart’s role as Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise is legendary, but the veteran actor has changed his approach significantly after playing the sci-fi icon in film and television for decades.
In an interview with Deadline, Stewart shares how he’s evolved the way he tackles Starfleet in Picard, noting that he’s bringing much more himself to the character than he did during his Next Generation days.
“My approach to my work has undergone significant changes in the last few years,. And it has changed and developed because I’ve come to trust Patrick Stewart more than I used to and find that my instincts, my impulses, my feelings and emotions are authentic.
Jean-Luc Picard is Patrick Stewart, and I am him. There is no separation anymore. I used my life continually when we were shooting Season Two and Three of Picard, and I’m no longer afraid of doing that, which at one time in my career I would have been. But not anymore. I feel I have something to say, and I can only say it through the performances that I give.”
Stewart played Picard in The Next Generation for seven seasons, and in four subsequent Star Trek movies, and he was quite a different man in those days. He was the confident leader who always took the mission and the safety of his crew very seriously, and this often meant that he could be stubborn and distant with people because of all the responsibilities he had to carry.
In Picard, Jean-Luc is in a different stage in his life. Season 1 starts with him essentially in retirement and living in the idyllic Château Picard until he’s pulled back into space to solve the mystery of Data’s daughters, who were created by fractal neuronic cloning. He’s softened up quite a bit, too, and is willing to confide and rely on his newfound crew more than ever before.
Looking ahead, The Next Generation cast is set to reunite for season 3, so it’ll be interesting to see how much they’ve changed since they were last together.
Picard season 2 is streaming on Paramount Plus.