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Patrick Stewart dishes from the ''Nemesis'' set

His buzz hints at a new direction for the latest ”Star Trek” film

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Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart: Elliott Marks

After steering the USS Enterprise through deep space as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard for 14 years, Patrick Stewart is the last guy you’d expect to get excited about a little hot-rodding. Surprise. ”I get to drive a futuristic off-road vehicle,” beams Stewart, who burns rubber in ”Star Trek: Nemesis,” due in theaters late this year. ”And I mean really drive it. I have the kind of fun that’s usually reserved only for racing drivers.”

The car was built for a ”very important sequence” early in the film. ”We spent the first two weeks out in [California’s Mojave] desert up near Edwards Air Force Base,” says Stewart. ”It’s a wild desert. Perfect for this action sequence.” Turns out Stewart, a racing hobbyist, knows what he’s talking about: ”I have a 10-year-old Jaguar XJS, which I’m very fond of. But I never get to go quite as fast as Picard.”

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