How Patrick Stewart has fought typecasting for 50 years
Almost every review of Jeremy Saulnier’s new thriller Green Room — most of which, including EW‘s, are raves — take time to point out that the central villain of the punks-versus-neo-Nazis conflict is none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, gleefully playing against type.
The grain against which white supremacist leader Darcy Banker goes against is that of the wise and noble leader of extraordinary individuals, a role that Stewart has called home since the late ’80s. But the classically trained actor has some news for Star Trek and X-Men diehards.
“The roles of Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier have dominated my work and have helped to create an impression of who Patrick Stewart is,” the actor told EW. “It ain’t accurate.”
But the problem of typecasting isn’t a new one for Stewart. During his early days with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in which he was a regular from the late ’60s until the early ’80s, Stewart was “first choice low comic,” meaning he got all of the fool and clown roles. That eventually changed, leading to a series of roles as “disturbed rulers and kings” and then onto “neurotic, self-obsessed men of hysterics.”
“All my life I’ve been typecast,” Stewart said. “It’s just that the types keep changing.”
So it wasn’t necessarily a surprise to Stewart when the industry tried to move him to a different — and perhaps more lucrative — pigeon hole, and still, almost 30 years after he first played Captain Jean-Luc Picard and 15 years after the beginning of his stint as Professor X, he’s regularly offered “lots of captains of starships and leaders of extraterrestrials.”
That all could change with the role of neo-Nazi leader Darcy Banker, a character who couldn’t be further from the Stewart we’ve come to know. Stewart is quick to clarify that he’d never take a role just to go against type, but if Hollywood takes notice, all the better. “If roles like Darcy help to broaden the vision of those directors and producers and agents that might send me scripts,” he said, “then I’m very content with that.”