WASHINGTON (March 27, 2014) — A commanding actor, vocal activist and social media sensation, Sir Patrick Stewart is a force of light–but that hasn’t always been the case. After a harsh childhood marked by poverty and abuse, Patrick Stewart is finally ready to conquer the shadows of his early years. Set to reprise the role of Professor Charles Xavier in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” this May, the thespian sat down with AARP The Magazine to discuss how he banished his demons by fighting for battered women and veterans—and his amazing journey to the Captain’s chair.
The following are excerpts from the April/May issue of the AARP The Magazine cover story featuring Sir Patrick Stewart, available in homes today and online NOW at www.aarp.org/magazine.
On opening himself up to the world after a difficult childhood:
“I have been inclined to be solitary in huge chunks of my life. I don’t think that’s a good thing anymore. I think the interaction of being with people, especially people you like, is very important for keeping you sharp, alert, active, connected.”
“For years a part of my acting suffered because I was not prepared to embrace rage. I said I couldn’t do it.”
On growing up in poverty:
“Some of my earliest memories are of when a bill collector came to the door. My mother and I would hide behind the sofa and pretend we weren’t in. I thought that was a great game.”
Sir Ian McKellen on their friendship:
“In Yorkshire [Patrick’s hometown] they tend to be blunt…Patrick is indeed straightforward. This helps his acting be crystal clear. But underneath, his nature is a very sweet one. And we spend much of our time laughing.”
Sir Ian McKellen on sharing a dressing room with Stewart during the production of Waiting for Godot:
“We were always in separate beds!”
On turning to the theater:
“I found the stage a very safe place to be. Everything is predictable when you’re in a play. Because of the chaos in my life, I loved the certainty-and the opportunity to become somebody else and not myself…I discovered I had an instinct for it.”
On raising his children while acting:
“I was an absentee father a lot of the time. I worked continually. I did the best I could, but I missed many bedtime stories and kisses good night.”
On embracing his dark past:
“I realized I could use those feelings and not only would nothing bad happen, but quite good things might happen.”
On finally having money:
“During the second Star Trek season, I bought a new car, excitedly drove it onto the lot, and all the other cast members asked, ‘What did you get?’ I said, ‘A Honda!’ They all threw up their arms and rolled their eyes.”
X-Men Director Bryan Singer on choosing Stewart:
“I felt the patriarchal character of the X-Men universe needed to be anchored in a strong actor. Patrick’s got a lot of gravitas on-screen, and he fit the physical type of the character in the comic book, who wore his baldness well.”
On his work with battered women’s campaigns:
“I do it for my mother, because I couldn’t help her back then.”
On embracing both of his parents’ legacy:
“I work with Refuge for my mother, and I support Combat Stress for my father.”
For the complete interview, along with behind the scenes video, check out http://www.aarp.org/magazine/.
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About AARP The Magazine
With more than 35.2 million readers, AARP The Magazine is the world's largest circulation magazine and the definitive lifestyle publication for Americans 50+. AARP The Magazine delivers comprehensive content through health and fitness features, financial guidance, consumer interest information and tips, celebrity interviews, and book and movie reviews. AARP The Magazine was founded in 1958 and is published bimonthly in print and continually online. Learn more at www.aarpmagazine.org.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more atwww.aarp.org.