Patrick Stewart recounts why he stormed off the Star Trek: The Next Generation set in the actor's new memoir, Making It So: A Memoir. Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard from 1987 to 1994 on Star Trek: TNG and reprised the role in the subsequent theatrical movies as well as on the Paramount+ series Picard.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart's Star Trek costars Jonathan Frakes, Denise Crosby and Brent Spiner would tease Stewart or make jokes when they messed up their lines, which irritated him. “I could be a severe b—–d,” Stewart writes in his memoir. “My experiences at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre had been intense and serious … On the TNG set, I grew angry with the conduct of my peers, and that’s when I called that meeting in which I lectured the cast for goofing off and responded to Denise Crosby’s, ‘We’ve got to have some fun sometimes, Patrick’ comment by saying, ‘We are not here, Denise, to have fun.'”
Stewart continues, “In retrospect, everyone, me included, finds this story hilarious. But in the moment, when the cast erupted in hysterics at my pompous declaration, I didn’t handle it well. I didn’t enjoy being laughed at. I stormed off the set and into my trailer, slamming the door.”
Patrick Stewart's TNG Costars Helped Loosen Him Up on Set
After Stewart angrily left the Star Trek: TNG set, costars Frakes and Spiner helped diffuse the situation. They visited Stewart in his trailer for a friendly chat during which Spiner said, “People respect you, but I think you misjudged the situation here.” Stewart recalls:
“He and Jonathan acknowledged that yes, there was too much goofing around and that it needed to be dialed back. But they also made it clear how off-putting it was — and not a case study in good leadership — for me to try to resolve the matter by lecturing and scolding the cast. I had failed to read the room, imposing RSC behavior on people accustomed to the ways of episodic television — which was, after all, what we were shooting.”
In addition to stories from the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stewart discusses his romantic life, decades in British theater, experience on the X-Men series, and his friendship with frequent costar Ian McKellen in his new memoir. “Absolutely nothing is made up,” Stewart tells The Hollywood Reporter about the book. “Not at all. It’s all for real. And I must say, surprised about how many recollections I had and how vividly some of the recollections were experienced.”
Making It So: A Memoir is available today in a print edition as well as an audiobook read by Stewart.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.