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Interview with Patrick Stewart

Aired May 29, 2002 - 06:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Many people know Patrick Stewart best from all those "Star" -- "Star Trek" roles in the movies and on TV. Well forget all about that, he's now the "King of Texas" in a new film to air Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern Time, 5:00 Pacific on our sister network TNT. And he joins us life from New York this morning -- good morning.

PATRICK STEWART, "KING OF TEXAS": Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: So tell me about the "King of Texas," what's it about?

STEWART: It's based on Shakespeare's story of "King Lear," but that's where the Shakespeare connection ends. We have a brand new script, which has updated it, and set it in Texas in 1841 during the time that Texas was an independent republic and Sam Houston was president. But instead of a kingdom of Britain, we have a vast, many, many thousand acre ranch ruled over by this tyrannical, domineering, ambitious old man who has three daughters to divide the ranch up.

COSTELLO: And that happens to be -- and that happens to be you in the movie, huh?

STEWART: Yes. Yes, reluctantly -- initially me -- I -- my wife and I are executive producers of the movie and I had developed this for another actor. But over a period of time, I was persuaded that I should think about doing the role myself. And well it was finally a very, very good experience. And I'd always felt that perhaps playing a cowboy was a little bit beyond my range, but this was a wonderful opportunity.

COSTELLO: I know that voice of yours, how do you make it sound old west style?

STEWART: Well I was playing on Broadway in an Arthur Miller play, "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan," and I was playing a New York Jewish businessman. And I had a dialect coach here so I worked with her on the accent. But on the film we had the legendary Robert Easton, who has been a dialect coach in Hollywood for 50 years, and Robert is from Texas. And he was with us on the film for the first four weeks working with all the cast, of course, because I think with the exception of Marcia Gay Harden, who is a Texan, we all needed coaching.

COSTELLO: I know you have some great people in this movie besides yourself, of course. Marcia Gay Harden, as you said, Lauren Holly, Roy Scheider -- wow!

STEWART: David Alan Grier, Patrick Bergen, Colm Meaney, also, by the way, from "Star Trek." Yes, it's an -- it's an extraordinary cast. As producers, we were very blessed when we found again and again that our first choice actor for any particular role was the actor that we got. You know that so rarely happens. So it's a wonderful ensemble of 12 or 13 marvelous actors.

COSTELLO: It's funny how the plays of Shakespeare are so easily translated into any time period.

STEWART: Well you know, he was a great story teller, and I've always believed that story telling is the fundamental element of all great drama whether it's film or television, stage, radio. And although most of his stories, of course he stole from somebody else, but he had a way of shaping them so that they are -- they are eminently watchable, and in this way we stuck very, very carefully to Shakespeare's very own narrative.

COSTELLO: Got you. I want to quickly ask you about the next "Star Trek" movie. There is a final one out there.

STEWART: Sure.

COSTELLO: It has not been released, but can you tell us a little bit about that?

STEWART: Well, Carol, I'm interested that you should say it's a final one. It sounds though you know more than I do about this, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COSTELLO: I don't.

STEWART: Well, yes, it's called "Star Trek Nemesis," and it will be in theaters November or December. I don't think we have a release date yet. It's the 10th in succession and "The Next Generation's" 4th film. And I think it's going to be a very, very nice movie.

COSTELLO: Can you say "make it so" for us?

STEWART: For you, Carol, well you know what, well I'll say make it so perhaps as John Lear might have said it.

COSTELLO: OK.

STEWART: Make it so, Carol.

COSTELLO: Thank you very much, you're a lot of fun, Patrick Stewart.

STEWART: You're very welcome.

COSTELLO: And "King of Texas" airs Sunday, June 2, at 8:00 on TNT.

Thanks for joining us this morning. STEWART: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Love it.

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