Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, celebrated for their remarkable chemistry as Professor X and Magneto in the “X-Men” film series, have shared a friendship dating back to the 1970s when they collaborated at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In Patrick Stewart’s recently published memoir, “Making It So,” he delves into the evolution of their friendship over the years, highlighting moments such as Ian McKellen officiating his wedding in 2013.
Patrick Stewart, known for his role in “Star Trek,” also reminisces about a period when he and Ian McKellen had a difference of opinion regarding Stewart’s choice to transition from the stage to television.
In his memoir, 83-year-old Stewart reveals that in 1987, he had a conversation with the “Lord of the Rings” star when he was on the verge of accepting the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Stewart recounts in his memoir that McKellen made an effort to convince him not to commit to the series.
“When I told him I was going to sign the contract, he almost bodily prevented me from doing so,” Stewart reveals. “‘No!’ he said. ‘No, you must not do that. You must not. You have too much important theater work to do. You can’t throw that away to do TV. You can’t. No!‘”
Stewart continues by expressing his immense trust in McKellen, acknowledging that their friendship runs deep. Nevertheless, he firmly believed that accepting the “Star Trek” role was the correct decision.
“There are few people, particularly with regard to acting, whose counsel I trust more than Ian’s,” writes Stewart. “But this time I had to tell him that I felt theater would return to my life whenever I was ready for it, whereas an offer of the lead role in an American TV series might never come again.”
“Ian shook his head sadly, as if I were enlisting in the army, but, nevertheless, wished me good luck and gave me a big hug,” he adds.
In his memoir, Stewart mentions that McKellen has since acknowledged his mistake in advising against Stewart’s decision to join “Star Trek.”
“In the years since, we have become dear pals and ‘X-Men’ colleagues, and Ian has acknowledged that he was wrong and I was right,” he writes. “More than once, in fact – primarily because I like making him say those words.”