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From Capt. Picard To Professor X

Patrick Stewart may have one of the most recognizable bald heads in the movie business today.

And now he gets to reprise one of the most famous bald-headed characters in comics.

The actor is best known for playing Captain Jean Luc Picard in one of the biggest franchises in television and movie history, "Star Trek." Stewart now returns to the role of another character partly known for his chrome, Professor Charles Xavier, in the sequel to "X-Men."

Stewart visited The Early Show to discuss the new movie, "X2: X-Men Unite" and the challenge of doing a sequel to a commercial success.

The classically trained Shakespearian actor said "X2" is larger in scale. "I don't know how much the studio would want me to say. But I believe the movie may have cost between $140 million and $160 million. And with promotion it may very well be the first $200 million movie."

The film will open everywhere in the world at the same time. "Which will make it the biggest single-day opening of any movie in the history of the world. Just a little bit of trivia," Stewart said.

He is confident "X2" will resonate with audiences because it continues the morality play that the first film introduced.

"X-Men" and "X2" were inspired by the comic book "X-Men," which tells the story of a school for gifted youngsters. The institution is founded by the world greatest telepath, Professor Xavier.

Children of the school are born with advance strength, mental capabilities, and other powers, and Professor Xavier tries to teach his students to control their skills while sheltering them from a world afraid of these "mutants."

A few of the students and their care-takers are chosen by the wheelchair-bound Xavier to use their powers for the greater good of mankind — fighting to protect a world that fears them.

In "X2," the X-Men must unite with their foes to combat a more dangerous enemy that threatens everyone.

Stewart says that there is seriousness about retaining the quality of the original material, and he is sure audience will be crying for more from the potential movie franchise.

Doing this movie, he said has afforded him and friend Ian McKellen, who plays Erik Lehnsherr, Magneto in "X2" and Gandolf in "The Lord Of The Rings" to work now on plays.

"Ian is doing Strindberg, I'm doing Ibsen. They're not known as big box-office writers. But that we will pull into our audience to see these plays, an audience who might otherwise never have thought have going to see Ibsen. They go to see Professor Xavier, they go to see Captain Picard; they go to see Gandolf. It doesn't matter why they come. And both Ian and I are somewhat smug about that aspect of it.

Some Facts About Patrick Stewart

  • Born in Mirfield, England, July 13, 1940
  • Stewart began acting in local theaters when he was 12
  • In 1955, Stewart worked as a reporter for the Dewsbury and District Reporter at age 15
  • In 1959, Stewart made his professional stage debut as Morgan in "Treasure Island," with the Lincoln Repertory Company
  • After year of theater work in England, Stewart made his Broadway debut in 1971 in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
  • In 1975, Stewart made his motion picture debut, as Tilner in "Hennessy"
  • In 1976, Stewart played the villainous Sejanus on the acclaimed BBC (and later PBS's "Masterpiece Theatre") television miniseries, "I, Claudius"
  • In 1981, Stewart made his return to the silver screen after six years to play a role in "Excalibur"

    In 1985, Stewart appeared in "Dune"

  • From 1987 to 1994, Stewart starred as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the Starship Enterprise, on popular syndicated sci-fi TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
  • In 1991, Stewart brought the stage performance of "A Christmas Carol" to Broadway; first Broadway work since "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
  • In 1992, Stewart made his directorial debut with a benefit performance (for Amnesty International) of "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour"; voted "Sexiest Man on TV" in a TV Guide readers poll
  • In 1996, Stewart made his U.S. television producing debut with the ABC drama "The Canterville Ghost"; he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • In 1998, Stewart was cast as Ahab in the USA Network miniseries "Moby Dick"; Stewart voiced the character of Seti for the DreamWorks animated feature "The Prince of Egypt"; Reprised role of Picard in "Star Trek: Insurrection";
  • In 1999, Stewart portrayed Scrooge in the TNT television-movie remake of "A Christmas Carol"
  • In 2001, Stewart acted opposite Mercedes Ruehl in a stage production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" at the Guthrie Theatre; Voiced King Goobot for Paramount's animated feature "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius"
  • In 2002, Stewart was executive producer and star of Old West King Lear retelling "The King of Texas" for Hallmark Entertainment and TNT; Once again, he reprised role as Picard in "Star Trek: Nemesis"
  • In 2003, Stewart was executive producer and starred as King Henry II in Showtime cable remake of "The Lion in Winter"
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