Sir Patrick Stewart
- Glyn Houston, Doctor Who (#87: The Hand of Fear), 1976. A long time Who fan (also of Monty Python and Red Dwarf), Stewart was delighted to be short-listed for Professor Watson....
- Paul Jerrico, Doctor Who (#123: Arc of Infinity), 1983. ...and again for The Castellan seven years later. His sf time would come. As Captain Jean-Luc Picard - in Star Trek: The Next Generation, TV, 1987-1994. Stewart played the father of the tenth Doctor Who, David Tennant, in Hamlet, 2009.
- Roscoe Lee Browne, Oliver & Company, 1987. Francis, the learned English bulldog in the animalia Oliver Twist, was the first voicing gig offered to the latest stately Brit in town. Just as Jason Isaacs used to be seen for every TV pilot, Stewart’s Shakesperean tones were Disney-desired for the next decade’s entire toon output. Read on…
- Kenneth Mars, The Little Mermaid, 1989. Maybe he would prefer a royal. Like King Triton. Apparently, the Disney suits were nuts about his Captain Jean-Luc Picard, helming the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1987-1994.
- David Ogden Stiers, Beauty and the Beast, 1990. And that was the hassle, the Star Trek and X-Men franchises prevented such jobs as voicing Cogsworth, and the narrator (aka Big Ben in the French lingo version). The rôle had been penned for John Cleese.
- Richard Dreyfuss, What About Bob? 1990. For his Touchstone comedy, director Frank Oz first Stewart to be Bill Murray’s shrink: the very macho sounding Leo Marvin… but with kids named Sigmund and Anna. Next? Woody Allen. But Woody wouldn’t agree to be Bill Murray’s anything! (Dreyfuss and Murray didn’t get along, either).
- Jonathan Freeman, Aladdin, 1991. Of all the Disney roles Stewart had to miss, this was “my biggest regret.” Others up for Jafar, our hero’s foe, the Sultan’s evil vizier, were Tim Curry, Kesley Grammer, John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd, and Stewart’s future X-Men co-star, Ian McKellen. Channeling Boris Karloff with Vincent Price, Freeman remained in Jafar mode for the next 20 years of sequels and video games.
- Ed(ward) Ivory, The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1992. Stewart and an ailing Vincent Price were up for voicing Santa in the toon version of Tim Burton’s poem written when he was a Disney animator in the 80s. Henry Selick directed as Burton was tied up with Batman Returns and Ed Wood to come.
- Rowan Atkinson, The Lion King, 1993. Also in the mix to voice Zazu in the 32nd Disney toon - Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa! - were Stewart, Chris Barrie, Simon Callow, David Jason, Spike Milligan, Vic Reeves. Plus various UK comedy giants: Peter Cook and Dudley Moore; The Two Ronnies: Barker and Ronnie Corbett; The Goodies: Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Odie; and the Monty Pythons: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin.
- David Ogden Stiers, Pocahontas, 1994. Six Brits v two Yanks to voice were Governor Ratcliffe. They were: Brian Blessed, Brian Cox, Rupert Everett, Stephen Fry, and a couple of sf icons: Norman (Red Dwarf) Lovett and Star Trek’s Stewart… v Stiers and Richard White. Finally, DOS played not only Ratcliffe but also his manservant, Wiggins. Like Michael Caine playing Batman and Alfred!
- Tony Jay, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1995. Once again, mission impossible. Fellow Brits Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen were also up for Ferollo – until directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale went back to their loved deep-voiced Monsieur D’Arque from Beauty and the Beast, 1990.
- Jim Broadbent, Richard III, 1995. Stewart passed on Ian McKellen’s modernisation of Shakespeare. Both (multi) winners of London’s Laurence Olivier award, they joined up for the X-Men series, 1999-2005.
- Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. Hollywood goes Who. Why? For the pilot of a USeries to exhume the BBC science-fiction cult, buried since running out of puff after 26 seasons in 1989. As if to prove this was big deal LA in action (!), some 63 actors were listed for Doc8 and a further 71 (well, some were on both lists) for his foe, The Master. Again, being Hollywood, the list included all the local sf icons. Star Trek’s Data, Riker, Worf, Archer, Picard, aka Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Scott Bakula and Stewart.
- Rip Torn, Hercules, 1996. Stewart, James Belushi, John Goodman, Gregory Peck were in the Zeus loop. Apart from Peck, they all went on to supply voices for other Disney characters. For example, after losing Aladdin and The Lion King roles due to Star Trek, etc, Stewart was finally able to go where no man had gone before and become Mr Woolensworth in (alas!) the paltry poultry pic, Chicken Little, 2004. And The Great Prince (much better) in Bambi II, 2005. Top billing, too.
- Christopher Lloyd, Anastasia, 1997. Stewart and two other Brits - Tim Curry and Jonathan Pryce - were also up for voicing the mad Russian monk, Rasputin. But Back To The Future’s Doc Brown beat Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard, Dr Frank-N-Furter (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Brazil’s Sam Lowry.
- Christopher Lloyd, My Favourite Martian, 1998. A Martian makes a visit - and friends with Jeff Daniels’s reporter. There goes the neighbourhood (title of aother Daniels’ movie, circa 1992). The five possibilityies for “Uncle Martin” were Michael Douglas, Charlton Heston (!), Bill Murray (a tad obvious), Martin Sheen - and Star Trek’s latest skipper.
- Brian Blessed, Clayton, Tarzan, 1998. With Stewart as ever overly occupied, Clayton went to another boisterous Yorkshireman. (As per recently usual, Ian McKellen was also in the frame). Blessed (who also supplied the ape man’s yell) once declared that this booming villain was one of his two favourite roles. T’other being his six chapters as King Richard IV opposite Rowan Atkinson’s Black Adder, TV, 1983.
- Tom Hardy, Star Trek: Nemesis, 2002. At one point, arch villain Prator Shinzon of Remus was to be a clone of Captain Picard, with Stewart in both roles. However, the SFX budget was already stretched enough... on digitally removing Jonathan Frakes back hair for a the honeymoon love scene!
- Anthony Head, Little Britain, TV, 2003-2006. Stewart topped the producers’ lists for the UK Prime Minister, but one of the comedy series star duo, David Walliams - who played the PM’s toadying, gay assistant, Sebastian - voted for Head. “Because next to Steve Martin, he’s the only man I'll ever turn gay for.”
- Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004. Picard was among the Willy Wonka choices. Hardly surprising as he became a great chum of director Tim Burton while working on the (much cut) narration of The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993. Also on Tim’s wish list: One ole Beetlejuice Michael Keaton, three Monty Pythons - John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin - plus Rowan Atkinson, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Steve Martin, Will Smith, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken, Robin Williams. Depp said his Willy, as it were, was “part Howard Hughes-reclusive, part 1970s glamorous rock star.” No wonder Marilyn Manson fancied it.Jeremy Irons, Eragon, 2005. Like his fellow knight, Sir Ian McKellan, Stewart was not free for novelist Christopher Paolini’s fantasy characters due to shooting X-Men: The Last Stand.
- Jeremy Irons, Eragon, 2005. Like his fellow knight, Sir Ian McKellan, Stewart was not free for novelist Christopher Paolini’s fantasy characters due to shooting X-Men: The Last Stand.
- Chevy Chase, Community, TV, 2009-2014. An odd substitute for the mighty Stewart as a rich, retired entrepreneur, Chase lasted 85 of the 97 episodes… and surprised us all by his best work, a highly nuanced portrait of Pierce Hawthorne.
- Kenneth Cranham, Maleficent, 2012. Change of King Henry’s bottom on the throne in Disney’s live-action take on the Charles Perrault fairy tale. Not released until 2014.