Sir Patrick Stewart, born July 13, 1940, is a living legend for fans of just about every genre. He is best known for such iconic roles as Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, but in his wildly diverse portfolio, he has also provided his velvet voice to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and TMNT.
His genre roles extend to Dune and Lifeforce, but my absolute favorite has to be Green Room. He blends in perfectly and embraces the harrowing tone of the film, showing us a side of Stewart we haven’t seen before.
Stewart’s performance as Darcy breathes a calm intensity. There is a quiet and tense physical communication. We see it in his stern and tired expression. He doesn’t pontificate like most villains – thanks to Jeremy Saulnier’s rock-solid script – and he truly doesn’t need to in order to get his point across.
Stewart commands respect in every role (who else could get away with playing Poop in The Emoji Movie?), but in Green Room, the respect granted to Darcy is unshakable. He has a powerful hold over his group of followers – they do whatever he asks without hesitation.
There is no remorse for the fate of the young punk rockers – they are simply collateral damage. Darcy’s reserve is unsettling and he is frightening in his indifference.
That being said, Darcy is not a psychotic monster. He is deeply human with his own complexities and motivations, forced to facilitate an unexpected clean-up. He has total control of the situation, and every coaxing word he says to The Ain’t Rights is designed to maintain that control.
Green Room may be Stewart’s first real foray into horror (aside from smaller roles in Lifeforce and The Doctor and the Devils), but he proves that a truly skilled actor can master any genre. Although there is nothing to disguise his appearance – aside from the beard – he is virtually unrecognizable.
With such a dark movie, Stewart’s seamless performance has us all shook. This type of role is a whole different ball game, but he absolutely knocks it out of the park.
In both Green Room and Logan, Stewart transforms in dramatically different ways. Logan sees Charles Xavier as a frail and damaged shell of the mighty mutant he once was. Stewart’s portrayal of this change in character is heartbreaking. In an ultra-violent film, he is the heart and soul of the action (and – because the man has range – occasionally the comedic relief).
Stewart is hardly thought of as a genre film actor, but his impeccable contributions to various niche projects have been a gift to us all. In a world of hokey B-moves and overacting, we can always rely on Patrick Stewart to brings a gravitas to every role that is simply unparalleled.
His willingness to explore different characters (again, Poop) means that we get to enjoy his thespian genius across different genres. So, today, on his birthday, let’s toast this wonderful gem of a man, and pray that he spends a bit more time in horror.
Check out the trailer for Green Room here!
Featured image via Screen Anarchy