Logan wasn't just the swan song for Hugh Jackman's iconic portrayal of Wolverine, but also the finale for the first generation of mutants on the big screen. This was highlighted by the inclusion of an aging Professor Xavier (Sir #PatrickStewart), who was past his prime and the only living remnant of the X-Men, aside from the titular character. As integral as Professor X was to Logan's final ride, Sir Patrick Stewart actually had some doubts regarding his final turn as the X-Men's benevolent leader.
Sir Patrick Stewart's Typecasting Woes:
During an interview with The Mirror, Stewart revealed his initial hesitations in reprising the role of Charles Xavier. His concerns arose when Sir Patrick Stewart realized that the performance could lead to being typecast for future roles.
Stewart: "There might have been moments before 'Logan' when I thought, ‘If I do this and I really go for it, am I only going to get cast as geriatrics from now on?’ I am not quite there yet! Will people say, ‘Oh, no, we can’t have him playing a healthy, fit individual. He is just too weak and frail and old.'"
Stewart's concerns are not unfounded, because many actors who are senior citizens are often typecast as geriatrics who have either become senile or are no longer independent citizens. The only variation this typecast allows for is through comedy.
One such case is the 73-year old Robert de Niro, whose most recent roles include a 70-year old office intern (The Intern), a party-going army veteran (Dirty Grandpa), and an aging comedian (The Insult). Despite his illustrious, award-winning acting career that saw him portray a violent vigilante (Taxi Driver), a boxer (Raging Bull), and numerous gangsters (Casino, The Godfather: Part II, Mean Streets), De Niro has been relegated to roles that focus on his age. Although some will argue that De Niro is simply playing characters his own age, it's important to note that the inclusion of these character is often a major part of the film's storyline. For example, here's the official synopsis for The Intern.
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin. (IMDb)
Continuing this trend, De Niro's next movie is literally titled The War With Grandpa, where he plays the titular grandfather.
Stewart ultimately decided to follow his ambitions and take on the role once again. Despite the possibility that he could end up solely playing geriatric roles, the 76-year-old Stewart gave his iconic turn as Xavier a grand finale that fans will never forget.
Stewart: Screw it! It was so much fun. This role [Professor Xavier] intrigued me... Then when I met James Mangold and found that he too really wanted to push into the depths of Charles’s distress and despair and confusion and anger and fury – as well as his unpredictability – I was all for it.
Stewart also revealed that he filmed Logan almost immediately after completing research for a stage play where he plays another senior citizen alongside Sir Ian McKellen, who famously played Magneto alongside Stewart. For his theater performance, Stewart collaborated with famed neurologist Oliver Sacks to pin down his character's dementia.
This collaboration proved to be useful for Logan, as Professor Xavier also suffers from a form of dementia, turning him into one of the world's deadliest super-weapons. Though he still bears the same name, Charles is a shadow of his former self and has been suffering from the ravages of time - a major theme in Logan.
Logan was highly regarded by critics and fans alike, and the movie owes a lot to both Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart for their fantastic performances. As bittersweet as the movie was, Stewart still found something genuinely enjoyable while working on Logan.
Stewart: I enjoyed every aspect of it, particularly given that I was going to be sharing almost all of my time with Hugh.
This month, Sir Patrick Stewart is set to lend his voice as 'the poop emoji' in Sony Pictures Animation's The Emoji Movie, so it's safe to say that the acting legend hasn't been typecast just yet.
What are your thoughts on Sir Patrick Stewart's performance in Logan? Share your thoughts in the comments below.