Patrick Stewart raves about ‘sensational’ Louvre Abu Dhabi

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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
Updated 10 December 2017
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Patrick Stewart raves about ‘sensational’ Louvre Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Legendary actor Patrick Stewart, known for iconic roles in some of film’s biggest franchises and his years in British theater, raved about his experience at the Louvre Abu Dhabi while on stage at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
“We went to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and if you have yet to see it — I know it’s only been open for a little more than three weeks — it’s sensational,” Stewart said. “The collection is good, but the way it is organized is what makes it unique — unlike any other gallery or museum I’ve been in.”
Stewart also had kind words about his third visit in the UAE, and the one in which he has been able to finally establish personal connections with the people of the country.
“There is such kindness, such generosity, such welcoming and modesty. We’ve enjoyed it immensely.”
Stewart is himself beloved audiences across the world for his portrayals of Captain Jean Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its subsequent films and Professor Charles Xavier of the “X-Men” film franchise.
A final goodbye, and a possible return
Earlier this year, Stewart portrayed Charles Xavier for the final time in “Logan” (2017), which was also the swan song for Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. It was not until he finally saw the film on the big screen that he knew that this was the end, he told an enraptured DIFF audience.
“Hugh and I were sitting side by side and we were so moved by the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film. I still find it hard to watch the last 20 minutes. As the credits rolled, as Hugh gripped my hand, which he had taken about halfway through, as he was emotional as I was, I thought that there couldn’t be a better ‘au revoir’ to Charles Xavier than what I had witnessed. This was the perfect farewell to this franchise. At the next morning’s press conference, I announced, ‘me too, I’m done’.”
While Stewart has said his final goodbyes to X-Men, he also opened the door to returning to his other most famous role. It’s been more than 15 years since Stewart last played Star Trek’s beloved Captain Picard on the big screen. When the film series rebooted with a new cast and direction, many gave up hope that they would ever see the legendary actor helm the USS Enterprise again.
Stewart was quoted as late as Dec. 5 2017 saying he would never return to Star Trek. Now, something has changed his mind.
“I’ve recently heard whispers that a certain person by the name of Quentin Tarantino might be looking at some Star Trek ideas,” Stewart said “It seems improbable, doesn’t it? There’s no director on earth — yes I’d love to work with Steven Spielberg — but Tarantino is my hero. I so want to be in one of his movies. If he were to take a Tarantino-esque view of Star Trek, that might be interesting. I only recently heard these whispers.”
He would not, however, offer Tarantino any advice on how to approach the franchise.
“From my mouth, not a word. When there are masters around, I’m not going to dabble in directing. I’m going to let them get on with it. Hope they cast me!”
A look back at his younger self
Stewart was open, candid and personal with the Dubai audience, telling stories from his childhood and detailing his moments of self-doubt and the challenges he has faced in his years as an actor.
“My home life was chaotic and at times dangerous, but the stage, I found, from the moment I stepped onto it, was the safest place I had ever been,” Stewart said about his life growing up in a poor area in England. “This was for a number of reasons, none of which I knew at the time, but of course because of high class extensive therapy in Los Angeles, I know now what was going on.”
“In a play, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is planned out, and rehearsed,” Stewart went on. “There is no chaos. There are not any surprises. It is all known and predictable. Also, on stage, I was not being Patrick Stewart, of whom I didn’t have a particularly high opinion. I was someone else. I so much more enjoyed being someone else than being Patrick Stewart. It’s something of a confession, but I have to say, I still feel the same way about what I do.”
The cinema was also a place for Stewart to escape, when he was young. “The houselights would come up and it was over, and I had to quickly struggle to wipe away my tears before I got up and went into the street. I didn’t want to go back there.”
The movie that changed his life was On the Waterfront (1954), which portrayed poverty much like that he grew up in.
“I didn’t know people made movies about me or families like mine. The world that those poor people in those tenements inhabited in On the Waterfront was not very far from my world. That’s when I had the enlightenment that cinema can also be about a world that is not fantasy, that is real and dark and painful and troubling. That was an important night in my life.”
Stewart finished with a plea to the audience to learn from the mistakes he made in his career by being too afraid to fail.
“I was actually hiding for years and years, hiding because I was either afraid or didn’t believe that I had anything personal to contribute. I always listened to everybody else,” Stewart confessed.
Stewart only stopped being afraid of failure 15-20 years ago, he said.
“Now, I am so fascinated by acting as a process of inner revelation, of the emotions and feelings being my own. I’m excited about anything that anybody asks me to do, because I can explore even further this personal, private, inner life, which I can share.”


WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

Updated 25 April 2018
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WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

  • Al-Oula is a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty
  • WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution

Jeddah: The children of Al-Oula –- a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty –- had the most thrilling school trip as they came to see World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars Mojo Rawley and Mark Henry in King Abdullah stadium on Tuesday.
The stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution and softened up as they shared stories from their childhood and introduced their anti-bullying campaign “Be a Star.”
The stars shared personal stories and the difficulties they have faced.
Dean Muhtadi, 31, better known by his ring name Mojo Rawley, told the children: “We are different in many ways but sometimes you have to focus on the similarities and positive aspects of others.”
Mark Henry, 46, opened up about his past: “When I was young people would call me names and were mean to me, so I decided to become the strongest person in the world.
“I won three world championships in three different world countries that had nothing to do with each other and I am very proud of myself for not letting the mean comments get to my head.”
Henry was world heavyweight champion, and is also a two-time Olympian and a gold medalist at the Pan American Games.
Later the children had the chance to talk directly with the stars. Rawley is originally Palestinian, so he spoke in Arabic with some of the children.
Henry told one of the students: “If someone is troubling you, don’t give them the satisfaction of letting the comments or actions affect you, and immediately tell your teacher or your parents or any adult, and they will help you through your problems.”
The children then took pictures and were given tickets to the WWE Royal Rumble show on Friday.
“Jeddah is a very family-friendly and a culture-loving city, so I love being here,” Henry told Arab News. “The only difference is the language. Apart from that everyone is very nice and warm.”
On the Royal Rumble, he said: “Get ready for the best entertainment you have ever seen with your own eyes.”
“For someone who comes from an Arab background, this is a historic achievement and it will be remembered for ever,” Rawley said in an interview with Arab News.
“When I first found out that we agreed to a ten-year partnership, it was the coolest thing to find out.
“I am very fortunate to be a part of this long-term partnership which will give the citizens a long time to understand and give us enough time to develop our brand here in Saudi Arabia.
“Last year the show in Riyadh was a small, non-televised show but it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, so I am very excited to perform in this grand-scale show. It’s going to be an amazing show. It will rival Wrestle Mania, which is the biggest event of the year.”
Jana Marwan, a nine-year-old student, said: “Everyone told us that the wrestlers were scary but they weren’t. In fact they were very friendly. They taught us how to look out for ourselves and I had so much fun. I am thankful to them.”