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.”


Not allowed, even for a yokozuna: Sumo champ Hakuho dressed down for ‘3 cheers’

Updated 54 min 38 sec ago
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Not allowed, even for a yokozuna: Sumo champ Hakuho dressed down for ‘3 cheers’

  • The three bouts of rhythmic hand-clapping did not go down well with the highly-ritualized sport’s governing body
  • The popular Hakuho, born Munkhbat Davaajargal, has earned praise for helping restore dignity to sumo

TOKYO: Mongolian sumo grand champion Hakuho has been reprimanded for leading the crowd in an impromptu round of hand-clapping after winning a tournament last month, a spokeswoman for the ancient sport said Thursday.
The 34-year-old “Yokozuna” — or grand champion — received a dressing-down from top officials after what Hakuho described as a “spur-of-the-moment act” he did “to make spectators happy.”
But the three bouts of rhythmic hand-clapping, equivalent to “three cheers,” did not go down well with the highly-ritualized sport’s governing body, the Japan Sumo Association (JSA).
JSA chairman Hakkaku said in a statement “I told Hakuho that I wanted him to observe sumo’s tradition, discipline, courtesy and stylistic beauty as a Yokozuna.”
The spokeswoman declined to give a precise reason for the reprimand but public broadcaster NHK noted that the hand-clapping came before the traditional ceremony that usually concludes a sumo tournament.
She said the hulking Mongolian had been given an “oral reprimand,” the lightest punishment in the governing body’s armory but also noted he had received a warning previously in 2017 for similar actions.
The popular Hakuho, born Munkhbat Davaajargal, has earned praise for helping restore dignity to sumo following a series of scandals that have tarnished the reputation of a sport said to date back some 2,000 years.
But he is not without his critics among staunch sumo traditionalists, who dislike his wild wrestling style and occasional protests against judges.
Hakuho’s stablemaster, sumo elder Miyagino, was hit with a stiffer penalty of a 10-percent salary cut for three months, for neglecting his leadership duties, the JSA spokeswoman said.
Sumo has taken a battering in recent years — from allegations of bout-fixing and the involvement of organized crime to drugs arrests and severe bullying, the most serious case resulting in the death of a teenage wrestler in 2007.
Yokozuna Harumafuji was charged over a brutal assault on a rival wrestler while out drinking in 2017, ending his illustrious career.
The sport was plunged into further controversy last year when women who rushed to the aid of a local mayor who had collapsed during a speech were repeatedly told to leave the ring, sparking a flurry of embarrassing headlines.
The punishment comes as local media reported Hakuho has applied for Japanese citizenship — a requirement of all foreign wrestlers wishing to become sumo elders.
The move was seen as an indication of Hakuho’s intention to remain in the sumo world after he eventually retires.