Stewart Happy to Be Franchise Actor

Patrick Stewart is happy to be a franchise player -- twice over.

In "Star Trek: Nemesis," opening Friday, Stewart makes his fourth big-screen journey as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, the role he played for seven seasons on TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Next summer brings Stewart's second outing as boss of a gang of noble mutants who use their superhero powers to benefit humanity, in "X-Men 2."

Considering the typecasting that can result from "Star Trek" or other sci-fi and action franchises, Stewart initially wondered whether "I really wanted to have a second albatross" when offered the "X-Men" role.

Ultimately, as an actor who started out earning $10 a week and now heads up two profitable movie series, he figured the more franchises, the better.

"It was great to find myself the captain of the flagship of the Federation but also the guru of a school for mutants and leader of the mutant civilization, at least the benevolent side of the civilization," Stewart said this week in an interview with The Associated Press.

The 62-year-old actor and his "X-Men" castmates are under a gag order about the plot of next summer's sequel.

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