Sir Patrick Stewart Had A Funny Motivation To Play Merlin In The Kid Who Would Be King

Patrick Stewart in The Kid Who Would Be King

One never knows, for certain, why actors take specific roles. Timing and scheduling play in. Motivation, or a dramatic challenge, could be a factor. When it comes to Sir Patrick Stewart and his new film, The Kid Who Would Be King, it appears the man who has played mutants and ship captains was having Wizard Envy! When we spoke with the cast of Joe Cornish’s new film, Stewart opened up about what when through his mind when he was asked to play Merlin on screen, and the thespian admitted:

I was thrilled, because I thought I had been overlooked in the wizard stakes. My friends Ian McKellen and Michael Gambon were having great success playing wizards. So I was relieved that I’m joining a rather distinguished group of actors. And it was great fun!

Imagine Sir Patrick Stewart – he with at least two legendary film franchises on his resume – looking longingly at his pals Michael Gambon and Sir Ian McKellen and wondering, “When will I get my chance to cast a spell?”

Gambon, of course, stepped into the robes of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise. That role is now occupied by Jude Law in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series. As for Ian McKellen, he has reprised the role of Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s various J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations, first with The Lord of the Rings and continuing with The Hobbit.

Patrick Stewart tackles a different role in The Kid Who Would Be King. He plays one version of the famous wizard Merlin, who returns to assist a young boy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) after the kid pulls Excalibur from a stone. Stewart also gets to share the role with Angus Imrie, as Merlin will often change his age and appearance at the drop of a sneeze. It’s really something to behold!

Speaking of age, I was able to bring my own 10-year-old son to the press day of The Kid Who Would Be King, so he could ask Sir Patrick Stewart questions. Get a load of this up-and-coming interviewer:

It has been too many years since Joe Cornish helmed Attack the Block, and Kid reminds us of the talent we have been missing. It is a fun, whimsical and exciting throwback to Amblin movies of our youth, with an amusing turn by Imrie and a worthy leading-man pass by young Serkis (who, yes, is Andy Serkis’ son).

The Kid Who Would Be King is in theaters as we speak.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.