Sir Patrick Stewart: Twitter helped inject ‘fun’ into my public persona
Act0r Sir Patrick Stewart has revealed that he is using “fun” and entertainment on Twitter to alter the perception of being a serious actor, saying his tweeting style has led him to a new comedy series with the creator of Family Guy.
At a seminar held by Twitter on storytelling at the Cannes Lions this morning he said people had built a perception of “who Patrick Stewart was” because of the types of serious characters he played, including Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek and a raft of serious Shakespearean characters.
He also revealed how he and Sir Ian McKellen had come up with the idea for the viral Gogo and Didi do New York campaign, promoting the plays they were involved in.
Talking about how he used Twitter, Stewart said: “Somehow I’ve got stuck with these characters I play, and so an impression of who Patrick Stewart was was becoming fixed in my audience.
He said he used his “own sense of fun on Twitter” to challenge the public perception of the actor.
He admitted he had been “cautious” about diving into social media too quickly, but since joining Twitter two years ago he now has over 1.3 million followers.
Asked to give advice to creatives he said: “Tiptoeing was important to me, but what appealed about Twitter when I looked at the options was the element of connections.
“I did some research, looked at the things I found relevant and entertaining and I was very very cautious.”
He said the change in perception of his public persona has given him the opportunity to star in a new comedy series by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, something he is “very excited about”.
Stewart also said he uses his profile to drive awareness for charities he is involved with such as Amnesty International and Shelter, adding: “It led me to understand the potential for social interaction and social change.
“By making potent strong urgent points about these organisations you affect the world we’re living in.”
Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen made headlines for their “bromance” for the viral Gogo and Didi do New York campaign, which was to promote their double header of serious plays by 20th Century playwrites on broadway.
Explaining Gogo and Didi were the familiar names for the characters in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, he said the pair of them went to iconic New York locations and took pictures of them wearing their trademark bowler hats at places such as the Empire State Building.
“We were enjoying ourselves, and in this way we were sending a kind of love letter to New York and telling them how happy we were to be there.
“In this way we let people simply know we’re in New York, on Broadway and at the same time it was entertaining. One outcome was education and the other was having fun.”
Alex Hayes in Cannes