Patrick Stewart almost didn’t get the part as Captain Picard, according to the reveal of a clip from William Shatner’s “Star Trek” documentary. The video discloses how the actor’s baldness initially was a concern, but the actor later got the job based on his performance.
Shatner’s documentary, “Chaos on the Bridge,” is focused on how “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was made. A video clip from the documentary posted by Entertainment Weekly, shows how Stewart was first selected after Bob Justman saw him give a lecture at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA.)
"Star Trek" TV series creator Gene Roddenberry is said to have initially refused to even listen to Stewart's audition and apparently heard him only after Justman insisted. One factor that was against the actor was the fact that he was bald and he admits in the video that he later heard Roddenberry considered him to be “wrong” for the part.
“I’m not going to have a bald Englishman playing the new Captain Kirk,” Roddenberry reportedly said at that time. In the final casting audition three actors had been narrowed down for the role and the actors included Mitchell Ryan, who played Edward Montgomery in the “Dharma & Greg” TV series, and Yaphet Kotto, who was a cast member in “The Running Man” movie.
Roddenberry then reportedly agreed to listen to Stewart read for the role, on the condition that he wear a wig. The actor’s wig was later sent via FedEx from England to Los Angeles. Stewart first read his lines with the wig on and then he was called in to read the lines again, but this time without the wig. After his audition the actor was selected to play Captain Picard in the TV series and Roddenberry addressed all concerns about the actor by saying “hair doesn’t mean anything in the 25th century.”
According to a report by TrekNews, Shatner’s “Star Trek” documentary is available for fans to rent on Vimeo or to buy from July 1. “Virtually every major player” who was behind the 1980s TV series is said to have been interviewed for the hourlong documentary.