COURTESY IFC FILMSPatrick Stewart plays a dance teacher who looks back on his life in “Match.”

COURTESY IFC FILMSPatrick Stewart plays a dance teacher who looks back on his life in “Match.”

Patrick Stewart uses myriad skills in 'Match'

Patrick Stewart's new movie “Match” perfectly shows off his great appeal and versatility.

The 74-year-old is best known as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from the “Star Trek” mythos, and perhaps as Professor Xavier in the “X-Men” movies. But he also is highly regarded as a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In other words, he's a serious actor, but not above having a little fun, and that comes in handy in “Match.” Based on a three-person play by Stephen Belber (who wrote the screenplay), it’s about an aging ballet teacher, Tobi Powell (Stewart), who agrees to be interviewed for a history paper by a young couple Lisa and Mike (Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard), not knowing they have an ulterior motive.

Not a stranger to dance, Stewart has studied movement in the past and is currently working with a choreographer for a dance sequence he'll be performing in a new TV series. He also got to meet the person on whom his character is based.

“He was delightful company, as I hope my Tobi is,” says Stewart, who recently visited The City.

“I watched three classes, at Juilliard, just sitting quietly in the corner,” he continues. “I saw how much he loved his work, loved his students, was fully alive when he was in the studio. And it made sense, then, how he could quietly shut down when he leaves work and goes home.”

Stewart and director Belber agreed to begin the movie with a scene not in the play, in which Tobi is teaching, to help broaden the character.

The actor used all of his voice training to tackle Tobi's voluminous dialogue, searching for its greatest emotional impact. Still, he says his voice became “a little bit croaky. Tobi talks a lot.”

Tobi also knits, and Stewart had that covered, too: “I was lucky because as a child my mother taught me how to knit. So I'm comfortable with needles in my hand. But I'm not a knitter now,” he smiles, “I have other hobbies.” He even used the real Tobi’s actual hand-knitted sweaters in the film.

The real-life dance instructor also has a cameo in the movie, passing Stewart outside the Juilliard classroom.

Stewart is filled with admiration for his character’s inspiration, and the feeling seems to be mutual, as the real-life fellow attended a New York screening of “Match’ in Tribeca.

“He sat behind me,” Stewart says. “He kept hitting my shoulder saying, 'That's great! That's wonderful!' What it must have been like for him I can't imagine.”

IF YOU GO

Match

Starring : Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino, Matthew Lillard

Written and directed by: Stephen Belber

Rated R

Running time : 1 hour, 32 minutes

artsMatchMoviesPatrick StewartStephen Belber

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

From left, California state Sen. Milton Marks, Sen. Nicholas Petris, Assemblyman John Knox and activists Claire Dedrick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Janet Adams watch Gov. Ronald Reagan sign the bill establishing the Bay Conservation and Development Commission as a permanent agency in 1969. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101, including Park Presidio Boulevard, to keep traffic flowing as The City reopens. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Tents filled up a safe camping site in a former parking lot at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin in June 2020.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Proposal for major expansion of safe sleeping sites gets cool reception in committee

Supervisor Mandelman calls for creation of more temporary shelter sites to get homeless off streets

A surplus of	mice on the Farallon Islands have caused banded burrowing owls to stay year round instead of migrating, longtime researchers say. <ins>(Courtesy Point Blue Conservation Science)</ins>
Farallon Islands researchers recommend eradicating mice

The Farallon Islands comprise three groups of small islands located nearly 30… Continue reading

Once we can come and go more freely, will people gather the way they did before COVID? <ins>(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo)</ins>
What happens when the pandemic is over?

After experiencing initial excitement, I wonder just how much I’ll go out

Most Read