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Star Trek's Ed Speleers Struggled Emotionally During His Picard Audition

Although many cast members of "Star Trek: Picard" are about as close to sci-fi royalty as you can get, there are also plenty of newer actors in the series. This isn't to say they're all rookies, however. Ed Speleers, who plays Jack Crusher on "Picard," already had solid stints on shows like "You," "Downton Abbey," and "Outlander." But then, some roles and auditions just hit differently for some actors. 

Speaking with ComicsBeat.com, Speleers said that, in auditioning for the role of Beverly Crusher's (Gates McFadden) son in Season 3 of "Picard," he was asked to send in a tape. He felt he was right for the part, but it also sounds like he got quite close to letting the pressure get to him. "I remember getting really emotional, on the brink of tears: 'I just can't do it. I'm giving up acting," Speleers said. "I'm never doing this again. I'm done with self-tapes. I've been self-taping for months and months and months, and nothing is happening.'"

For sure, the audition process can be trying, especially when it's as impersonal as sending videos. According to Speleers, it was his girlfriend who got him to calm down, bargaining with him to just finish that one tape, after which he could decide if he really wanted to quit. After he got the part, he would eventually be given the full Trekkie treatment. But at that point, he didn't even have a full sense of the role he was auditioning for either. 

He didn't even know he was playing Jean-Luc Picard's son

Only after Ed Speleers was offered the part of Jack Crusher did the character's full bio — and significance to the plot of Season 3 of "Picard" — become apparent. As fans of "Picard" will know by now, Jack isn't just Beverly Crusher's son, but the son of Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, played, of course, by Patrick Stewart, the one actor without whom the show doesn't happen. Jack is, it turns out, the offspring of the long, will-they-won't-they romantic relationship between Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 

After accepting the part, Speleers was informed of this bit of background. "So I was like, 'Oh, okay. That's news.'" Meeting with showrunner Terry Matalas, Speleers was given the full scope of who his character is and the role he would be playing over the course of the season. Not only is the relationship between Picard and Jack quite awkward, even adversarial, but he is also the reason that the admiral is willing to risk the lives of all the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, rather than hand him over to the bounty hunters on the Shrike. 

It's little wonder that the role has gotten inside Speleers like few others he's played. "So, it just got hold of me in a way that perhaps other parts haven't," he said, "and it meant so much to me, and my young family."