Enterprising Stewart deal

NEW YORK — Patrick Stewart will boldly go where no Starship Enterprise captain has gone before. Stewart will be paid $12 million in a multifaceted pact that revolves around him reprising his role as Capt. Picard in the next “Star Trek” film.

As part of the pact, Stewart will be the film’s associate producer and he gets a three-year, first-look deal with the studio. Stewart received $5 million for 1996’s “Star Trek: First Contact,” which grossed $92 million domestically. That was the best “Trek” pic performance since 1986’s “The Voyage Home,” which grossed $109 million domestically.

Ahab Down Under

For Stewart, the salary and producer credit are the latest developments in a career on the upswing. Now in Melbourne playing Capt. Ahab in a miniseries version of “Moby Dick” to air on USA Network in March, Stewart next will be seen onscreen as the chief tormentor of Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in the Richard Donner-directed Warner Bros. film “Conspiracy Theory.” Stewart’s also completed several indie features that include “Roger Christian’s Masterminds,” “Safe House” and “Dad Savage,” which just wrapped in England.

He resumes his stage career this fall in a most unusual rendition of “Othello.” He plays the title character, and is surrounded by an all-black cast for roles usually played by white thesps. The play runs at D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre from November to January.

Golden opportunity

Paramount is hard at work on the next “Trek” film, now being scripted by Michael Piller. It’s being likened to Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” providing a tour de force acting opportunity for Stewart.

“Trek” star Jonathan Frakes, who directed the last pic, is a strong candidate to pull double duty again, according to sources who said that producer Rick Berman hasn’t yet made a final decision as to who will direct. Berman is the keeper of the flame of the various “Trek” franchises, which are booming. Two series remain on the air, and an Imax feature is in the works. Stewart is repped by ICM’s Steve Dontanville and his attorney is Cliff Gilbert.

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