Patrick Stewart's approach to Scrooge is less eccentric than most. In a recent interview he told why he chose to characterize Scrooge as a miser one might actually meet:
"I think that if the character becomes too much of a caricature of the skinflint, that's a clich. And then we don't have to think about it anymore. But if it might be someone sitting across a desk from us or sharing an elevator with us, or on the 6 o'clock news, saying things like, 'Well, if the poor would rather die than go into a poorhouse, they'd better do it and decrease the surplus population' - now this is something else.
"It seems to me that that Scrooge is a much more terrifying individual, and what has happened to him is more alarming, and what he can do to society is more disturbing if he is an absolutely rational, reasonable, and at times, even quite amusing individual."
Asked why the story means so much to him, Mr. Stewart adds, "I have to confess that it does touch me, and it contains, I think, a message for the world that needs to be told.... [T]he lessons that the spirits [teach] Scrooge are as applicable at the end of this millennium as they were in 1842: the personal desirability of each one of us learning how to open our hearts to the world; to love and to receive love, not to be afraid, [and] to learn also that we do have a responsibility for others in our society who are not perhaps as fortunate as we are."
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society