Interview Kiefer Sutherland

With new movie Mirrors out this weekend and a return to 24, Sutherland has more than one reason to be in a reflective mood.

41-year-old actor has had a colourful 25 years in Hollywood to say the least and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down even if he may at last be settling down. Having started 2008 in the news for a drink driving
conviction, for which he was sentenced to 48 days in jail, Kiefer is making
headlines in the latter half of the year for all the right reasons.
Professionally he is on a high with the return of hit show 24 which opens for a seventh season with a big-budget feature length episode. He also has Mirrors, a chilling horror movie that is set to get pulses racing at Irish
cinemas this weekend.

Q:  You are so well known for 24 now.  Does that make it harder to disappear into a
movie character?

A: “No, I think actually easier.  I think
24 exists in such a strong backdrop, it’s very easy to counter balance something against it.  This character is obviously very different.  I’m still trapped in my own physical body, with my own voice, and my
sense of interpretation.  There are going
to be similarities in everything that I do.  But, I think the fact that 24 is such a strong backdrop of where I am in
my career right now, this film was a great opportunity to show another part of
a reflected image.”

Q:  How excited are you about 24 coming

A: “Very. There is a two-hour movie that we just finished shooting about almost two months ago now.  It was in
Africa.  As difficult as it was for us to
take the break, because of the strike, and I think the audience was affected the most.  It was something that
no one wanted to do. I don’t think the writers wanted to do it, the actors
didn’t want to do it, and (Jon) Cassar didn’t want to do it.  It happened nonetheless.  I think Fox made a very smart decision with
regards to 24 because I think it is at its best when it’s released continuously
so you can watch all 24 episodes in a row. So we waited ‘til January.  The one benefit if you are looking for a
silver lining is that it gave the writers an unbelievable amount of time to
really craft this season.  We as actors
had scripts available to us, which we’ve never had in the past six years of
making the show. I believe it’s the best work we’ve ever done.  The stuff we did in Africa is really some of
the stuff I’m the most excited about in regards to 24.”


Q: When will there be a 24 movie?
A: “We have this prequel movie coming out for TV in August but we really don’t want to entertain the notion of a theatrical release film until after the show is over. The demand on the writers to keep the show going is so great we really couldn’t take them out of that.”
Q: When does Jack or any of the other characters take a pee?
A: “(Laughs) Actually we did shoot a scene where Jack raids an office and runs into the washroom in the lobby and comes out nine seconds later a lot
happier. But they cut it out! Our stock answer is, whenever they cut to the Whitehouse, Jack is in the bathroom. And not only is he taking a leak, he’s
having a drink and getting something to eat.”

Q: Let’s talk about this new movie. What drew you to Mirrors?
A:  “Horror films, for me growing up
certainly, there wasn’t a genre of film that could give you any stronger a visceral reaction through watching
it.  I had always heard that as an actor
that is something that would draw you to a genre film.  You can actually
affect an audience that powerfully, and that quickly, so the genre was something I was really interested in. Alex had made The Hills Have Eyes which was a film that really kind of harkened back to the 70s horror films.  They dealt with things in most film that I think were much more different than what we now term as slasher films.  Amityville Horror, The Exorcist,
The Omen; those films all had character-driven plots that made you invested in the characters. The horror was really a combination of the affection that the audience had with a character, combined with the horrific circumstances that the character was put in.  For me, I remember at the very
first meeting I had read the script and loved it for the same reason.” To play hope and fear at the same time
was something that was a real challenge for me.”

Q:  What is your favourite horror movie?
A: “This is going to be kind of embarrassing.  I think the one that scared me most was not The Exorcist.  I know
that is it for so many people.  It was not
The Omen.  There was a film made in 1972
or 73 called The Car.  The irony of this is that I lived on a 14th floor in an apartment complex in Toronto called Crescent Town. The Car in the movie was basically possessed by the devil, and it was a black Lincoln, with yellow windows.  It went into this small town and ran
everybody over.  This car could go
through houses. The only place it couldn’t go was a graveyard or a church.  Every time the car came into town the wind
would start to blow and music would start to go. I don’t think I’ve ever been
scared by anything more in my life.  I
lived on the 14th floor and I was still scared that this car was going to manage
to get through, get up there, and run me over.  I wasn’t that young either.  I think
I was 12-years-old.  I should have known
better.  It stayed with me for months.”

Q:  When you look back at Lost Boys and
Stand By Me then you see yourself now in this film, what has the journey been like?  What’s the growth and lessons learned along the way as an actor?

A:  “Well, the lessons learned never
stop.  It’s a really deep question. Stand By Me was the first film I got to do in the United States.  I remember when I first went to go see that film I thought my career was over.  Then the film became the success that it was and certainly at that time it was a part of American film history.  I
realized the first thing was that I should probably not watch my work again. The best thing for me to do was to just make it and the audience would be the judge. That has served me quite well. The journey from there to now, has been an unbelievable experience for me. I think that acting is almost like working out.  It’s a physical exercise that one has to go through.  The more
that you train it and the more you use whatever that instrument is – your body, your brain, your voice, and all those things combined.  I hope I still
approach each project with the same kind of youthful exuberance that I did with something like Stand By Me or Lost Boys.” 

Q: Do you discuss the business much with your father?
A: We don’t talk about it a whole lot. We don’t get to see each other enough anyway,
so when we do, he wants to know about my daughter. We talk about my brothers.
We talk about him and Francine. Our family stuff. He’s been very supportive –
apparently he likes 24 and he’s very funny about that. But the work itself, we
don’t really talk about it at all.

Q: Looking back, do you feel like you have missed out on anything because you worked so hard when you were younger?
A: “In a way because in some respects, I’ve done all my growing up backwards. I mean, I dropped out of school at 15 so I missed out on graduation or going to college. I’d never had buddies and, in a way, I didn’t even know how to deal with people my own age because from the time I was 15, the youngest people I was around were 30. Then, when I was 19, I married a 33-year-old woman, and had a baby of my own by the time I was 20,”

Q: You still have quite a reputation for going wild on those rare times when you
have a break from work. A few drunk and disorderly arrests along the way? Why
are you such a rebel?

A: “If you work as hard as I do, you should be allowed to reward yourself by going over the top from time to time.”

is at Irish cinemas from October 10th