A/V Room








24 - Season Three - Kiefer Sutherland Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

KIEFER Sutherland is interviewed by the press.

Q. You said last October that you might die in this series. So what's the deal with that? Can the show continue without you?
I think it's very important to believe and know that on any given moment, any actor can die on this show. I think we proved that with season one, and I'm no exception to that. Otherwise, you'd know Jack's always getting out of it, and that's not the case. Eventually, you know, there's going to be some things that'll happen, and I'm not exempt from that.

Q. But isn't that the end of the series, though?
I don't think so. I think the show can go on for 20 years and go through multiple cast changes and things like that, because the star of this show is the time format and what it did to the thriller genre. And we all service that.

Q. I think a lot of people actually do watch it for you and Jack Bauer.
Again, I think that the show will do fine. I hope I get to do this show for a long time.

Q. So you've got no plans to move.
Not as of yet.

Q. You say that the show is bigger than the actors, but in this case, you helped the show to get out. You were bigger than the show at the beginning.

Q. So how do you balance that at this time?
I approach my work no differently than I approach anything else. I just do everything I can to make it as good as possible, and we've been very fortunate that we've got a fantastic crew, the writers have done a fantastic job, the cast is amazing - not only the regular cast, but the day actors that we have come in to do smaller parts - we've just been lucky how fantastic everybody's been.
Our focus is on trying to make the best show, period, and we don't worry about the rest of it.

Q. Are you never disappointed when you read the script?
It's a constant process. There'll be things that I won't like in a script. Generally, if I don't like something and Jon, one of the directors, doesn't like something, and one of the writers doesn't like something, we'll change it.
It works like that. I didn't want Leslie Hope to die. I thought that that was not great, but it ended up being one of our signature moments, you know. It certainly doesn't stop me from having an opinion about it. And whether they take it or not is up to them.

Q. How much a dark hero is Jack? Probably the darkest hero we've seen in TV for a long time. Is that your input, in a way? I mean, making him so...
I think that one of the things I was attracted to in the character when I first read the pilot was that this guy was set in a position to become this hero, and yet he's dealing with a failed marriage and his inadequacies as a father, not being able to control a 16-year-old daughter.
I thought that that dynamic was fantastic. He's a very reactionary person and a very reactionary character. Some of those impulses are going to be wrong. And I like that about his character. There are consequences to the things he does, and some of them are not right. I think that makes him more interesting.

Q. Did Jack change your personal life in any way? You used to do characters in the movies, and then, with this one, you have to go live with him.
Not on a personal level, but it's certainly changed my professional life. I think the writers have done such a fantastic job in creating new dynamics, so the character never feels old, because he's dealing with such different situations all the time, and can deal with them differently.

Q. Do people expect you to be a kind of tough guy in real life?
No. There was a very funny moment, I was skiing, and a guy who actually worked for the CIA was sharing the chair-lift with me. (laugh) And he looked over and he said, "I ought to hit you." And I said, "Why?" He said, "Don't tell anybody this, but I work for the CIA and I'm an operative, and my mom is a huge fan of your show, and we all are too," and I said, "Well, trust me, we know that it's a fantasy show and it's not--" He said, "Yeah. Anyway, I was in Europe for like four months, my mother was getting' upset because I wasn't coming home and she said, ‘You should be more like Jack Bauer and get it done in a hurry.’" He laughed so hard. I think for the most part, people realise that it's a television show.

Q. Do you get tired of living the same day during one year?
No, because they have a lot of stuff going on in that day. I think some of the girls get a little frustrated, because they have to wear the same clothes all the time, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Q. In the series, Jack's working with his daughter. Could you actually work with your daughter in real life?
She worked on this show. She was a production assistant and an AD for a little while.

Q. What does your father think about 24?
He likes watching it in Europe a lot more than he does here, because they don't have commercials. He gets very frustrated when he's here, because he likes to watch the show, but he gets very frustrated by the commercial breaks.

Q. Do you like the fact that people many times compare between you, because you also look very much alike?
They compare us on that level. You're talking about one of the greatest actors in film, period. He's the real deal, my dad. He's it. You know. I will work very hard over the course of my career to try and be as good as I can be.
But from my perspective, he's an icon. You take a look at the variety of work, from Ordinary People to Fellini’s Casanova, to 1900, to Day of the Locust, and just take a look at the difference in all those characters; it's staggering. Eye of the Needle. Don’t Look Now. You're talking about some of the most important work in cinema.

Q. Is it frustrating, as well?
For what?

Q. To have such a high role model.
Oh my God, no, it's fantastic. My God. Most people would be very lucky to even meet him, and I have him as a dad.

Q. Would you work with him?
If we ever found the right piece, yeah.

Q. Are you guys close? I mean, personally.
We don't see each other a whole lot. He lives in France and I live here. And that's hard. I grew up in Canada, when he lived here, and so we’ve never been able to spend as much time together as I think both of us would've liked. But I have a huge respect for him and I believe that's mutual. I care for him a lot.

Q. Would you bring him in as a guest star on 24?
I wouldn't even dare, no.

Q. Why?
I don't think that. He's an icon. You wouldn't do that to that kind of an actor.

Q. Would you think about doing like a franchise of 24 like they are doing with CSI all the time?
You would have to ask the producers or Fox about that.

Q. But you think that it would be a good idea or not?
Do I think it would be a good idea? Right now, it's hard enough to do this one show. I, personally, think it waters that down. When the Law and Orders broke off and became others, it just watered all of them down. It's hard enough to make one show good, and you should focus all your energy on doing that.

Q. How many seasons do you think you still have?
I have no idea.

Q. I mean, not you. The show.
I have no idea. I really don't. We take that, unfortunately, one year at a time. Right now, we're just trying to make sure we do a fourth.

Q. Is 24 hours enough in one day?
Doesn't seem to be. (laughter) We're working on it.

Related stories: Season 4 review

Season 3 review

Season 3 - Kiefer Sutherland interview

Season 2 - review

Season 1 - review