Kiefer Sutherland talks rewatching 24, The Contractor and his favourite TV shows
The Jack Bauer actor tells Radio Times magazine what it's like to see reruns of the hit action-packed drama.
This interview was originally published in Radio Times magazine.
It’s nice to see you via Zoom, Kiefer. Isn’t technology great?
I’m maybe the last person that doesn’t own a computer. I’ve had to borrow one to do this... I had a small record label with a guy named Jude Cole. After work I’d say, “You want to get a drink?” and he’d be like, “Oh, man, I’ve got 100 emails to answer.” Once I heard that, I never wanted a computer. Studios hire someone to print the script and get it to me.
I guess that means your TV isn’t hi-tech?
It’s a regular telly. I watch TV in an open kitchen, which leads to a family den. I tend to throw on the news while I’m doing stuff. Other people in my house tell me not to because I start talking to the TV – and not in a nice way.
You’re swearing at politicians?
Yeah, a bit. To pacify me, someone will switch over to a Second World War documentary. It’s pretty s**t when a war documentary is better than the news.
It’s been a tough couple of years...
It has. I’m lucky: I’ve got a nice home, I’m comfortable. Others have had it tougher. I’ve spent my whole life moving at a million miles an hour and lately I find myself getting my blankie and lying down to watch TV at 6pm. By 8:30, I’m out like a light.
In that brief window when you do watch TV, what’s on?
What’s your signature dish?
I’m probably most known for a beef stew. It sounds simple but it’ll leave an impression.
What happens if one of your shows or films comes on as you flick through the channels?
It depends. If it’s the last series of 24, I can’t find the control fast enough. But Stand by Me [Rob Reiner’s 1986 film] is like finding an old yearbook, so I’ll leave it on.
What’s your issue with 24?
It’s still too close – I don’t even have mirrors in my house. I could give a fine performance in a film but by the time I’ve watched it and done all the self-loathing, I’ve ruined it for myself.
24 was one of the first TV series with a Hollywood star and a movie budget. Do you feel partly responsible for a cultural shift that made TV fashionable?
I’m thrilled by the way you’re articulating it, but the truth is, I had a couple of years where some things didn’t really work out, and I had a family to provide for. I prefer your version, which makes it sound like I was so clever to see what was coming down the road. My version, being honest, is I’m the luckiest person I know.
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Would you ever consider doing a British drama?
I had such a great experience in London doing the final season of 24. It’s a mystery why I haven’t worked in England more. I love the sarcastic sense of humour. If anyone in England thinks I’d be right for a job, give me a call.
In The Contractor, Chris Pine plays a special forces sergeant who is discharged from the army then recruited by your character for private security work. What attracted you to the film?
There was something very moving about Chris’s character becoming disposable. Millions of dollars were used to train him, then he was kicked to the kerb. I think people feel like that all the time as they get older, so there’s a relatable quality.
The film is also about a father and son. How’s your relationship with your father Donald?
I love him, though I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like to. We’ve never lived in the same place, and COVID hasn’t helped. I’m so proud to have him as my father. Having grown up with my mother, there’s a kind of distance between us. But I want to impress him; I want him to be proud of me.
The Contractor is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.
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