The sight of Kiefer Sutherland on screen holding a gun to a man’s head is not unusual. He spent nine series as Jack Bauer in 24 doing little else. But the sight of Kiefer Sutherland holding a gun to Stephen Fry’s head while Fry is lying on top of him wearing a Santa outfit, definitely is.
“He’s a big fella,” says Sutherland, with a gravelly laugh at the recollection. “I think he stands about 6’ 4” and he’s built – he’s not wire skinny. So when he landed on me I think the two of us laughed the first time. In fact, there were a couple of moments where we had to really focus because situations made us laugh so much.”
Just as you don’t think of Kiefer Sutherland with Stephen Fry on top of him, you don’t think of him in a comedy either. But Marked is a comedy, a standalone half-hour in Sky’s Playhouse Presents strand. It sees Sutherland play a middle-aged, browbeaten, debt-laden nebbish called James. When he is offered a “hit” to take out his neighbour’s archenemy it’s money he cannot refuse, but his efforts to do the deed soon descend in to a high – and festive – farce.
Los Angeles – Paul WS Anderson put Kiefer Sutherland through “hell” on the set of Pompeii.
The director admitted Sutherland and Kit Harington were left feeling “uncomfortable” as they filmed through clouds of ash to recreate the scenes from volcano explosion that destroyed the Italian city in 79 AD.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz, he said: “We needed to plunge them into hell and it’s easier to act like that if they are in hellish conditions, if you talk to Kit or Kiefer, they would both tell you the same, it was hellish making the movie.
He added, we had a lot of very unhappy actors. Everyone was very committed to the movie and coming to work. But I think there were times when they weren’t happy. They weren’t coming in, in the mornings saying, ‘Woohoo! Pompeii!’ because they were getting ash in their eyes and in their lungs, it really was an uncomfortable movie but I think that discomfort added a huge layer of realism.”
He then joked: “Kiefer for example, makes a lot of notes in his script. About what the character is thinking, handwritten notes in his script and he would write things like, ‘NAR’, I would see this term ‘NAR’ all the way through his script.
“I said, ‘NAR’ and he said, ‘No acting required’. He said, ‘I don’t need to pretend that the world was ending. I know you’re going to make me feel like it is.”
According to the director, the 24 actor even revealed that Pompeii was the hardest film he’s ever made.
He explained: “Kiefer’s made about 50 movies and at the end of Pompeii he said, ‘That’s the toughest film I’ve ever made.’ I took that as a compliment!”
Kiefer Sutherland never “dreads” putting black tie on for a formal occasion.
The 24 star has been attending lots of glitzy events to promote the comeback of the hit show 24: Live Another Day, which has 12 episodes this season.
While many stars dread hitting the red carpet and getting papped, Kiefer is keen to get his glad rags on.
“It was within the past five months for a dinner,” he revealed when People magazine asked him about the last time he wore black tie. “I enjoy getting dressed up for a formal occasion. I have friends that dread it. I am not one of them.”
Kiefer keeps in great shape by playing hockey and admits he needs the exercise to keep him on track for filming 24.
“Physically, 24 is a hard show to do,” he recently admitted to Esquire. “I look back and see we did 192 episodes over eight seasons. I don’t know how we did it. It makes you want to go take a nap.”
The actor turned 47 last December and rarely thinks about the ageing process. However, he did have to take a breather when he hit the big 4-5.
“That was the first age I ever hit where I started doing the maths — ‘In five years I will be 50. Oh my God, in ten years I’ll be 55. In 20 years I will be 65. At 65 you get half-price tickets to f**king movies, holy sh*t,'” he admitted. “It made me acknowledge how much I’ve enjoyed my life. I’ve got a really wonderful family, and some fantastic friends.”
Kiefer Sutherland says there are “no plans” to continue making new seasons of 24 and he worries he is too old to play action man Jack Bauer.
The 45-year-old star isn’t sure he can sustain playing action man Jack Bauer in the hit counter-terrorism drama – which was recently revived for a new season, 24: Live Another Day, three years after it initially ended – and worries his body can’t keep up with the death-defying stunts required for the role.
Kiefer is quoted by the Daily Star as saying: “I have loved bringing Jack back and my heart says I want to play him until I am an old man. But my head says that now is the right time to stop.
“There are no plans to kill Jack off, and while he is alive I guess there is always a chance for a new season. But at the moment there are no plans.”
While his famous role has earned him numerous accolades, the Emmy Award-winning actor admits he can’t quite fathom how he managed to film 192 episodes of 24 during its initial run from 2001 to 2010.
Kiefer explained: “Physically, 24 is a hard show to do. I look back and see we did 192 episodes over eight seasons. I don’t know how we did it. It makes you want to go take a nap.”
Four years in hiding seem to have done Jack Bauer a world of good. In the person of Kiefer Sutherland, he still looks fighting fit, and he sounds more interesting than he has in a long time. Being on the run seems to have furrowed his voice as well as his brow; he’s more introspective than before and seems to be carrying a heavier load of guilt, though he’s rarely specific as to what he’s guilty about. The worst thing he ever did was cause the death of his wife back in 24’s first season, and he had only indirect responsibility even for that. No season since then has had so ingenious and involving a storyline; but the new one – 24: Live Another Day – is running it close.
This new series is set in London, conceivably because it’s cheaper to film in Britain than in the USA. That isn’t the only economy that’s been imposed; Jack now has only half his previous number of hours to perform his regular job of detecting an apocalyptic threat and then defusing it. This accounts for the bemusing new title; if they hadn’t dreamed it up they would have had to call the show 12. Apparently, though, the show will still cover a 24-hour time period, but certain hours will be omitted from the action. This hasn’t happened in the episodes shown so far, and I’m not certain how it will be handled when it does. Will all the characters be presumed to have taken a nap, so as to conserve their strengths for dealing with the ongoing grave international crisis? Or will the story simply wind up and then start all over again, perhaps with the revelation of a new threat behind the threat? It’s been known to happen on 24; in fact it’s been standard procedure. It seems that Jack is not going to have everything wrapped up before his bedtime. Another all-nighter beckons.