Kiefer Sutherland - aka Jack Bauer - on his new role on the big screen
Son to Donald – or 24’s Jack Bauer if you prefer – Kiefer Sutherland, 41, stars opposite Samantha Morton in River Queen, an intimate story set in the 1860s in New Zealand when the Maori population is engaged in a war against the British Colonialists.
What attracted you to River Queen?
It was a story I wanted to tell. It was a film about war – the Colonial-Maori war, which was an interesting conflict. More people switched sides in that war than in any other conflict. Maoris switched sides to Colonials because they had problems within their own sides, and the Colonials switched sides because they had terrible problems with what the British army was doing to these people. It showed really the breakdown of two ideologies clashing on a political level. I thought it was a very interesting perspective on war. It’s very rarely black-and-white, if ever. And there has to be a much better way in our society to resolve conflict.
Given your success with 24, are you a glass half-full or half-empty type person?
Depends on the situation. I’ve been up and down in this career. I’ve had incredible highs and times when I couldn’t get a job. 24 is one of those incredible experiences you’ll just never be able to repay. From a creative perspective, it’s given me more confidence as an actor than I’ve ever had – and out of confidence comes innovation! And I promise you one day I’m going to be innovative – I swear to it! On a job level, we do this because we want people to see what we’re doing. I’m grateful to the audience for watching the show as long as they have. It’s been an incredibly positive experience.
When are you happiest?
Before I go to sleep. I do so many things – from horse-riding to hockey to skiing. I’ve never been through a whole day where I haven’t been happy and I’ve never been through a whole day where I haven’t been frustrated. I go up and down!
Do you discuss the business much with your father?
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.
River Queen is on general release now.