Sutherland was born in London in 1966. He got his first film
role in the 1983 movie Max Dugan Returns. He went on
to star in several further movies before landing the part
of David in the 1987 movie The Lost Boys. In
1992, Sutherland starred opposite Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise
Few Good Men.
He is currently better known for his portrayal of special
agent Jack Bauer in the Fox TV drama 24.
Darren Rea caught up with him as the third season of 24
was due to be released on DVD...
Being involved with a TV series like 24 must be pretty
demanding on your time. Has it taken control of your life?
My professional life? Absolutely. It's been interesting though.
I've been so lucky, I love doing this show, I love this crew,
I love the subject matter, I love the character. For all of
those things, I'm very happy and I'm really enjoying it. I
could not imagine what it must be like for an actor on a show
that they don't enjoy doing. Because I'd become suicidal.
You've said in the past that your character could be killed
off at any time. Is that something that your happy to live
with and do you think the show could continue successfully
It's a possibility that that will happen one season. Which
one, I don't know. When I said it, it was certainly nothing
that I wanted, but I think all of us are aware that the real
star of the show is the time format and the concept, and we
actors service that. I'm no different than any of the other
actors, and we're all aware that at some point, to service
the show we might get killed.
I think with the death of Leslie Hope's character - my wife
in the first season - I think we set a precedent that we were
going to break some rules. I think that it's much more exciting
to watch a character like Jack if you don't think that there's
a guarantee that he's going to be around forever. Otherwise
when he's in some kind of peril it's just very boring if you
just know he's going to get out of it every time.
I think the show can go on for 20 years and go through multiple
You seem to have a habit of killing off some of the shows
Yeah, and it's very funny when we get together and have a
of the nice testaments about how wonderful being on the show
is, people that have died two or three seasons ago are still
showing up to the parties. Yeah, we've managed to form a really
The other actors have mentioned in the past that they are
all kept in the dark about how their characters will evolve.
Is that the same for you?
If they're in the dark, I'm at dusk. I probably get a little
more information than all of them. But there's nothing that
you can do. I mean when the writers are still working on the
last four episodes right now in their head, I don't know what
they don't know. It's one of those very weird circumstances
that's very different from a film. That you just never know
what your ending is until you're actually almost shooting
Are you ever 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
How do you deal with your fame? How do you cope with constantly
I live my life the way I live it, which is pretty open and
I do what I want to do. I think for the most part I've been
very fortunate. I still take the subway all the time, I do
what I consider to be very normal things.
the most part, I've made a real effort to try and treat people
with the kind of respect that I hope to be treated with. People
have been really cool with me. So I've never had a real issue
How do you feel about the way that Jack's drug addiction was
handled during season three of 24?
I think it's a fantastic device. I mean, in the first season
here is he struggling with a failed marriage or a marriage
that certainly was in trouble. Now he's dealing with an addiction.
I think he's justified in why he became addicted, but he's
still struggling with an addiction.
Those imperfections in his character, and his effort to deal
with those imperfections, I think, have been one of the real
reasons people have enjoyed the character so much. Because
no one's trying to pretend he's perfect.
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.
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.
DR: Has anyone ever confused you for
your character 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 [laughs]. And he looked over and he said, "I ought
to hit you." And I said, "Why?"
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."
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.
think for the most part, people realise that it's a television
In season three, Jack is working with his daughter. I understand
that your daughter worked on 24 too. What was that
She was a production assistant and an AD for a little while.
On set, there are people that'll stand around and they'll
call out "Rolling" so that people outside know to be quiet
and things like that.
some reason, every once in a while someone will call "Rolling"
in the middle of a take and they won't be aware that we've
actually been rolling for a while. And I was in the middle
of a scene, and right in the middle of the scene I hear this
voice: "Rolling!" I went "Who the...? Oh no [laughs]. That's
my daughter, isn't it?" The whole crew just fell apart laughing.
She kind of ran the show for a while.
Is there any sign of your daughter wanting to become an actress?
Yeah, I think so.
How do you feel about that?
Well, she's getting older and as I'm starting to realise that
that might actually be the reality, I've phoned both my parents
and apologised to them because I now know how they must have
felt when I was starting out. It's not an easy way to live.
the position I'm in now, it's fantastic. But to get to that
position, there are a lot of things you have to go through.
An incredible amount of rejection. And that is painful. When
you put yourself in such a vulnerable spot in an audition,
when you're trying to do a scene and give it everything that
you've got and for someone, you know, to answer the phone
in the middle of your scene or start laughing at you when
you didn't want them to laugh or all of those things-it's
fine for me to go through that but when I think of someone
doing that to my daughter I want to kill them.
DR: Do you ever worry that you are living
in your father's shadow?
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.
Are you close?
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.
Do you think Jack Bauer can survive another day like this?
That's a question you're going to have to ask Joel, Bob, Howard,
and all the other directors. If they want him to, he can and
if they don't, he won't. I certainly would like to, but he
can get killed as easily as any of the other character s.
And it is true. I think it's important for an audience to
know that when they're watching, that if he gets himself in
a real difficult situation, he's not just going to miraculously
get out of it all the time. But I certainly hope so. I hope
What do you think about the impact of this show?
It's kept us alive. In the first year the show already had
a core audience here that's stayed with us, but it's not as
big (laughs) as I think they might have liked it. The incredible
success that we've had in the foreign markets with the show,
really kept us going.
care about one thing, and that's we make the best possible
show. We have a hundred people here that work very hard and
are at the top of their game. And it would be ridiculous to
think that people don't get upset. There are days when combinations
of the weather and something that we needed to shoot with
doesn't arrive and people get angry.
We work 16 hours sometimes, and our days go by incredibly
quickly. And they go by incredibly quickly because there is
a relentless focus on trying to make every scene as good as
it possibly can be. Our whole crew is involved with that.
That's something that our director, our cast and our crew
has, and it's a common goal. I think when the product is finished
and we're happy about that, that's when we feel very good
about that. But yeah, I am in one of those positions that
can have a very serious effect on how our show is run. And
in that context I do the best I can with it.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Bella Gubay at Greenroom Digital
Three of 24 is out to buy on DVD
from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment from 09 August 2004
season three of 24 on DVD for £34.99 (RRP: £49.99)
by clicking here
Buy season two of 24 on DVD for £32.99 (RRP:
£49.99) by clicking here
Buy season one of 24 on DVD for £30.99 (RRP:
£44.99) by clicking here