Actors David Mazouz (L) and Kiefer Sutherland speak onstage during the ' Touch' panel during the FOX Broadcasting Company portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2012 in Pasadena, California.
Photograph by: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
PASADENA, California — Kiefer Sutherland is no longer running around on TV with a gun and cellphone, saving the world from swarthy Middle Easterners, tin-pot dictators and right-wing conspirators. In the quiet, change-of-life drama Touch, Sutherland plays a single father trying to reconnect with his mute 11-year-old son.
The story is a concentric tale of hurt souls — a firefighter tormented by his inability to save a dying woman, a teenager desperate to help his ailing family, a talented singer whose songs have a mysterious healing ability — none of whom know each other, but are connected in some mysterious way.
Sutherland appeared visibly relaxed as he appeared before reporters Sunday, in a dark grey pullover, well-worn jeans and his trademark cowboy boots.
Sutherland quietly explained how he got a call out of the blue while performing That Championship Season on Broadway.
“The character was so vastly different, and the tone was so vastly different, that was part of its appeal. I just emotionally responded to what was on the page. The past thing I wanted, after doing 200 episodes of 24, was another TV series. But the moment I started reading this, I just went, ‘Shit.’ My character in 24 was always repressing himself; this character is all about having an emotional reaction in the moment. This character will grow, and that’s another thing that appealed to me.”
A sneak preview of Touch’s opening hour will air Jan. 25, on Fox and Global TV. The series’ official premiere is slated for March.
“I had to read it a second time to make sure that all the things that affected me affected me on a personal level, and it wasn’t just out of a need to manage my career and get away from Jack Bauer. Is it a nice diversion from 24? Yes. But I honestly feel it was something deeper in the material, in the story, that affected me.
“The one parallel I can see between the two characters is that they’re never going to have a perfect relationship with their children. That’s appealing to me, exploring the idea that something as intimate as a personal relationship can be preordained.”
Also, Sutherland added, with a wan smile, “In this show, I get to sit down.”
“I haven’t been very articulate about this,” Sutherland said, moments later, startling his audience. “It’s not about 24, or wanting to distance myself from 24. I see this show as a way of showing how we all get old, and how things change as we get older.
“In 24, Jack Bauer was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this show, there’s no such thing as the wrong time — it’s about how everything is interconnected. There’s something wonderfully comforting about thinking that everything has a purpose.”