Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland may be best know for his role as Jack Bauer but it's his voice on show in this week's DVD release of Monsters vs Aliens.

Sutherland voices the character General W.R. Monger who heads a top-secret prison facility which is home to a series of 'monsters'.

- Hi Kiefer. When your Monsters vs. Aliens co-stars and directors talk about you they say the same thing and that is you are a funny guy and natural comedian. Why don't you do more comedy? We always tend to see you in tough guy roles like 24.

Comedy is actually not something I've ever been comfortable with. It's very different to going out with a bunch of friends and being funny than actually being able to be funny on a film set.

Earlier on, in theatre school I would butcher some of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in my life. Comedy has such a specific requirement.

It's set up so that on the fourth line, you have to get the laugh and if you're not getting the laugh, you panic. It wasn't something I've ever felt really comfortable with.

- You must have been nervous then doing Monsters vs. Aliens.

One of the nice things about doing an animated film is that you're not limited by your own physicality. There's a real freedom in that. You can try and do something different.

Certainly over my career, from Stand By Me to Lost Boys and some of the things I did early on, no one ever asked me to be funny, so it was kind of a mutual agreement that my career would go in that direction (laughs).

- If it wasn't the comedy, what was it about playing General W.R. Monger in Monsters vs. Aliens that attracted you? Did you want to do something completely different to 24?

No. The main reason I chose to do this character was that here is a guy who has been removed from society on a large level, so I think that makes people eccentric and kind of odd.

He's a general so I gave him a little bit of a hint of southern flair. All of these things were a lot of fun to do. It was not a choice based on what I was doing with 24 or anything else.

- Did you find making an animated movie more exhausting than 24?

Sometimes it may take five hours to get four lines right. And (puts on General's loud voice) "When you talk like this" (yells) it takes a lot out of your energy and voice when you do that for four hours straight.

- What was fun about making this movie?

They have taken everything to such a heightened state with this movie. Even my voice is off the chart. I think that's what's fun about the film.

- You are in the public eye. The paparazzi follow you and the tabloids often have stories about you. Do you ever feel exposed like your character?

My character has a very gruff exterior but he has a lot of compassion for these monsters. He's very sensitive. I personally don't feel exposed. I was fortunate to have a father who was very successful, so I knew when I made the choice to go into acting what I was getting myself into.

I knew what was coming with it if I became successful. When it did it was a lot easier for me to handle than other friends of mine.

- Is there a moral message in Monsters vs. Aliens?

This film is designed for children, although I believe that it's done a beautiful job balancing the subtext so it's enjoyable for an adult as well. But if you're going to find a moral, it's to be more accepting of what people are, rather than what you perceive them to be.

- Do you feel you have embraced yourself?

I always feel I'm a work in progress (laughs). I think until the day you die that is the case. The day I wake up and think "Wow, I've figured it all out," I will be amazed. I have never gone through a single day where I don't think I could have done something better.. It could be something simple. A work-related thing. 

I have two daughters and have raised four children. I wish I had more time for that. I wish I could balance my time better. I have always kind of looked at life like that.. There is no finish line. You have to try and learn as much as you can every day.

- Monsters vs. Aliens is inspired by the old 1950s horror movies. Do you like watching those old movies?

Absolutely. That's what I find so amusing about Monsters vs. Aliens. I'll give you an example. I remember seeing a movie when I was 12 called The Car. It scared the hell out of me.

Recently a friend gave me a copy of it so I watched it again thinking I would be terrified. I wasn't. It wasn't scary at all.

- What is your favourite scene in Monsters vs. Aliens?

That wonderful scene when he puts Ginormica in the cell with the other monsters and she starts to cry. The passion of the film is you feel for these characters.

- More than 20 years ago you starred in the vampire film The Lost Boys. Now Twilight is such a huge film. What do you think about that?

I think the vampire genre is a wonderful genre. I haven't had a chance to see Twilight yet, although I did see some Twilight commercials where people are flying through the air and I thought "Yeah, I remember doing that" (laughs). I hope they had as much fun making Twilight as we did with Lost Boys. The Lost Boys had a huge impression on my life.

- Thanks Kiefer.

It has been a pleasure.

Monsters vs aliens is out on DVD now.     

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