Donald Sutherland Interview
Donald Sutherland Interview

Starring In

The Mechanic (tbc)

Release Date

05 May 2011

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A recent recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Donald Sutherland is an award-winning legend in the global acting fraternity and has taken major roles in many films over the past 50 odd years. With a career that saw him playing alongside Christopher Lee in hammer horror flicks in the early days, he has gone on to feature in The Dirty Dozen, MASH, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Eagle has Landed, JFK, Outbreak, The Italian Job, Cold Mountain, Pride and Prejudice and several other classic and cult hits.

Having also worked with plenty of other acting greats such as Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Robert De Nero, Jeff Goldblum and Jane Fonda over the years, he has continued to take parts in TV dramas and major blockbusters including the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ensuring that his face is familiar to younger generations of film fans.

Recently in London he spoke to View’s Matt Turner about his latest project, The Mechanic, a thriller starring himself and Jason Statham, and the prospect of working with his son Keifer on the renowned TV series 24.
What was it like working with Jason Statham again after The Italian Job?

Donald Sutherland:

I didn't really work with him very much on The Italian Job. He was there. He spent most of his time talking to Edward Norton and I realised he was probably trying to pick Edward's brains. I don't know what Edward was doing, because Edward was so mad about having to make that picture. But it was his beginning, you know, Jason, and he was there as a performer, not as an actor.
I can't believe anybody in a wheelchair would do that...
And when we worked together he was stoic and pragmatic – in this picture. But when I saw the picture – because my intent in doing it was, you know, to do with the father-son relationship. The surrogate son and the actual son. And when I saw the growth of that young man as a performer, as an actor, he was just terrific. That scene in the truck with Ben [co-star Ben Foster], at the end - the expression of guilt and loss and grief and regret and love ... wow. It was so palpable. And it was from his heart, from his soul. It was real, it was truthful. It wasn't something laid on, it wasn't something acted - he wasn't playing. He and Simon West together did a wonderful, wonderful job. And Ben, Ben was sensational.
You spend all of your scenes in a wheelchair, including a lengthy – and in my experience, very realistic - sequence of you coming down some stairs, backwards. How much preparation did you do for that?

Donald Sutherland:

[Taps chest] It was all me. They said, 'Okay, what you do here is you let the wheelchair go down and then you drag your -' and I said, 'No way. I can't believe anybody in a wheelchair would do that. Let me try something.' So I turned it around and they said, 'What are you going to - ?' and I said, 'Just wait, just wait ...' and I started down. The stuntman said no and I said, 'No, no, wait a second ...' and I let myself go down. And we did it a couple of times and it looks right. But …
It is right.

Donald Sutherland:

But have you seen anybody ever do it like that?
Yes, absolutely. At least, that's how my friend does it.

Donald Sutherland:

Really? Okay. I had no idea. I'd never seen anybody do it – it was just in my head.
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Content updated: 21/03/2019 15:17

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