"I do as much as I can, everything that everyone else is doing — recycling and separating the garbage and everything else," says Kiefer Sutherland about his eco-efforts, which extend to the set of his latest series. "It's been a Fox thing, actually started by one of the people in the production office on '24,' and I was very proud of that. Fox has been very responsible in making a real effort to try and leave as small a carbon footprint as possible."
After playing Jack Bauer for eight years on "24," Sutherland returns to the network in "Touch," which gets a sneak preview Jan. 25 before its official premiere March 19. From "Heroes" creator Tim Kring and also starring Danny Glover and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the drama casts him as Martin Bohm, a widowed airport baggage handler and ex-journalist with a young mute son (David Mazouz) who has a special gift for seeing patterns in everything and expressing them through numbers. Bohm uses this information to help make things happen — or prevent them from happening. "If you're going to do something potentially for another eight years, you want it to be something that you can really sink your teeth into," says Sutherland, who was drawn to the character, tone and non-serialized nature of the procedural, but he mainly got involved because the script "spoke to me on a really profound level, this beautiful idea of interconnectivity and this responsibility that we have to each other as a people, as a race, and to this planet. And so, for all of those reasons, that's why I chose to do this show."
Since working on it, he's become more aware of circumstances and the notion that "there is no wrong place at the wrong time, that things happen for a reason, that there is a cause and effect to everything. If a taxi doesn't stop, I think, 'Is it good that I'm not in that taxi?' If you're going with 'it was meant to be,' it takes the edge off. There's something wonderfully comforting about thinking that everything has a purpose and that there is no small moment." But philosophical themes aside, Sutherland was intrigued by the relationship and mystery aspects of "Touch."
"The driving force for my character is to communicate with my son and have as normal a relationship as he possibly can, which I think every parent can relate to. He's never going to have the perfect, idyllic relationship. So there is a weight on both characters, and that is something I'm drawn to as an actor." Bohm's background an investigative journalist "will allow him some tools to get into places where he's not supposed to be. It's also going to give him a level of insight and a kind of a bull — meter that will come in handy."
After "24" wrapped, Sutherland made the movies "Melancholia" and "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," a Mira Nair indie co-starring Liev Schrieber due out in 2013, starred on Broadway in "That Championship Season," and recharged his batteries, but "realized how much I missed working" on a series. During his hiatus this spring, he plans to make the eagerly awaited "24" movie, which, unlike the series, will not unfold in real time. "It's a two-hour representation of a twenty-four-hour day," he says. Release "could be as early as Christmas next year."