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Film

Kiefer Sutherland: ‘I cried to my dad. I didn’t know he was so important’

The actor said he would have enjoyed his twenties more if he had worried less about work

Kiefer Sutherland has spoken exclusively with The Big Issue about why he’d happily “live [his life] backwards” in A Letter To My Younger Self.

The film titan and singer-songwriter recalled making his first movie, The Bay Boy, aged 16 in Nova Scotia.

“I remember checking into the Holiday Inn,” he said, “unpacking all my toiletries and looking at myself in the mirror. A crooked smile came across my face and I remember this moment as, my life just started…”

On getting to know his father, Donald Sutherland, he said: “Growing up, I didn’t have much contact with my father. And I couldn’t go to the movie theatre to see MASH or 1900, or Fellini’s Casanova – they were adult films. Then when I was 18 they started bringing out video tapes and I sat down and watched his films.

“They were extraordinary…And the one I liked best, what’s it called, the red coat movie.. Don’t Look Now! And I called him up and I actually cried on the phone, I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what an important actor he was. And I considered myself a serious actor. So that was very embarrassing and I apologised for that and he was so sweet, he said ‘Oh my God, that’s okay, it’s not your fault, how would you know?’”

When asked if he could tell himself one thing, he said it would be simple: “Don’t be so panicked, don’t be so nervous.”

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The 52-year-old 24 icon said he would reassure himself that the “next job will come”.

He added: “I would have enjoyed my twenties a lot more, I’d have had much more fun, if I hadn’t been so worried about what was coming next… Being in a film like The Lost Boys. We took it too seriously and we didn’t enjoy the moments. The luckiest, most exciting moments anybody ever could possibly have. And we just didn’t see it.”

He concluded: “I’ve really loved my life and I’d have no problem living it backwards. I’ve screwed up a bunch – I wish I’d had more time with my daughter growing up – but I really do consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet…”

Kiefer Sutherland’s new album Reckless and Me is released on April 28. He plays Cottiers, Glasgow on April 7, Manchester, Gorilla on April 8, London, Moth Club on April 9.

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue.

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