Kiefer Sutherland gets emotional with Touch hit Fox series

Kiefer Sutherland gets emotional with Touch hit Fox series

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It’s a long way from his action-packed 24/Jack Bauer role, playing a widower trying to connect with his mute young son in the new Fox TV drama Touch. But Kiefer Sutherland says although he was not ready to do another series, “I read the script and it was so beautifully written. I just emotionally responded to the piece in such a strong way and I realized this was certainly something I wanted to do.”

Sutherland insists, “Normally I wouldn’t think about something like this at all. I had made 200 episodes of 24, and I really wanted to set some time apart from this kind of amazing experience that I had with 24 and try some different things. But this character was so completely different.”

That’s how Jack Bauer transformed into Martin Bohm, a loving and concerned father of a possible autistic pre-teen son in the unique heartfelt show Touch that has become an international hit. It plays around the world when the U.S. airs the episodes.

Creator of the show, Tim Kring (Lost) says he’s not surprised at the success of the show, because of what Sutherland brings to the storytelling.

Kring explains, “Kiefer plays a single father who discovers his 11-year-old son possesses an extraordinary gift– the ability to see hidden patterns that connect people all over the world. The script was not originally written with him in mind, but he has given life to the character. I see the show as more of a mystical or spiritual idea.”

The boy’s character is unique. He does not speak, and the only communication he has with his father is through numbers, and math. And each number is puzzling– it can be a phone number, address, a lottery ticket, etc., yet each number can lead to an exciting adventure for Sutherland, who has to find out what the numbers mean. It’s a most unusual TV series brilliantly making the connections that brings everything together at the end.

Regarding his role in Touch, Sutherland explains that “the real driving force for my character is to really just simply communicate with his son, which I think every parent can relate to. My character knows he is never going to have the perfect, idyllic relationship with his son, where he will never completely win, and that is something, for whatever reason, I was drawn to, certainly as an actor.”

He says his character senses he was somehow responsible for his son being this way, “which gives him sort of a sense of failure,” Kiefer says. “So that is something I certainly responded to as a parent– wanting to do your best, make things right, and take away any pain your child may have.”

During his long career, Sutherland’s career has done more than 70 films and numerous TV series. Playing Jack Bauer for eight seasons on the highly acclaimed 24 series earned him many honors including an Emmy Award for Best Actor. Looking back he says, “I’ve had moments in my career where I was making small, independent films, films that I would be proud of even if only three people were to see them. But I really became an actor because I want people to see the work I’m doing.” That’s why he wants viewers to tune in his new show, “because I’m very proud of my connection with Touch.”

On the personal side, Kiefer has a ranch in Montana and loves rodeos, having participated in roping contests. He also loves to go skiing when on vacation. That’s how he stays in touch with nature.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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