|KIEFER ANSWERS 24 QUESTIONS|
| Kiefer Sutherland racks up balls at Hollywood Billiards, an L.A. spot he knows well. It was one of his regular hangouts when he first hit Tinseltown about 15 years ago, when he began making films like Stand By Me, The Lost Boys and Young Guns. Wearing a worn-in tee that reveals an armband tattoo on each of his biceps, he pulls out a pack of smokes and orders a J&B scotch - neat with a Coke on the side. At first glance, Kiefer looks every bit the Hollywood badass. But it takes all of 30 seconds to realize he's a class act. Case in point: He's an ace pool player but purposely misses a shot so this Cosmo reporter can win.
Betweeen games, he's eager to dish about his hit Fox show 24, which starts its second season this month. In case you were trekking through the Himalayas last year, 24 is a real-time drama in which each episode is an hour, so a seaon of 24 episodes ends up being a whole day. Get it? Kiefer playes Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer, who last season stopped the assassination of a Presidential candidate, rescued his wife and daughter from terrorist kidnappers, and saved his job - only to find his wife murdered in the last episode.
Kiefer also has a role in the upcoming movie Phone Booth. This recent career surge is sweetened by the fact that being embraced by Hollywood after taking two breaks from moviemaking in the '90's was a long shot. (He left the spotlight in 1991 to rope in Montana's rodeo circut after a much-hyped broken engagement to Julia Roberts; he ducked out again in 1998 to ranch in Danta Ynez, California.) Here, the 35-year-old Canadian answers 24 burning questions about how it feels to be on top again, what his turn-ons are, and the place you just may find him at 5a.m.
1. What can you divulge about the upcoming season of 24?
KS: We start a year and a half later in their lives. My character isn't working for the government and he kind of resembles a homeless guy. He's really lost it.
2. Dozens of characters died last year. Is it hard to find out that a costar is going to get killed?
KS: Yeah, absolutely. I don't know of another show where the principal cast members are as endangered as ours are. But the real-time aspect of the show is the star, so we will do anything we can to keep that format going.
3. How do you stay in great shape for the show?
KS: I've never been more aware of trying to get into shape, and not for vanity but just simple survival. I smoke, and there's a lot of running. The camera guys can't figure out how I can smoke and run, but I've definitely cut back on the cigarettes.
4. Is the 24 schedule insane?
KS: Yeah. I ran into Matthew Perry recently and he was teasing me - we used to play hockey together so we're old pals. On Friends they work like four days a week-half days at that. He was joking about my schedule, which is 10 months a year as opposed to the standard 8, and we shoot for 12 to 14 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus prep work on the weekends. Toward the end of last year, we were into hard nights: 5p.m. until 5 a.m.
5. That doesn't leave that much time for a social life . . .
KS: Actually, we shoot the night scenes in a town where thousands of people work all night. I'd go to breakfast at Denny's before I would drive home, and it would be packed. People were having a beer with bacon and eggs at 5 a.m. I met a lot of people that way.
6. Are TV fans different toward you than your movie fans?
KS: I've never worked on a project that so many fans want to talk about. I'll be driving and someone will want to talk to me about the show through the window, and it's like, I can't do this now. I'm going to hit someone.
7. When did you start acting?
KS: I started when I was 15 in the theater in Canada. I did my first film, The Bay Boy, in Toronto when I was 16. Then I moved to New York at 17 and Los Angeles at 18.
8. Was it tough leaving your home country to act?
KS: No, it was exciting. I lived in my car in LA for the first three months. I slept at the beach because they have public showers - it was a cold shower, but you could run through it, dry off, and change.
9. Your dad is acclaimed actor Donald Sutherland, and here you were living in your car? How did that happen?
KS: My dad was living in Paris at the time, and he wouldn't have known I was living in my car unless I picked up the phone and told him, and I didn't. I really wanted to make it on my own.
10. You won the Golden Globe for 24. What was it like to win?
KS: My mind went toally blank and my body went numb. It was a very surreal moment. I also hadn't seen Sarah Jessica Parker for about 10 years since we used to live together - she was dating Robert Downy Jr. back then and we all shared a house. It was a great night. I admit I felt really cocky for about 24 hours, and then I had to go back to work
11. How is success different for you this time around?
KS: There's always a fear that at any moment, this can all go away, and I've experienced that before to some degree. When I decided to make my return, some people said "Who are you?" And then I thought, Oh, God, maybe I took too long off. So now I really enjoy and appreciate it more.
12. You left L.A. in 1991, after you and Julia Roberts split up. Were you surprised by the media attention from that?
KS: The second we broke up, I saw the tidal wave coming. I tried to get out of town before it hit, but I didn't make it.
13. How did leaving Hollywood help you?
KS: It put things in perspective. When I cam back, I didn't worry about the small stuff
14. Do you still have a tough time with the press?
KS: Aside from what was printed about me during the breakup with Julia - and I felt she had stuff written about her that was really unfair and simply not true - I've been treated very well by the press. I've done some dumb things, and people have laughed at me. But if I get nailed for something stupid, I'd better be ready to laugh at it or I learned nothing while I was away.
15. What was the wackiest nonacting job you've ever had?
KS: I was a short-order cook in a restaurant. The guy I worked with was really good-looking, so at luch time, the lineup of girls was just gigantic. I loved working with him.
16. What's sexy in a woman?
KS: I think the most attractive thing is a sense of humor. If someone can make you laugh, you've gotten a lot out of the way
17. How do you feel about making the first move?
KS: I like the mutual flirtation, and then we'd have to meet halfway. I don't like a one-way street. That's not that interesting
18. Do you like a woman to say exactly what she wants?
KS: I like people to have mystery. People, period. I don't want to know everything about my guy friends either.
19. What's a turn-on for you?
KS: It's the diversity within people that I'm interested in. . . an unexpected quirk.
20. What would be your idea of a perfect date?
KS: If it is someone who you care about, the perfect date is when they still care for you the next day and if they return your call. If they call to say thanks, that's even better, but I don't dare be so bold.
21. What your worst habit when it comes to dating?
KS: My perception of time isn't the best. I've been know to say, "I've got to go drop off a birthday present at this party, and I will be back by 10, tops." Then I come back considerably later than that. And I do the dumbest thin by not calling to say that I'm going to be late. I figure, Do I want to get yelled at now on the phone . . . or later?
22. Any hidden talents?
KS: I took cooking lessons because there were some basic things about broilers that scared me. It was my first experience in the classroom in 16 years, and before long, I was in the back making fun of the teacher. I thought, Okay, this is stupid, so I moved up to the front and learned something.
23. Have you ever splurged after a good payday?
KS: I have a very beautiful guitar collection. I've been in a bunch of bands and that's what I wanted to do, but I just wan't good enough, so now I collect guitars.
24. Whats the most important lesson you've learned in life?
KS: It's easy to take the most important thing in your life for granted. It can be gone before you realize how important it was.
by Jennifer Kasle Furmaniak
Cosmopolitan, November 2002, Vol. 233, No 5
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