Donald Sutherland was ‘in awe’ of son Kiefer while filming ‘Forsaken,’ says director

Donald Sutherland was 'in awe' of son Kiefer while filming 'Forsaken,' says director

There was a moment when Donald Sutherland was shooting the 2015 Canadian western “Forsaken” that he pulled aside the director for a private note.

The film marked the first and only time he had acted opposite son Kiefer Sutherland, and they were cast as a former gunslinger and his estranged father who confronted a merciless businessman in 1872 Wyoming.

After filming a pivotal scene where the pair get into a heated argument, Maltese-Canadian director Jon Cassar says the elder Sutherland turned to him.

“He said, ‘I knew he was a good actor, but he’s really, really good.’ He was talking about Kiefer,'” Cassar says as he recalls the famous duo’s relationship.

“I think both of them were in awe of each other in a way.”

Kiefer said Thursday that his father had died at age 88.

Cassar met Kiefer while directing the Fox action drama “24” and the actor expressed interest in working with his father.

“Kiefer said to me, ‘You know, I’d love to do a Western with my father. I’ve never really done a movie with him. We’ve been in movies together, but we never had scenes together.”

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Shared credits include 1983’s “Max Dugan Returns” and 1996’s “A Time to Kill.” Cassar says they had 30 scenes together in “Forsaken,” which was shot in Calgary in 2013.

“Kiefer and I had many conversations about how much fun he was having filming the movie with Donald,” he says.

“He was in awe of his father already, but he realized even more so how incredible he was once they started acting together.”

Cassar says Donald Sutherland was “the kind of actor you always hope for.”

“He was an actor that’s prepared, one that knows his character, one that’s going to bring something new to it all the time. He gives you things you don’t expect. Usually, they’re really good and make the film better.”

Cassar says Sutherland was very “outspoken” about the film’s edits and sent “flurries” of emails to him with his thoughts.

He recalls sitting beside Sutherland at the 2015 premiere of “Forsaken” at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“I was sitting there beside him the whole time nervously thinking, ”I hope he likes it,'” says Cassar.

Before the lights came on, Cassar felt Sutherland tapping on his knee.

“He looked at me and he smiled and said, ‘Good job.’ I thought, ‘Thank God, because if there’s one guy I wanted to make happy, it’s Donald Sutherland.”

By Alex Nino Gheciu

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2024

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