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Q & A: Kiefer Sutherland Discusses His New FOX Show, Touch

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After an eight season run as Jack Bauer on FOX’s hit TV show, 24, Kiefer Sutherland returns to the small screen starring in the new FOX series, Touch, created by Tim Kring (Heroes).

Sutherland stars as a single, widowed father, Martin Bohm, who struggles to connect with his 11-year-old son Jake (David Mazouz). On tonight’s preview of the “Pilot” episode, Martin discovers that his son is able to predict things before they take place. The episode includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw as social worker Clea Hopkins and guest star Danny Glover as Professor Arthur Teller.

Earlier this week, Sutherland took part in a press call with various media outlets to talk about his new series, what attracted him to the role of Martin Bohm, and about making his return to television.

At what point did you connect with your character and just know that this was a story that you wanted to tell and be a part of?

It was funny. I was doing a play in New York on Broadway. I had a film that I knew I was going to go do and so I read Touch almost reluctantly. I don’t think I was completely ready to go back to television yet. I was enjoying some of the different opportunities that I had had. I think it was around page 30, I remember going, “Oh sh–…” which I just knew I would be so remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity that Touch was. I identified with him out of the gate. There was something interesting, because obviously this is very different than 24.

Yet, there is a real similar through line in the kind of character of the man. Jack Bauer would be faced with unbelievable circumstances in the course of a day and he would never win completely. And this guy is never going to win either. He’s never going to have the quintessential relationship of father and son. And yet, he perseveres and that’s a great kind of character statement and so I identified with him greatly on that and I think as a parent as well, just the sense of responsibility combined with not knowing what to do all the time.

Even though this is again a heightened experience, I think every parent feels that. I certainly can speak for myself and say that I have during Camelia’s pregnancy – for nine months I’d have these great fantasies of how I was going to be the greatest dad on the planet. And then [Sarah] was born and a kind of fear came over me like none other that I’ve ever had in my life. I was confronted with the fact that I really didn’t know what I was doing and it was something that I was going to have to figure out as I went.

And I really relate to Martin on that level and just the dynamic between [him] and the son I just find so extraordinary. So for all of those reasons, those were the first things that grasped me.

Was it just the script that made you come back, or what prompted you to come back to television?

Well, it was a combination of things. I had an unbelievable experience on 24. We shot 198 episodes and I was excited about shooting the 198th as I was the first. So that experience, and I had a great relationship with FOX, both the studio and the network. And so that combined with the script, it wasn’t even really a choice anymore. It was something I knew I had to do.

And I remember thinking about it really strongly when I was crossing the street in New York and the person who I work with, Susan, I remember saying to her if we don’t do this, how are we going to feel in September watching it knowing all of its potential and how great we both think it can be. And that answered my question for me. I didn’t want to be sitting there watching this fantastic show in September if I had had the opportunity to be a part of it.

For people out there that are used to seeing you on 24 as Jack Bauer in sort of that action start sort of role, how do you convince them to give the show a look? How do you convince them that this is going to be just as entertaining, just as interesting and intriguing as that series was?

About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer/Blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, fun.'s Andrew Dost, singer-songwriter Christina Perri, American Idol winners (David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze & Scotty McCreery) and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance. Connect with Kirsten on Twitter & Facebook.