Jack Bauer's crew

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Post by kane on Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:53 pm



Terrorists and foreign operatives have died in the most heinous ways trying to find rogue government agent Jack Bauer's soft spot.

It turns out that they didn't need guns. They didn't need those hellhole Third World interrogation rooms. They didn't even need harsh language to break him down.

Despite being most-recognized as the world-saving Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sutherland's acting talent allows him to play a wide range of roles.

They just needed Bambi.

Not a sexy CIA spy girl with that name, but the Disney animated deer that makes "24" star Kiefer Sutherland become a pile of mush.

"I remember seeing 'Bambi' as a kid, and I just felt really strongly about that deer. It moved me so much," Sutherland says. "When the mother got killed and all that ..."

His voice trails off.

"Bambi really had the struggle of growing up," Sutherland says. "I guess I saw that movie at 7 or 8. 'Cinderella' was more designed for my sister to enjoy. But as a guy, I felt OK about really feeling for that little animal."

This brings Sutherland to his new animated fare "Monsters Vs. Aliens," one of the most awaited films of the spring season. "The thing I like so much about animated films is they have a strong moral core to the stories.

"Yeah, when I got a little bit older, I started liking live-action films ... and then westerns," says the 43-year-old son of actor Donald Sutherland. "But a few years ago, I saw 'Finding Nemo' and it reminded me of how extraordinary animated films can be. You have a story that's broad in scope. Everyone can identify with the issues. And if it's done right they don't try to hit you with a strong, moral platform, but it's there. It's just there if you look a little bit deeper."

For instance: It takes a village of monsters to save the world in "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Opening Friday, it revolves around a young girl (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) who is hit by a meteorite from outer space and turned into a giant. At a secret government compound, she meets up with a mismatched group of monsters. This crew of mutant heroes who must save the world as we know it from the evil alien Gallaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson). A galaxy of Hollywood A-listers provide the pipes for the other roles, including Seth Rogen as B.O.B., Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D, Will Arnett as the Missing Link and Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway.

Sutherland plays Gen. W.R. Monger, who oversees the monster lockup. "He's really spent almost his entire career in this kind of relative obscurity just because the prison that he was in charge of was supposed to be kept private," the actor says.

"All of a sudden through this one gleaming moment he's is the center of the story. He's needed. There is a great excitement for him about that fact."

The character is inspired from his favorite 'toon icons. "For whatever reason, I just thought this guy should have kind of a hint of a Southern flair. Hiding for as long as he has in that prison, I also figured that he would tend to get a little eccentric and become larger than life," he says. "So, I was just kind of goofing around in that voice. It came out and after a few sessions in the recording booth, I started to realize that I had to be quite careful not to sound exactly like Yosemite Sam."

He mostly sounds harried, hot under the collar and hurried in this season's riveting "24," which unfolds each Monday night on Fox.

It's the White House and the first female president (Cherry Jones) that need some saving from Jack Bauer this time around. He carefully averted the blowing up of the White House, only to find out that the president's snotty daughter might not have the best intentions.

Sutherland has starred on the series since 2001. "Doing a movie for kids was so massively different than the tense plots of '24,' " he admits. "It really was a nice break to be able to do something that was comic and fun. Yeah, we're saving the world, but the movie is a little lighter look at that idea."

It's not that he would trade a minute of playing Bauer.

"The series has been an unbelievable experience," he says. "I've been so involved with that character of Jack for such a long period of time that I think the enjoyment that I get from it now is being able to discover those really small aspects of his personality, because I know him so well now. I know him inside out.

"But the great enjoyment about doing an animated film was that unlike Jack I wasn't limited by my own physicality. I had absolute freedom to do whatever I wanted as a human form, which was liberating," he says. "It's not like Jack Bauer can forget the laws of physical science and just do whatever he wants ... although he does enough of that during each episode in his human way."

Sutherland's daughter Sarah is now grown, but the divorced actor says that she will catch "Monsters vs. Aliens" because she's also an animation fan from an early age.

He says they had their share of 'toon nights. "When she was little, Winnie the Pooh was just on a constant cycle," he says. "She used to sit and watch the movie over and over again. She was the reason I actually started to think that TV was interactive because Sarah would watch Winnie the Pooh and try to warn Piglet to slow down because if he kept running he was going to fall into the hole.

"She would go, 'Slow down, Piglet, slow down.' And Piglet would fall into the hole each time. My daughter would say to the TV, 'I told you to slow down.' She would have these unbelievable conversations with the movies."

Sutherland says it cracked him up. "I remember that so fondly because it used to make me laugh so hard. She was always watching and warning, but nothing ever changed."

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