The clock is ticking. One minute, two minutes, and then 18 minutes into an interview with Kiefer Sutherland, the question drops: Would he ever consider returning to his legendary “24” character Jack Bauer?
In his soft-spoken voice, the actor/musician who famously counted time down in clicks said, “If I know one thing in life it’s I’ve learned not to say no. When we finished the eighth season of ‘24,’ I said no. Then we came back and did a ninth season.”
“I miss Jack,” confessed the 52-year-old. “But I do have to wonder, ‘How many bad days can one guy have?’ Then I’ll answer it myself and say, ‘Maybe just one more.’ ”
While fans mull that one over, Sutherland is definitely spending a cool 24 hours in Vegas soon, not to act but to sing at Red Rock Resort on Saturday, Dec. 14. The star of films including “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys,” “A Few Good Men” and recently TV’s “Designated Survivor” will bring the Kiefer Sutherland Band to town. “Songs are the closest things I’ve ever had to a journal or diary,” said the intensely private actor.
What is your idea of the perfect Sunday?
Kiefer Sutherland: A perfect Sunday in Los Angeles is to sleep in, get up at 10 in the morning, turn on the television, and then the football starts. I end that at 10 that night. I love just watching the games. Add one good meal that I’ll probably make myself. Sunday is all about just taking it easy.
Are you excited to play Vegas?
Yeah, I’ve certainly been to Vegas many times in my life to play there. It’s such an honor to come to Vegas to work. You have so many great performers playing there on any given night, so it’s a real treat to be in the mix. It’s very nice to play at a venue for people who are from Vegas as much as it is for the people pass through the town. The locals really want to see a specific artist, which I find very flattering. Then there are people given tickets to a show who discover you, which is great, too.
When did you know that you wanted to sing?
It wasn’t calculated. Maybe I wish I had thought out a separate career in music. The truth is several years ago, I had a bunch of songs I wrote that I really liked. I thought about sending them to publishers to see if other artists might record them. I recorded a few as an example and people really liked the way the songs were sounding. I ended up making the first record and the response was so positive that I made a second.
What has been the most surprising thing about having a music career?
The thing is I have surprised the fans. I’ve spent 30 years as an actor, but I am not Jack Bauer. He’s a character. These songs are not from a character, but from me. They’re personal songs. For instance, I have a song about my mother and another about my daughter.”
How hard was it to reveal so much of your inner emotions in your songs?
I spent 30 years being quite private. With music, you have to share some personal moments — some happy, some sad. It might have felt uncomfortable at first to be revealing, but not anymore. I knew with music that I had to be really honest about myself. But it took a little while to get used to it. … I found there was an amazing reaction from the audience. I guess the best way to explain it is, on a good night, any preconceived notion audiences had about me or I had about them is changed. We walk away realizing we have so much more in common than we thought. … All of us face falling in love, heartbreak and the loss of a loved one. Those are the kind of things I write about. Writing songs has been a very cathartic experience for me.
Do you remember the first time you came to Vegas?
I do remember! I was 13 years old, and I came to visit my Dad (actor Donald Sutherland). It was me and my twin sister. We came from Canada to see Dad because his parents lived in Vegas. One night, Dad told me he was taking me to a show at Caesars Palace. I remember thinking, ‘Oh God, I have to go see some performer do dinner theater?’ Turns out, he took me to see Ann-Margret. It was one of the greatest shows I’d seen in my life. Ann-Margret killed it! I had a crush on her for the next 10 years. In fact, I have a picture of myself at 13 with Ann-Margret. There I am with really long hair and this goofy corduroy blazer. When my kids really want to embarrass me, they pull out that picture.
I know you’re a big hockey fan. Don’t want to start something here, but …
It’s so amazing that Vegas formed a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final. I’m a guy who comes from Toronto who cheers one of the premiere teams (Toronto Maple Leafs). We haven’t won a cup since 1967. It’s incredible what you guys did. I would love to go see the Vegas Golden Knights play. I hear it’s quite a party in your stadium.
What’s next for you on the big or small screen?
I just finished shooting an adaptation of “The Fugitive.” I got to work with director Stephen Hopkins. He did the first season of “24” as a director. It is one of the best scripts I’ve read in a very long time. I play Detective Clay Bryce who is trying to apprehend Mike Ferro (Boyd Holbrook). I’m the Tommy Lee Jones who is chasing the fugitive. The characters are just written so beautifully. I’m really excited to have people check it out.
Can you sense a hit show?
Every time you take on a project, you have all the hope in the world it will be good. Over a lifetime, some are good, some are not. This one I’m really excited about and I’m very proud.
So back to Jack … is there a chance? Our clock is ticking.
It was such a pleasure to do that character. It was the highlight of my career, and I miss him. Again, I’ve learned not to say no to anything. Maybe we’ll figure something out. I would not be the one person to say no. Last time we saw him, poor Jack was captured by the Chinese. We’ll see if something happens.