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"That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry."
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August 21 2007

Donald Sutherland brings the ham and cheese. Sutherland's turn as Merrick in the original Buffy movie is one of 20 supporting performances Entertainment Weekly readers can't support.

I'm fairly certain Joss himself is familiar with not being able to support Mr. Sutherland.

to be honest i didn't think he was that bad. nothing special, but certainly not horrendous. the stories we've heard about he acted on the set and with relation to the script were pretty crappy though
Gotta agree with vocah on this one.
I very rarely believe any of the various internet/media rumours about clashes between actors and actors, or actors and writers, or whatever else, that do the rounds. Most of the time it turns out to be entirely false or at the very least it is usually the case that the chinese whisper nature of the internet totally blows the whole deal out of proportion. A single innocent comment made in jest can be turned into a full scale war in the space of a day. Not that I don't think that arguments go on behind the scenes of a television show or movie. I just tend to think that it is usually nothing of any great importance and that it has little or nothing to do with us anyway. The media and public obsession with celebs has made the stuff that goes on behind the camera more important than the shows themselves. Kinda strange.

This is one of those few occasions where we are able to determine that the problem between Joss and Sutherland is an actual fact, thanks to comments made by Joss. It's also one of the very few occasions where I have allowed the incident to effect my opinion of the actor. It's a shame, because I actually do think he is good at what he does, but knowing what happened on the Buffy movie set has left me with an opinion of the guy that prevents me from really enjoying anything he has done since. It's a really petty way to be and it's not an opinion that I'm particularly proud of but there it is.

On the other hand, his son rocks. :)
Pity his son can't act ;)
I haven't heard about the drama of Sutherland on the Buffy set. Someone want to link me or shed the light on top of my head?

On a side note, I remember being 12 years old and walking 14 blocks from my mom's house to my dad's house because I forgot my copy of Buffy (movie) over there.

[ edited by death is my gift on 2007-08-21 14:44 ]
Just got myself a copy of the movie, along with my Serenity CE.
Have to complete my Joss collection.
Aww. C'mon, Pumps! No other actor in the world can say "DAMMIT" with the same conviction as Kiefer Sutherland.

I'm a little biased here, 24 being one of my favourite series, but I actually don't think that Kiefer is that bad an actor. Certainly no worse than many that get regular television gigs these days, DAMMIT! ;)

EDIT: REALLY late typo correction that likely nobody else will ever see or care about...

[ edited by Kaine on 2007-12-20 17:10 ]
I think it's getting re-released again in September. Dunno why, I've tried to burn it out of my mind many a times.
I liked the original movie all right. Compared to other movies it wasnt that bad.


I dont care how Sutherland acted on the set. 'It is the tale and not he who tells it.'
Those who base their opinion of Kiefer's acting skills solely on 24 need to watch Dark City.
hey death is my gift,

According to Joss, Sutherland was really disdainful of the buffy script and even went so far as to change his lines every now and again. i'm pretty sure thats the story.
Really cheap. There's such a thing as improvising things on the set. Joss has mentioned that he loves when actors do that. you try something that could add to the story and see if it works or not.
Apparently Sutherland was changing things up to the point where scenes didn't make sense anymore. Actually i just found the quote. i think its from an A.V. Club interview.

Joss Whedon: No, no, he was just a prick. The thing is, people always make fun of Rutger Hauer [for his Buffy role]. Even though he was big and silly and looked kind of goofy in the movie, I have to give him credit, because he was there. He was into it. Whereas Donald was just... He would rewrite all his dialogue, and the director would let him. He can't write - he's not a writer - so the dialogue would not make sense. And he had a very bad attitude. He was incredibly rude to the director, he was rude to everyone around him, he was just a real pain. And to see him destroying my stuff... Some people didn't notice. Some people liked him in the movie. Because he's Donald Sutherland. He's a great actor. He can read the phone book, and I'm interested. But the thing is, he acts well enough that you didn't notice, with his little rewrites, and his little ideas about what his character should do, that he was actually destroying the movie more than Rutger was. So I got out of there. I had to run away.

pretty heavy yeah? i've never heard anyone in hollywood be that specific about someone being a prat. you'd think joss would have been blacklisted by some people but i guess not. Maybe everyone else feels the same way.
vocah...hey thanks for posting that. It's not hard to believe. Plus, why would Joss lie about something like that? Now I have to rewatch the movie and pay special attention to Sutherland's dialog.
I can all too easily imagine Sutherland the Elder being dire on set. Don't know why, since I have no interpersonal experience with him, but it just makes sense to me. Maybe I assume actors of that stature are difficult unless I hear otherwise.

I loved Sutherland in "Don't Look Now," because, as Joss said, he really is a very good actor. My memory of Buffy the Movie is largely me feeling annoyed and horrified that *this* is what happened to the great script (floating around online; it really is a great script), and truthfully, Sutherland's performance didn't stand out for me one way or another. Pee Wee Herman, on the other hand, was phenomenally good. That dying scene.....
The Buffy movie was, I believe, a painful experience for Joss: he was young and had no power. He was evidently willing accept that the director had a right to her vision, but having Donald Sutherland throw out the script (and of course his character would have been carrying the exposition) and ad lib his way through the film pretty much cut the legs out of everything Joss had tried to do.
We have all been blessed to have been able to enjoy seven season's of Joss' real vision for Buffy on television, and now the kick ass 8th season in comics. It is a pity that film couldn't just be destroyed.
I have unfortunately had to deal with Sutherland in person. After my experience with him, I completely believe every negative thing ever said about him.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2007-08-21 17:39 ]
I saw Donald Sutherland live in Edward Albee's stage version of Lolita. He's a terrific actor. And if you believe in karma, that production (one performance only, folks) may have been payback for a multitude of sins....
Very true, Lady Brick. I never understood the Dark City hype until I watched it. It's kind of what The Matrix might have been like had Terry Gilliam been at the helm... but that doesn't do justice to it, either.
What I'd sort of like to see; a remake with a framing sequence of SMG (not Kristy, sorry) running into Luke Perry in a diner or coffee shop or coffee bar and reminiscing a bit and having teen casT doing the story as Joss basically envisioned wiht such tweaks as required by later continuity.
I know I'm in the minority here but I like the movie. I own it. I watch it about every six months or so. It is more of a nostalgia thing for me though. When I was 13 there weren't many ass-kickin' girls for me to look up to. But now thanks to Joss, I have a few.
I am also rather fond of the film. It has obvious faults, but it also has its own charm. As for Donald Sutherland, whatever his failings behind the camera, the fact remains that he is a superb actor. Films like 'M*A*S*H', 'Klute' and 'Don't Look Now' speak for themselves.
Pee Wee Herman, on the other hand, was phenomenally good. That dying scene.....


I loved Pee Wee's death scene. (It's sorta what I expected from William Shatner when they killed Kirk, but no. His death was so un-Kirk.) I thought the film was funny, but when I saw it I had no idea what Joss had in mind when he wrote it. Once I saw Buffy the series, it was easy to see why he was upset with the movie. I don't hate it, though. And now I'm going to have to go back and pay more attention to Sutherland's lines.
Sutherland has admitted that he tried to get Robert Altman fired by Fox from "MASH" because he was frightened by Altman's unconventional technique. That's certainly behavior most filmmakers would find uncool in the extreme.
I met him at The Plaza Hotel in NYC when I was working as a desk clerk. He is an ass. Rude, mean, jerk. Okay, those of you who actually know me, know I come from the school if of "if you can't say anything nice...." but he is someone I wish my friends will avoid for thier own good. I've met many famous people in my life and he is in my top ten jerks list.

When I heard about his behavior on Buffy it just reinforced what I knew about him. And can we just say "bad acting?"
The low opinion of Donald Sutherland I'm reading (I already know about Joss' opinion) is so ironic because his appearance on Inside the Actor's Studio is one of my favorites. Hearing him talk about craft, his life, was very illuminating for me. And there was no arrogance at all in his demeanor with Lipton, at all, no affectedness or evidence of temper. I remember he told a very funny story about when he was a boy, and had to do with how no-nonsense his family, and particularly his mother was. He asked his mother if she thought he was handsome (this isn't exact since I don't have a transcript). She paused for a moment and said, "Donald, your face has character."

He had a lot of praise for Robert Redford and Mary Tyler Moore when talking about filming Ordinary People, and talked about "the scene" where he tells Beth he's not sure he loves her anymore and how that was accomplished (re-done after the original shoot). Filmmaking is so fascinating. It makes my stomach hurt he's so unkind to people. Apparently.
A lot of the guys you run into with the name "Donald" seem to have this personality quirk: Donald Sutherland, Donald Rumsfeld, Donald Trump, Donald Duck... OK, cheap shot. But maybe they're compensating for something.
Take that back about Donald Duck!
TamaraC is right. Although Donald Duck made his fortune on his reputation for being a jerk, that was the character he was playing. Does anyone have any evidence of him ever being a jerk in real life? Fair is fair.

As far as Donald Sutherland goes, I have never had any personal dealings with him and that sounds like a good thing. I have no problem enjoying his work, whatever his personality, and I do enjoy his work.

Kiefer Sutherland's statement on Inside the Actor's Studio about what his father was like when he was living with him as a child keeps occurring to me. It went something like, he was the kind of guy who thought the way to fix a hole in the seat of your pants was to pain your ass black. It seemed to give and interesting insight into the way he thinks.
Tonya J, mabye Sutherland didn't seem arrogant or affected because few do that better than Lipton! (Being affected, anyway.) Oh, it's just my opinion, of course. Lipton can at times set my teeth on edge but that's just me. I still try to catch his show when someone I find interesting is on. He does elicit really interesting stuff from people.

I suspect celebs like Sutherland are more, er, respectful when they're interacting with someone who "matters," i.e., another celebrity or at least another public personage, which would be Lipton. I've always felt that it was a celebrity's attitude shown towards those deemed not to count, or not to count too much, that is the most telling. Joss has said on many occasions that writers are usually one of the lowest on the movie totem pole (versus in TV), so his experience with Sutherland on the Buffy movie seems pretty telling to me, especially in light of others' experiences.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2007-08-22 17:17 ]
that keifer sutherland actor's studio quote is priceless. i've never heard that before.

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