Donald Sutherland is one of the most famous actors in the world, with over 150 film and TV credits to his name. From MASH to Ordinary People to The Hunger Games, the actor hasn’t let his age (he is now 82) get in the way of his prolific career. Tonight, 60 Minutes will air a repeat episode of Sutherland, where they will get into what has inspired, scared, and ignited him throughout his career.
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Donald Sutherland has defied ‘type’ in the many roles he’s played over the past six decades. Not necessarily the “boy next door”, as he was once told at an audition, Sutherland has played many leading men– perhaps some that are a bit ‘off’ to most of us– as well as bad guys, leaders, and losers.
At one point in tonight’s interview with Anderson Cooper, Cooper says, “A lot of the roles you take on though are not always sympathetic.” Sutherland responds, “They’re not sympathetic to you. But they’re sympathetic to me.”
Sutherland explains that one of the most important things for him to cultivate during filming is a close relationship with the director. So close, in fact, that he refers to them as a “love affair”; which is exactly how he describes his relationship with Italian director Federico Fellini. “Why do you see it in romantic terms,” Cooper asks. “Becuase it is,” Sutherland retorts.
It was an accidental and not-so-big role in Dirty Dozen that earned him a leading role on MASH. He then went on to play a tank commander in Kelly’s Heroes, followed by a detective in Klute. Interestingly enough, though, Sutherland has never been overly concerned with the ‘trajectory’ of his career. Speaking of that trajectory, he says, “… mine is, like, a great, big wooden platter of fruits and pasta and chicken salad and a soup and– a banana, you know. It’s a whole bunch of different things. You might not like everything on the thing. But you can go and grab something and peel it and eat it and like it.”