Kiefer Sutherland on Rabbit Hole, the tense new Paramount+ thriller

by W. Andrew Powell

Head down the Rabbit Hole with Kiefer Sutherland in the new Paramount+ series that dives into conspiracies and corporate espionage.

Sutherland stars as John Weir, a man with a certain set of skills for making things turn out the way he wants. He runs a firm that helps nudge corporations into doing what his clients want. He’s a clever man, but when one case goes off the rails, he’s left trying to solve it, even though he’s at the very centre of it all.

Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir
Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir

The star of 24, the award winning actor made a name for himself in classics like Stand by Me, The Lost Boys, Young Guns, Flatliners, Dark City, and Melancholia. Making the leap into Rabbit Hole came fairly easily thanks to a great concept, character, and of course one key element.

“Well, at the end of the day, it’s always going to be the script, script, script, right? That’s the only thing that really matters,” Sutherland said.

“You can have the best cinematographer in the world, you can have the most amazing cast, but if the script isn’t good, who cares? It’s the foundation of whatever house you’re going to try and build.”

“So I had a phone call with [series creators] John [Requa] and Glenn [Ficarra], who had this idea of [doing] a thriller and wanting to really hearken back to the seventies; Three Days of the Condor, Manchurian Candidate, Marathon Man, Parallax View, and these were all the films that I grew up watching and hoping, one day I’m going to make a movie like that.”

“I love that genre, I’ve had success with that genre–with 24 for almost a decade–and then they started talking about the character they wanted to develop and the intricacies of that character, and what were his strengths, and what were his weaknesses.”

Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir and Meta Golding as Hailey Winton

After talking about the role and the series, “I never expected to talk to them for another year,” he said. “Six or eight weeks later, they had a script and they gave it to me, and what was so amazing was that every single point that we had discussed on the phone was in that first pilot script.”

Compared to Jack Bauer, a character that Sutherland called a “blunt instrument” in terms of getting things done, John Weird is very different. He’s calculating every move, planning far ahead, and manipulating the situation all the time.

Working alongside Charles Dance, and the incredible Meta Golding as Hailey Winton, Sutherland enjoyed the time on set and the opportunity to work with the talented actors.

“Meta is amazing,” he said. “A lot of the stuff with her was really beautifully woven with her sarcasm and my sarcasm… her timing is just so and impeccable, and she’ll do a double take better than anybody in the business.”

“And then Charlie Dance is one of those actors that I’ve just admired for 25 years, and he has so much weight and he brings so much power to bear, which is interesting because knowing him now as a friend, as a person, he turns that on and off and like a light switch”

“The very first day that we worked together, he had a scene in a Chinese restaurant where he recites this idea of the manifesto of how to take charge of government, and it was a long scene and it was all him. And he just blew the room away.”

Rabbit Hole premieres on Paramount+ March 26. Watch the full interview with Kiefer Sutherland above.

Rob Yang as Edward Homm, Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir, Meta Golding as Hailey Winton and Charles Dance as Ben Wilson, from the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole.

Series photos courtesy Brian Bowen Smith/Paramount+

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