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On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Kiefer Sutherland acknowledges the victims but also shifts focus to “a negative impact” from America’s response to the tragedy.
The actor, who famously played agent Jack Bauer on Fox’s 24, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival, where he’s promoting his latest film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a drama directed by Mira Nair that confronts people’s shifting attitudes post- 9/11.
“9/11 was an unbelievably traumatic event,” he said. “I was in Los Angeles when it happened, and rightfully so, we acknowledge the victims of 9/11 and we think of the people that were in the towers and we think of the people that were in the planes and the families of the people that were lost. But I think, certainly, after (11) years since 9/11, I think it’s an important time to take a look back on all of the other casualties from that day.”
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid, features Sutherland as Jim Cross, boss and mentor to financial analyst Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed) at a Wall Street firm. Kate Hudson plays Cross’ niece, with whom Changez is romantically involved. Disillusioned by the xenophobia sweeping the U.S., he moves to Pakistan, where he becomes a professor and tells his life story to an American journalist (Liev Schreiber), who questions him following the kidnapping of an older professor.
“As Riz’s character articulates, people were scared, they were angry, and we broke down a lot of procedural things that we value so much in the Constitution. And I think those things have had a negative impact on how we dealt with certain aspects of the fallout of 9/11,” said Sutherland.
Nair, who brought the film to both the Venice and Toronto film festivals, joined Sutherland during the interview, adding that it’s “really creating huge conversations, and conversations about the world and oneself in it. I feel very much that I was born to tell stories of these worlds. Because these are worlds I love and know but also worlds that don’t understand each other these days.”
Also stirring up talk: a bizarre statement from Terrence Malick‘s wife, Alexandra “Ecky” Wallace, while introducing a screening of the reclusive director’s latest film, To the Wonder, on Monday night.
“My husband sends salutes to the men and hugs to the women,” she noted. “We love Canada, and, in fact, we thought about becoming Canadian citizens after 9/11. We have much to learn from you.”
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