TODAY   |  February 07, 2014

Kiefer Sutherland has evil role in ‘Pompeii’ film

The Emmy-winning actor joins TODAY to chat about his role in the new 3-D action-adventure film “Pompeii” as a corrupt Roman senator.  Sutherland said the script was “beautifully written.” He also talks about the return of his hit show “24.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> kiefer sutherland is back on the big screen starring in a new 3d action adventure . he plays a corrupt roman senator with a particularly arrogant and evil side. take a look.

>> i will be grateful for your mercy.

>> this is your lucky day , slave, the lady has saved your life. who owns this slave?

>> i do, senator.

>> then i suggest you punish it and remove it. 15 lashes should suffice. after all, mercy is a virtue.

>> kiefer sutherland , good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> you're a really bad, bad, bad guy in this movie. was that fun?

>> it was kind of fun. this is such a classic film in this kind of genre and nature. and the good people were good and the bad people were bad. and there's no kind of gray area . and for an actor, that's a fantastic thing to be able to play. and the dialogue was just so rich, and it was so beautifully written that i had an awful lot of fun.

>> i knew that was part of what drew you to the role, as i understand it, you were a little bit skeptical. you didn't think this was a kiefer sutherland movie?

>> it was described to me poorly. it was an action movie that kind of runs into a disaster film . and that -- at that moment didn't sound that appealing to me. i don't think that's what i want to do right now. and some people talked to me and said trust me, you should read it. and the story was so beautifully written. all the characters were unbelievably well developed. and i was very lucky and kind of changed my mind quickly.

>> the movie doesn't skimp on the effects. the production values are amazing.

>> i've done "24" for eight years, and so it's been a long time since i've done a film that was this big. this is a big $100 million movie. and it looks every penny of it. that was a real different process for me. on "24" we're shooting very fast and making the equivalent of 12 films a year. we did this two-hour movie almost over the same amount of time. but visually, it's stunning. and it's also a piece of history that i think is actually really timely. i think in the last ten years between tsunamis and earthquakes, we've really come to terms with mother nature and her power and certainly the eruption of that volcano and the disruption of that society is something that kind of will bend your ear.

>> it will. now, you mentioned "24," i'm glad, because i was going to bring it up. your viewers and fans are delighted it's coming back. and i think people were surprised by that. what made you decide to do another run of shows?

>> i was surprised by it, too. howard gordon , our lead writer and has always been on "24" had great success with a show called "homeland." and he called me up one day and said i've got this idea for 12 episodes of "24," would you be interested? i said, do them for "homeland," and he said no, this is for "24." and i've had such a great time making that show. the characters, something i've loved playing. and to be able to shoot it in england, which we're doing these 12 episodes is kind of a real bonus.

>> not to push our luck, but would you do 12 more or "24" the movie.

>> right now, i'm focused on these 12. and i'm nervous about it. it's a huge responsibility. we did eight seasons we were all proud of. so to open the can up again is potentially very dangerous. i'm going to focus on these first.

>> thank you. pleasure to meet you and have you here. and a reminder, "pompeii" opens nationwide on february 21st .