Donald Sutherland - Jane Fonda, "Klute", and "Don't Look Now"

Talking about Donald Sutherland's career, one has to discuss the velvet suspense of "Klute", where he's an investigator and Jane Fonda is a prostitute. We watched a scene where Fonda unzips her dress. It came to an end and Sutherland slowly turned his head then said "I guess we'd made love an hour before we shot that". This is not the kind of private information that people offer in TV interviews, so why did Sutherland? The answer, I think, is that his work and life are more intertwined than most. He does not separate his growing confidence as a man and his growing abilities as an actor. They are absolutely bound together. When he looked at Fonda he remembered their passion in front of the cameras and behind. Film-making effects him so much that he named three of his sons after his directors or producers.

Sutherland's time with Fonda politicised him. He spoke against the Vietnam wars and made anti-establishment films. For a while his looks suited the counter culture and he became, along with Barbra Streisand, a bankable star. But looking back it was crazy to expect Sutherland to steer a commercial course. His interests were too wayward, too personal and, as if to prove the point, he made three Italian-themed films which are among the best of his career. One of them, the supernatural thriller "Don't Look Now", looks better every year. The drowning of the child at the beginning, the sex scene with Julie Christie intercut with them getting dressed, and its shocking and terrifying end are all classic moments and he talked about each with great relish.

Donald Sutherland - The Man.

Donald Sutherland after "Don't Look Now".

You can see Mark Cousins talking with Donald Sutherland in Scene by Scene on BBC2, Thursday 22nd March 2001 at 11.20pm.