Kiefer Sutherland Tells ‘Rabbit Hole’ SXSW Audience His Movie Picks – Variety

Charles Dance was never a big Twitter or Facebook user. But now that he’s starring in Paramount+’s new Kiefer Sutherland thriller “Rabbit Hole”? “It has made me more determined to have absolutely nothing to do with social media,” he said. “I mean, I never did anyway, but I sure don’t want to now!”

Paramount+’s “Rabbit Hole” stars Sutherland as John Weir, described as “a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage, framed for assassination by powerful forces that have the ability to influence and control populations.”

A packed Stateside Theater audience saw the first two episodes of “Rabbit Hole” at the South by Southwest festival on Sunday and left with as many questions as answers. Who is on which side? What happens? That’s by design, and creators/showrunners John Requa and Glenn Ficarra told audiences that even after two episodes, they shouldn’t be comfortable thinking they know what’s going on.

“One thing that’s constant in the show is who’s telling the truth,” Sutherland said. “There’s an assumption at the end of Episode 2 that you have an understanding of who you’re following and what story is being told. And I can assure you that that dynamic will change throughout the season until we rests somewhere, and what I find exciting about it is that it requires a degree of audience participation. We’re asking for your involvement in trying to figure out what the truth is and what’s the play here and what characters that’s actually downright… And I think it is, it’s exciting television.”

Requa said the idea for “Rabbit Hole” was born after their agent, who they share with Sutherland, said the “24” star was looking for a new project. They came up with the idea for “Rabbit Hole” and pitched it to Sutherland – and within six weeks they had the script.

“Almost immediately we came up with this idea based on what was going on in the world, all this misinformation,” Requa said. “It kind of reminded us of in the ’70s, after Watergate, there were all these paranoid thrillers. Because everyone was so disillusioned with the government and the institutions, and there was a lot of mistrust. We often like to write things about trust. We wrote it with Kiefer in mind, and it was always meant to be an 8-episode run.”

Sutherland said he was drawn to this return, to films like “Three Days of the Condor,” “Marathon Men,” “All the President’s Men” and “The Parallax View.”

“Those were films that I hoped one day as an actor I would be able to be a part of a version of something like that,” he said. “They wanted to use this background of technology being the real nemesis in our society and how it’s potentially being used for bad. And then they started defining what they wanted the character to be. He was very smart and he had all these amazing facilities, but then they started describing this character who, at the beginning of the episode, went 180 degrees and went from the hunter to the hunted. Those are big opportunities for an actor to play.”

The theme also resonated: “Technology makes it easier and easier to access other people’s personal information. And with that, it opens up a whole new world where we have to create some kind of security level, and it also creates a huge opportunity for some things to go wrong.”

Sutherland said he was also a fan of films Requa and Ficarra had written, particularly “Bad Santa” (“I still think it’s one of the most brilliant scripts ever”) and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (” It’s a go-to” movie for me if I’m having a bad day and want to feel better”).

In addition to Sutherland and Dance, the cast also includes Meta Golding (“Empire”) as Hailey Winton, Enid Graham (“Mare of Easttown”) as Josephine “Jo” Madi, Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”) as Valence, Rob Yang (“Succession “) as Edward Homm and Walt Klink (“The English”) as The Intern. All but Harner were also on stage during the panel.

Ficarra and Requa wrote and directed the first episode and are also showrunners. Executive producers are Kiefer Sutherland, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, Charlie Gogolak, Susan Bymel and Hunt Baldwin.

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