Donald Sutherland Describes His Experience on The Mechanic
01.18.11 by Ryan
Donald Sutherland's role in the upcoming remake of The Mechanic won't be a lead role, but it will be a pivotal one, a habit Sutherland has created with roles in movies like JFK and The Italian Job, among others. In a webchat with Empire, Sutherland had another way to describe it: "My job is to go in and die, and I love it."
Sutherland's latest dying character is The Mechanic's Harry McKenna, the mentor of an elite assassin (Jason Statham) whose death is the catalyst for the partnership between Statham and Sutherland's son (Ben Foster). During the webchat, Sutherland called the experience of working on The Mechanic "blissful," and praised the movie's direction and performances, revealing that The Mechanic rises above the average action movie.
I was only there for two days, but my experience watching it was blissful. [Director] Simon West did an absolutely fantastic job of taking what is essentially an action picture, and it is perfectly dressed action picture; the action is created in an imaginative way without being explicit or crude; the sex is there but it's never over the top or exploitative. But the key to it all is that underneath all of that is a narrative that is perfectly cogent and coherent and that examines psychologically the relationship between fathers and sons; in this case my character, who is the surrogate father of Jason Statham, and the biological father of Ben Foster.
After my death, those two boys have to sort it out for each other. I have no respect for my actual son, and I have immense love for my surrogate son, and the evolution of that dilemma, the resolution of that dilemma, is just wonderful to watch. Those two actors, Jason has come into his own. There's a scene at the end of the picture, in the cab of a truck, where he expresses as perfectly as any actor could, the melange of guilt, loss, grief, love and regret. I was quite blown away. And Ben Foster, who's a terrific actor, is just brilliant. He does an extraordinary job of creating a neglected son, a son who is resented and resents, who hates and loves, who's vain and arrogant and selfish and smug and stupid and bright. He's fantastic; it's just the most wonderful movie.
While talking to Den of Geek, Sutherland said that The Mechanic will appeal to a particular audience of moviegoers.
But I tell you who should really go [see the film] is any son who's got a father, and any father who has a son. Because that actually is what the film is about. It's about the relationship between fathers and sons, surrogate fathers and sons, grief and loss and shame and regret. And hope.
And my hope is that people will go into that cinema, go into it seeing an action picture, and come out of it saying, "I think I should phone my son," or "Maybe I should phone my dad." Or maybe, "My dad and I should go see this together."
The Mechanic opens Jan. 28. The movie was based on the 1972 original starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent in the Statham and Foster roles, respectively.