Donald Sutherland’s grumpy old man routine steals show at Cannes


Donald Sutherland's grumpy old man routine steals show at Cannes

Cannes (France) (AFP) – He is not even in a film at Cannes but the veteran actor Donald Sutherland stole the show Wednesday by playing the grumpy old man of the festival’s jury.

The 80-year-old star of “Klute” and “M*A*S*H” — who heads an acting dynasty that includes his son Kiefer Sutherland and granddaughter Sarah — had reporters in stitches as he grouched about the unseasonal wet weather on the French Riviera.

“I am freezing,” he growled when asked a question about what he thinks of his fellow Canadian Xavier Dolan, whose film “It’s Only the End of the World” is in the running for the Palme d’Or — which Sutherland will help decide.

When pressed if he wanted to answer the question, he said “No”.

“My back is freezing down here,” he repeated in French before dismissing another question on Canadian cinema with a killer putdown.

“I kind of gave up talking about Canadian cinema a long time ago,” he said, before telling a joke about a British, French and a Canadian soldier who are about to be shot by the Germans during World War II.

“They were each given an opportunity to have a last wish. The Brit goes for a cup of tea, the Canadian asked for 15 minutes to talk about Canadian identity and the Frenchman asked to be shot before the Canadian.

“And I am still freezing. Seriously,” he said as the press conference erupted into laughter.

– ‘Up for bribes’ –

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen had earlier raised a much more awkward titter when he suggested that he was open for bribes.

The Bond baddie in “Casino Royale” had been asked whether he felt awkward about being on the jury when the new film by his friend and mentor, Nicolas Winding Refn, was in the running for the Palme d’Or.

Mikkelsen admitted that in the interests of transparency, he fully expected to be dropped from the nine-person jury of the world’s most prestigious film festival, chaired by Australian “Mad Max” creator George Miller. 

“I thought I might get a phone call telling me I was no longer on the jury because that would be the case if you were a judge in real life.

“We had a word yesterday,” the actor said, referring to Miller.

“We decided that I should go ahead and watch all the films. I love Nicolas but I will view his films like any other film and I will be up for bribes as well.” 

Miller described the jury, which also contains the Hollywood star Kirsten Dunst and singer Vanessa Paradis, as “sincere and rigorous. We are nine people and we are turning into a nine-headed beast,” he said.

Canadian actor Donald Sutherland had reporters in stitches as he grouched about the unseasonal wet weather on the French Riviera
Copyright AFP Valery Hache