ABC’s freshman drama series “Designated Survivor” tells the story of a political outsider who becomes the leader of the free world — sound familiar? Okay, so Kiefer Sutherland‘s character, Tom Kirkman, comes to power in a slightly different way than Donald Trump, advancing from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to POTUS when the rest of the government literally blows up, but Sutherland still acknowledged parallels between art and life to the Hollywood Reporter during a recent panel discussion.
“We’re in uncharted territory,” Sutherland said. “This show was written long before Trump announced his candidacy, let alone became president. Who would have thought that we would be doing a show that was not only a complete deconstruction of the government followed by the reconstruction of the government, then we would elect a guy who’s main partner [Steve Bannon] is known for saying, ‘I want to tear the government down.'”
This isn’t the first time Sutherland has had the real world creep in on his fictionalized reality. That kind of life-imitating-art-imitating-life feedback loop also happened while he was making the Emmy winning counter-terrorism drama “24.” He explained, “We shot seven months of ’24’ before the terrible day of 9/11. The next year, we decided that we were going to explore domestic terrorism. Three episodes aired, and they caught the guy who was coming into the country through Vancouver with Sarin gas. It was eerie how we were just imagining the worst circumstance possible, create a season of ’24’ around it, and six months later it was happening for real.”
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