Chris Pine and Kiefer Sutherland on their current thriller ‘The Contractor’ and understanding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine

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Before joining forces for the new military thriller The contractor, Chris Pine and Kiefer Sutherland separately battled various global threats on the big and small screen. In recent weeks, both action stars have seen one of their fictional enemies make headlines. In 2010, Sutherland’s super agent, Jack Bauer, fought in the eighth season of 24† Four years later, Pine played another famous super agent, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, who was on the trail of corrupt Russian oligarchs in Kenneth’s Branagh’s. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country’s government and its wealthiest citizens are once again seen as international villains. And both Pine and Sutherland note how their past adventures seem newly relevant. “I think we were on to something then,” Pine says of… Recruit shadows† “Of course it’s terrible what’s happening there, but hopefully as an artist you can entertain and also raise deeper questions.” (Watch our video interview above.)

Sutherland, for his part, follows news from Ukraine and recalls a news interview with a 14-year-old refugee who fled the war-torn country for Poland and was separated from her family in the process. “She cried, and what she cried about wasn’t what you think it is” [was about]’, he says. “It wasn’t about the separation from her family, and it wasn’t about the fact that her house had been bombed. She couldn’t understand how this could happen in 2022.”

“And that’s what I can’t get my [head around]: I understand a hole – they are everywhere,” Sutherland continues, seemingly referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But I can’t understand how they are allowed to do it. And I think that’s something like a world that we’re really going to have to deal with, because too few people have too much power and one person is allowed to disrupt our lives. This has disrupted the whole world. The math just isn’t right.”

Kiefer Sutherland plays an Erik Prince-esque character The contractor† (Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Courtesy Paramount Pictures)

Although it tells a fictional story, The contractor is also very rooted in real world events. Written by JP Davis and directed by Tarik Saleh, Pine stars as former soldier James Harper, who is let loose by the military and finds a lucrative job with Sutherland’s private contractor Rusty Jennings.

Unlike the larger private contractors—think Blackwater founder Erik Prince, whom the film scornfully refers to—Jennings likes to think of his outfit as a family. But when Harper and his friend Mike (Ben Foster) are sent abroad on a mission that goes awry, that family inevitably turns against each other.

Pine previously explored the theme of a person betrayed by an institution he trusted in the 2016 drama Hell or high water, which also featured Foster. “I don’t know why I was forced to do that,” he notes. “Just in terms of story structure, I think we’re always interested in heroes who defy convention or norms and follow their own inner moral compass. We find courage and courage in that and hope to be as strong as they are.”

Chris Pine as James Harper in The Contractor.  (Photo: Vlad Cioplea / Courtesy Paramount Pictures)

Chris Pine as James Harper in The contractor† (Photo: Vlad Cioplea / Courtesy Paramount Pictures)

Asked if there are any institutions he questions in his own life, the actor says he has a “heightened awareness” about how money has been able to influence politics and distinguish a democracy from a corporatocracy. To make The contractor also changed his perception of what America asks of its soldiers.

“We, as a nation-state, indoctrinate young men and women to fight wars on our behalf,” he says. “By doing this, you train people to kill and maim and injure – it’s an essential part of what it means to be a warrior. Then, after fighting for us, we ask these people to return to come home … and be normal again. But we don’t often consider the enormous psychological and emotional toll that those actions have on the individual. This film puts those issues to mind.”

Sutherland agrees that Americans should be “concerned” about how private contractors are taking advantage of the fragile mental states of former soldiers. “You’ve been told you’re part of this Marine family, or this Navy SEALs family, and then you’re not, and that’s very hard to deal with,” he notes. “These guys are so tough, but also so emotionally raw, because of the way they are let loose [from the military]† And that need to belong makes you very vulnerable, and [private contractors] take advantage of that.”

Chris Pine is a man on a mission in The Contractor.  (Photo: Vlad Cioplea / Courtesy Paramount Pictures)

James Harper (Pine) is left behind enemy lines in The contractor† (Photo: Vlad Cioplea / Courtesy Paramount Pictures)

Sutherland also notes that: The contractorThe country’s message cannot be reduced to “Yay America” ​​or “Bad America” ​​when it comes to the country’s involvement in foreign affairs. “Being considered the number one army in the world comes with a responsibility. We want our country to be respected and revered rather than reviled. So these are the things we’ll be dealing with.”

The contractor will premiere Friday, April 1, in theaters and on most VOD services.

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