Donald Sutherland takes the subtext of ‘Catching Fire’ very seriously

We may be living in an age where genre material has become completely dominant, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily treated with any more respect than it was in the past.

Donald Sutherland didn’t have a huge presence in the first “Hunger Games” film, but when I spoke to him about that movie, it was obvious that he felt like the books offered up some great meaty subtext, and he was eager to see if the films would end up reflecting that. This time around, he’s playing a much more prominent role, and President Snow has become an active antagonist instead of just a presence hovering at the edge of things. He is focused on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) now because he’s aware of just how important she could be to the ultimate fate of Panem.

Sometime, I’d love to do a long-form interview with Sutherland about his full body of work. This is a guy who worked with everyone, who was a giant movie star during my favorite era of movie-making, and who helped birth Jack Bauer. Sutherland is about as badass as badass gets, and one of the nice fringe benefits of him getting cast in something like that that speaks to a younger generation of filmgoers is that it may inspire some of them to go back and check out some of his earlier work.

Honestly, it delights me to imagine a bunch of “Hunger Games” fans deciding to watch “Don’t Look Now” one night. When Sutherland says that someone mentioned “Klute” to him, that’s equally awesome to imagine.

Sutherland continues to work non-stop these days, and he’s just recently finished a film where he’s playing father and son with Kiefer Sutherland, and he recently wrapped work on a film directed by Jason Stone, who directed the original short “Jay and Seth Versus The Apocalypse,” the inspiration for “This Is The End.” I love that he can continue to work on big films as well as smaller indie films. His work ethic is inspirational, and I love that he takes a movie like “Catching Fire” as seriously as he does.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens everywhere on Friday.