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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kiefer Sutherland is ready to let audiences get in touch with his emotional side.
Sutherland told reporters on Sunday at the Television Critics Association panels for Fox, held in Los Angeles, that he was ready to transition from repressed action man Jack Bauer in "24" to an emotional father of an autistic son in the new Fox drama "Touch."
"Touch" tells the story of an evolving relationship of a father and his voiceless child who communicates through numbers, drawing connections between seemingly disconnected people and events across the world.
Sutherland said stepping away from the character of Bauer into Martin Brohm, a former journalist and luggage handler whose wife was killed in the September 11 attacks, was refreshing.
"The opportunity that I had in '24' to repress the character, informed the character beautifully for me. To be able to have the antithesis to that in this show, where he can openly show and have an emotional reaction to what is happening at this moment, is another fantastic opportunity," said Sutherland.
"The real choice to do this was not to get away from '24,' the reason I could not turn this down was that it spoke to me on a really profound level."
Creator Tim Kring, who was behind the sci-fi series "Heroes" about ordinary people with superhuman capabilities, said he long been interested "in this theme of interconnectivity."
"This is really a chance to continue what you would call social-benefit storytelling, the idea of using archetypal narrative to create and promote a positive energy in the world," said Kring.
The series will operate as stand-alone episodes with characters that interconnect throughout, tied together by the relationship between father and his autistic son as the son leaves a trail of clues through numbers to guide his father on a path of discovery.
The character of the son, Jake, played by David Mazouz, is initially identified as autistic, but Kring was eager to emphasize that the show was not exploring autism specifically.
"The show does not attempt to talk about autism, it's not a show about autism," said Kring, adding "as storytellers, we want to reserve the right to say there is some other idea floating above it, something spiritual or supernatural."
For "24" fans, Jack Bauer will be making a return as Sutherland confirmed he was shooting the "24" movie in late April this year.
Sutherland and Mazouz will be joined by co-stars Danny Glover and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "Touch," premiering mid-season on Fox.