Kiefer Sutherland, who voices Gen. W.R. Monger in the upcoming 3-D animated film Monsters vs. Aliens, told SCI FI Wire that he's flattered when people compare his performance to George C. Scott's Oscar-winning role in Patton.
"When we were talking, [we figured] that this was someone who's been kind of removed from society for some 20-odd, 30 years," Sutherland said in an exclusive interview. "His responsibility is to kind of keep this thing secret, and I think that kind of isolation makes you eccentric."
Sutherland's general is in charge of a crew of captured monsters, including 49-foot-11-inch-tall Susan Murphy, aka Ginormica (Reese Witherspoon); the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie); the Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot Insectosaurus. They are enlisted to combat the Alien Robot, driven by Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), and to save the world from imminent destruction.
Sutherland (24) wanted to give his military character a bit of "Southern flair." "We just started messing around with those key notes," he said. "When I went in to do the first day, there was a visual representation of every character, which is exactly what they look like today. So those kinds of elements, combined with the way he looked, we thought would be funny, and so we messed around with it like that."
Sutherland added that he didn't think of Scott when first creating the voice, but that he eventually became a natural inspiration for the general's character. "I was goofing around with the voice, and someone said, 'You're Yosemite Sam,' and I went, 'Oh, no!'" he said. "So I had to pull back on some things and kind of stay away from that. But I love those old cartoon voices. It came out of that. But a few people have brought up George C. Scott, which I'm relieved about and flattered."
Sutherland's experience on Fox's 24, in which he plays the often bellicose Jack Bauer, also helped. "After seven years of doing 24, I think because of the volume and panic of so much of his dialogue, I yell quite a lot, and so I think I've really strengthened my vocal cords and, most importantly, the muscles around them," Sutherland said. "I know how dangerous that is, because my father [Donald Sutherland] did the opposite thing when he was in England right before I was born. He was working on a play where he actually damaged his voice because he pushed it so hard."
Monsters vs. Aliens opens March 27.