Donald Sutherland Talks Joseph Brodsky And Living With Passion

Donald Sutherland turns 83 in July and he isn’t taking the foot off the brake when it comes to acting. During The Leisure Seeker interviews, he was asked what keeps him inspired to continue his acting journey and stay motivated with his craft. Take a listen to the inspiring Sutherland audio below as he mentions a memorable speech from writer Joseph Brodsky about living with passion!

The Leisure Seeker
Donald Sutherland as John Spencer and Helen Mirren as Ella Spencer
Photo by Luca Bigazzi, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

“Joseph Brodsky gave a lecture in 1988 (the commencement speech to Dartmouth College), and he went on about ‘you’re graduating today, it’s the best day of your life, it’s going to be straight downhill from now on.’ And he gave a quote in the middle of it, an instruction to the students, and it stayed with me since 1988.

He said ‘try to stay passionate, leave your cool to the constellations, passion above all else, is the denial of boredom.’ That’s true.

This business of acting, of working, is a passionate endeavor. To call out the truth. To persuade people to advance, maybe a little bit in their lives, because of my experience with the characters that I’ve played.

I think my work is a constant exploration into the human condition.” – Donald Sutherland

For the audio version, take a listen below (audio interview, and the excellent question to Sutherland, was provided by Front Row Features editor Angela Dawson):

The Leisure Seeker, centering on a couple (Sutherland, Helen Mirren) who go on a cross country trip in an old RV to visit Key West, Florida, hits Los Angeles and New York theaters on March 9.

Regarding Sutherland’s body of work, I’m a huge fan of director Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now. Based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier, the flick features excellent work from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a couple grieving over the loss of their daughter. Sutherland’s close collaboration with Roeg was evident in the film (one of his actor’s children is named Roeg). If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a must (especially if you love mystery/thrillers):

Do you agree with Sutherland’s (and therefore Brodsky’s) take on passion? What are your favorite Sutherland performances? Feel free to comment below!!


Greg Srisavasdi

Editor/Owner of Find Your Seen and Deepest Dream, I'm also a BFCA member and editor of Hollywood Outbreak. I also do a weekly movie review podcast called CinemAddicts. BFCA member, Clippers and UCLA Bruins lifer!!

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