Donald Sutherland on reteaming with Helen Mirren after 28 years: It still ‘works’

Helen Mirren and Donald SutherlandSony

Not many South Floridians know this, but Donald Sutherland is a local. He and his wife of 46 years Francine Racette have a place in South Beach.

The Canadian actor, 82, enjoys checking out the new spots as much as the next South Floridian.

“What’s this I hear about this new Italian food hall?” he asks from one of his favorite  haunts, Smith & Wollensky in South Beach. Then transitioning into  a perfect Italian accent he says the name of the place, Casa Tua Cucina, located in Brickell City Centre.

“That’s where I want to visit. I’ll make a point of it.”

Sutherland would love to expound on his part time home and the weather, but he’s also excited to discuss his latest movie, “The Leisure Seeker,” out Friday.

Sutherland plays John Spencer, a retired English teacher with memory issues who takes a road trip in a vintage 1975 Winnebago with his wife Ella (Helen Mirren), who has cancer. The Boston couple want to visit the Hemingway House in the Keys before they can no longer be well enough to travel.

The Hollywood legend initially wasn’t sure if he’d have Mirren as his copilot.

“I spoke with her after we were approached to play husband and wife,” recounts Sutherland. “And she said, ‘I don’t want to  be involved with anything about cancer. And I don’t want to be involved with anything about dementia… I’ll do it.'”

(He chuckles at the thought.)

The two had worked together a long time ago: as husband and wife, in 1990’s Bethune: The Making of a Hero.

Their chemistry still “worked.”

“She’s a joy, and we actually had an adventure,” said Sutherland. “We really took that trip together. I miss it.”

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