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Rider Strong says Donald Sutherland had a rule that ‘nobody’ on set could make eye contact with him

Rider Strong says Donald Sutherland had a rule that ‘nobody’ on set could make eye contact with him

Boy Meets World star Rider Strong alleged that Donald Sutherland had a rule that “nobody can make eye contact with him” on set unless an actor is in a scene with him.

Strong, 43, starred alongside Sutherland, 87, in the 1993 thriller Benefit of the Doubt.

Strong was talking about how guest stars can be treated on Monday’s episode of the popular Pod Meets World podcast, which sees Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle revisit their days on the Nineties sitcom.

“I did a movie with Donald Sutherland and he has an eye contact rule,” Strong said. “Nobody can make eye contact with him.”

Sutherland played Strong’s grandfather, Frank, who is released from prison 20 years after murdering his wife.

“If you’re in the scene with him, you could make eye contact with him,” Strong clarified, “but his whole thing was that every crew member has to look away”.

Friedle reacted with incredulity, saying: “That’s ridiculous... A stupid, egotistical power trip.”

Rider Strong (left) and Donald Sutherland (Getty Images)
Rider Strong (left) and Donald Sutherland (Getty Images)

Strong further alleged that Sutherland derailed a scene mid-monologue because there was a man outside a window looking at him.

“That threw the whole take and he had to start all over, and the whole crew had to go outside and kick this guy away,” he said.

The Independent has contacted Sutherland’s representatives for comment.

Strong did stipulate that eye contact from crew members can be distracting when shooting single-camera scenes.

“It can be a problem if you have too many looky-loos all around the lens,” he said, but did not clarify whether Sutherland’s alleged demand was limited to filming.

Veteran Canadian actor Sutherland is perhaps best known for his role as Coriolanus Snow, the tyrannical president of Panem in The Hunger Games franchise.

A forthcoming Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, will focus on Snow’s backstory with Tom Blyth taking over as an 18-year-old version of Sutherland’s character.

Sutherland became a Hollywood star with the release of The Dirty Dozen in 1967. His other notable films include M*A*S*H (1970), JFK (1991), Pride & Prejudice (2005), and Ad Astra (2019).

He is the father of actors Kiefer Sutherland (24), Rossif Sutherland (Three Pines) and Angus Sutherland.