Despite famous name, 'Like a House on Fire' star Sarah Sutherland blazes own trail

Sarah Sutherland made audiences laugh for more than half a dozen seasons on "Veep," but she abandons comedy for drama in her latest movie role in "Like a House on Fire."

Folks who recognize her from "Veep" are often unaware that she's Kiefer Sutherland's daughter and Donald Sutherland's granddaughter -- but that's by design, as she is determined to let her talent speak for itself.

For seven seasons on HBO, Sutherland made her own way playing Julia Louis Dreyfus' daughter. She got the part shortly after graduation from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and she was a bit intimidated.

"Working with such heavyweight comedic improvisers, I really felt out of my depth," she said. "Like I'd kind of gotten this one-way ticket to this really foreign, beautiful, amazing planet where I got to learn all of these things."

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After "Veep" ended its long run, she felt a change of pace was in order. Her new movie, streaming now, is the story of a mom who has returned home to her husband and 2-year-old daughter after a lengthy absence -- to find another woman living with her husband in the home they once shared.

"At heart, she is a well meaning woman and mother," Sutherland said. "She's just gone through an extreme bout of postpartum depression and is really dealing with the fallout of that."

Sutherland's father and grandfather may be stars, but she has steadfastly refused to trade on his famous name.

"The truth is she's worked so hard to do this on her own," Kiefer Sutherland told Kelly Ripa in 2016. "I couldn't even tell you her agent's name. I would have no idea."

He went on to say that twice he asked his daughter to help him out by taking parts in his movies -- one of which would have put her on screen with her entire famed lineage -- but she declined.

"For me personally, it was really important that it was something I did on my own terms and in my own way," she said.

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And, by the way, this has only strengthened her family ties.

"I'm very close with my father and grandfather, and I'm so proud to come from the family that I do," she said. "Because independent of them as men, I admire them so much as actors."

It may come as a surprise then that the three Sutherlands rarely discuss acting when they sit down at dinner. She said they use those rare times when they're all together to catch up about everything except show business.

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