Kiefer’s Very Small Screen Debut

In the basement of the Crosby Street Hotel, Kiefer Sutherland munched on a miniature hamburger. He was wearing a gray blazer and pointy cowboy boots and bestowing hugs. “This all started with a challenge, which was to tell a story in five minutes,” he said.

Mr. Sutherland was promoting his new Web TV series, The Confession, which debuted on Hulu this week. He plays a assassin debating the larger issues of good and evil with a terrified priest.

The actor explained that telling a story in minute installments wasn’t as easy as he’d thought. “I mean, how to tell a story in five minutes?” he told a small gaggle of digital-media execs. “Finally, one night, just as I was about to pass out—excuse me, I mean ‘fall asleep’—it came to me, a confession!”

John Hurt, who plays the priest, seemed energized by the screening.He wore a professorial blazer and puckish newsboy cap. “These days, television is just a hopeless, inadequate mess,” he declared. “People’s attention spans are ruined, and I’m not saying that in a derogatory way, but we can’t fight it.”

He waved his hands in the air and arched his mouth into a wide O. “Ooooh, oooh, can I pop this on my phone?” he asked, miming a bored viewer struck with a sudden urge for entertainment. “We give them something like this, something high quality, with a cliff-hanger that makes them curious. The key is, we’ve got to make it snackable.”

Kiefer’s Very Small Screen Debut