24, Live Another Day
By Susan Hornik
Fans of the uber successful television series, “24,” are thrilled that “24: Live Another Day,” has made it to air. Kiefer Sutherland is an executive producer on the drama as well as the star (just like his dad, veteran actor Donald Sutherland, he’s a multi-tasker!) The final episodes of the show are on and no surprise, it’s been nonstop action!
Set four years after the events of season eight, this new series still adheres to the real time concept of covering the events of a 24 hour period, with a final jump forward of time within the final episode. Originally premiering in 2001, “24” was nominated for 73 Emmy awards, winning for outstanding drama in 2006.
At the Television Critics Press Tour, Fiftyisthenewfifty.com attended a panel which talked to Kiefer and the producers and co-star Mary Lynn Rajskub about his heroic agent character, Jack Bauer.
Sutherland has lived in the skin of the Jack Bauer character for nine years, did another series for Fox, “Touch,” and then took some time off. Now that he’s back on television, older and wiser, it took a bit of getting used to—though every fan of “24” knew this new incarnation would be a success!
“I used to get terrified in between each season, and Jon Cassar was the lead director always for the first two episodes. He had a beautiful way of kind of reminding me that I was kind of doing it right, because, in the middle of the season, it’s a reactionary thing. You’re in that character. If you go away to do something else, the fear of starting up again – ‘Am I being too hard with it? Am I being too soft?’ ‑‑ all of those things come into play. You know, I’m very nervous. Without patting ourselves on the back too hard, I feel we made eight very strong years. We worked very hard at them, and there was always something in every year that all of us wished had been better, but I was very proud of those eight years. And so to open that up again and make 12 episodes and not make them the best 12 episodes that we’ve ever made is frightening. I won’t lie to you. I’m very nervous, and I think the audience that we’ve had that has stayed with us over the years has been so spectacular and supportive and loyal, and to not give them the best that we’ve got to offer would be very disappointing.”
The high octane drama is taking place 12 years in the future, which has opened up many story possibilities.
“I think one of the nice dynamics, again, there’s a great impetus for all of us to create something new with the show and we’ve done that with a lot of new characters, certainly within the context of the story lines and the political issues that Jack Bauer and all of the other characters are dealing with,” said Sutherland. “That’s all very fresh. And Chloe and Jack have had a relationship certainly over the entire span of the show and they have been allies.”
Sutherland continued: “Anytime an actor gets to play something as complex as a past loyalty that is potentially going to be betrayed is ‑‑ that’s a lot of meat. So it’s a great opportunity for us, and so a lot of the dynamics of the characters that are coming back have been shifted by virtue of the circumstances with which we start the show.”
The show is now taking place in London, since Sutherland’s character is in exile from the U.S. “I was born there and spent huge parts of my life there. It’s a place where I feel very comfortable. London has some landmarks that are unbelievably significant,” he said. (who wouldn’t want to shoot with the Tower of London in the background!)
Sutherland continued: “I also think this is a huge opportunity from a storytelling point of view. Through almost every season we have followed as a backstory the President of the United States, in this 12‑hour arc, we’ll be following the President and the Prime Minister of England, which will be a very interesting look into how we perceive those deals to be done. Many times, what we perceive as some kind of treaty is involving things that we know nothing about. We’re examining that in the course of the show. So from every perspective, from visual to storytelling, it broadens the scope of the show. So for those reasons, I’m very, very excited.”
Plans are also in the works for a “24” movie, especially if the series continues to do well. “The script for the film is very, very different,” Sutherland said. “And, you know, the film is an ongoing kind of situation. There’s always an opportunity to do that. But literally, (executive producer) Howard Gordon came up with an idea for a 12‑episode run at this and it was the opportunity that presented itself to us first. It was a fantastic idea, and it’s something that we’re very excited about doing and it’s something that we’re really primarily focused on. So if this ends up rebooting the show or causing a film to be made, so be it.”