The TV Addict with Kiefer Sutherland at the
24 Season Premiere Party, January 2008
If there is one thing that this TV Addict took away following two days holed up with a bunch of rowdy radio shock jocks is that DJ’s love to talk. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when an eery quiet enveloped Hollywood’s Hotel Palamor at the end of the second day of FOX’s January Press Junket. Turns out, Kiefer Sutherland was in the house. And if six seasons of the hit FOX show 24 taught this TV Addict anything, it’s that when Jack Bauer talks, you best be listening. Or risk ending up like this guy.
So listen I did. As Kiefer Sutherland was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to reveal what went wrong with season six, why the new season of 24 is the best one yet and when fans can expect to see Jack Bauer’s adventure continue on the big screen.
So it’s been like what, five years since you’ve been on the air?
Kiefer Sutherland: It feels like it, it really does [TV Addict Note: At this point, Kiefer laughs. Which was quite a sight to see considering that I’m fairly confident that Jack Bauer has barely cracked a smile over the course of 24’s six seasons!] Believe me, it’s been a really disappointing time for us. Our fans have been so unbelievably loyal to us. But unfortunately there were a series of events that conspired to keep us off the air. And since it is really important to run all 24 hours continuously the decision was made to hold us off for another year so that we could premiere in January.
Did all the extra time you were afforded help or hurt the show?
We tried to take advantage of all the extra time we had this season and I do believe that now that we’ve done all 24 episodes, they’re finished and I’ve seen them I can confidently say that we’ve made the best season we’ve ever made. I hope people come back to watch it though. To say that we’re not nervous a little would be bullsh*t. Beacuse we are.
So why exactly is this the best season?
When they wrote the first season they only wrote the first thirteen episodes. I didn’t think anyone thought it would get picked up [laughs]. The last eleven episodes were kind of an afterthought. And what we’ve realized is that one conflict can’t sustain the entire day. So generally, if you take a look at the structure of the show, you’ll watch whatever that first conflict is get dealt with by episode 12. And between episode 12 to 15 there is this weird morphing into what becomes another conflict. We’ve always had that problem. Which kind of became glaringly clear in last season (season 6). So with the extra time we had as a result of the Writer’s Strike, we took a three week break and finally had the time to confront the issue because we weren’t forced to get the show on the air in two weeks.
How is Jack different this year?
If you take a look at the very beginning of season one, there is this guy with an almost blind ideology towards his country and for what he’s doing. Flash forward to season seven and you’ve got this very disenfranchised guy who is being made a scapegoat and dragged in front of the Senate where he’s forced to defend himself in a very kind of defiant way. But when he’s in private there is a huge inner conflict where he acknowledges that there is a problem with the things he’s done. And that’s what is wonderful about this character, he’s constantly growing. It might not be huge dramatic changes where he has a perm, different clothes, or a different accent like you do from film to film. But there are sixteen to twenty small changes. He is broken down, more defeated, he feels more guilty or less guilty. All of these things kind of inform the character for this year. And I think this year, more than any, because he is not in charge, he’s really trying to find himself, find out for himself in the middle of these circumstances, what he actually believes in because on so many of the issues, he’s torn.
Will Jack Bauer finally get some much needed lovin’?
I can’t even begin to explain the unbelievable difficulty of writing in real time. I mean wouldn’t it be great if Jack Bauer could have a romantic aspect of the show. But you show me a romance that can develop in twenty-four hours under these kind of circumstances. So if we did that people would go, “That’s wrong!”. There are so many things we can’t do in the show by virtue of its time format.
When are we going to see Jack Bauer on the big screen?
We have every intention of making it, but again, because of the complexity of writing the series, and the fact that we [the creative team] want to do it together, we all agreed very early on that we’d focus on doing the series and when the series was done we would then tackle the idea of a movie. To ask the writers in essence to write twelve films a year and then go and write something even more fantastic for this two-hour feature was just unfair and cruel.
Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of 24 on FOX this Sunday January 11th at 8PM (GlobalTV in Canada)