24: Live Another Day will restart the clock on the fan favorite Fox drama. Set in London, the show will find heroic agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) still in exile, but willing to risk his life to avert yet another global disaster. The series starts production in the UK in a couple weeks. The event series, which starts production on its 12-episode run in the UK in a couple of weeks, also stars Mary Lynn Rajskub (as Chloe O’Brian), Yvonne Strahovski (as a CIA agent determined to catch Jack Bauer), William Devane (as James Heller) and Kim Raver (as Audrey Raines).
During the Fox portion of the TCA Press Tour, actor/executive producer Kiefer Sutherland and executive producer Howard Gordon (Homeland) talked about how a shorter season is more ideal, that this is a completely different story from the much talked about movie, which could still happen, how Jack Bauer fits into a post-9/11 world, how Jack and Chloe will intersect, why London was chosen for the location, and how the show will be accessible for anyone watching it. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
HOWARD GORDON: Doing good stuff or stuff that you are proud of takes time and takes effort. The more time you have, the better you can craft each episode. We anticipate and have every expectation that we’re going to maintain the quality we’ve had for 24, but it was a marathon and it was really, really punishing. This felt like we could catch our breaths a little bit and we could craft this. You could actually see the horizon. With 24, you never could actually see the other side of the shore. Here, we are able to imagine the other side.
There was talk of a 24 feature film. Is this the same story of the feature film, just gone into greater depth, or is this a completely different story?
KIEFER SUTHERLAND: No, the script for the film was very, very different. The film is an ongoing situation. There’s always an opportunity to do that. Howard 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. But right now, we’re very passionately focused on these 12 episodes right now.
How does Jack Bauer fits into a post-9/11 world, especially given changing American attitudes about the usefulness of intervention in various places and some of the tactics that have made him famous?
GORDON: I think Jack is the Rorschach test, over the years. He’s been politicized. When you really think about it, he’s this remarkably apolitical character. We accept some of the complexity that the world has now. It’s become a more complex world than it was when we began 24. Things seemed simpler, at the time, and Jack has acted in ways that have challenged his behavior. Jack has grown with it. But, this really is about Jack and where he is 12 years later. I think we’re introducing some very exciting topics and current things. The drone issue is a backdrop. But, it’s really against the characters who make up our show.
SUTHERLAND: 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 storylines and the political issues that Jack Bauer and all of the other characters are dealing with. That’s all very fresh. And Chloe and Jack have had a relationship, over the entire span of the show and they have been allies. At the very beginning of this show, they’re actually pitted against each other by virtue of a set of circumstances. That is a dynamic that Mary Lynn [Rajskub] and I get to play, and that’s very exciting. It’s also something that’s going to evolve, over the course of the show. Anytime an actor gets to play something as complex as a past loyalty that is potentially going to be betrayed, that’s a lot of meat. It’s a great opportunity for us. 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.
GORDON: It has always been the trick and the challenge of this show to tell the story of our characters and make sure that that story is being told forward, that there are always new places to go and that we follow them. With Jack, we have found a place that eluded us, four years ago, when we might have considered going on to a ninth season. So, what was exciting to us is that we found a place, emotionally, to physically locate Jack. And the same for Chloe, who is not just Jack’s trusted sidekick and most trusted friend, but someone who has been quite damaged and has now joined the free information movement.
Are there other characters coming back, too?
SUTHERLAND: Yes. Kim Raver, who played Audrey, is coming back. James Heller, who’s now President, is coming back. And I believe that’s it, for now.
Why did you choose London, as a location?
GORDON: It has to do with his exile. It’s not by choice, but just by the fact of the eight years that have preceded it. We knew that we needed to set it anywhere but here. The idea of Jack wanting to come home, but being unable to come home was the emotional framework.
SUTHERLAND: I’m anxious about it. Traffic there is very difficult, and we plan to be shooting outside. Things will be blowing up, like cars, double-decker buses and things like that. I’m sure we’ll be hated by a large portion of London for snarling up their traffic, and for that, I apologize in advance. London has some landmarks that are unbelievably significant, and it will be very exciting to shoot with the Tower of London in the background. I also think it’s a huge opportunity from a storytelling point of view. Through almost every season, we have followed the President of the United States, as a backstory. In this 12-hour arc, we’ll be following the President of the United States 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. From every perspective, from visual to storytelling, it broadens the scope of the show. So for those reasons, I’m very, very excited.
What are you going to be doing for people who either don’t remember how the previous season ended, or who have never seen the show?
GORDON: It’s part of our task, obviously, to make the narrative abundantly clear to people who are watching, for the first time. Those who have been with us for the last eight seasons are rewarded for their knowledge, but it’s not a requirement.
SUTHERLAND: I think the benefit of coming back four years later, for instance, between Chloe and Jack, four years need to be explained. And so the exposition will not come off as straight exposition of explaining, but it is actually within a justifiable moment between characters who are catching up. So, that lends itself really well to that situation.