The ticking clock was reset for 24: Live Another Day, a groundbreaking and thrilling new event series following heroic agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), now a fugitive from justice. Willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster, Jack needs the help of his old CTU confidante Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), if he’s going to keep CIA head Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) and CIA agent Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) off his trail. The show also stars William Devane, Kim Raver, Tate Donovan, Giles Matthey, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Michael Wincott, Stephen Fry and Michelle Fairley.
During this recent interview to discuss the event series, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub talked about her reaction to finding out about the return of 24, the process of finding Chloe’s new look, whether her character could ever find happiness again, the source of Chloe’s hostility towards Jack, that she thinks it’s good Chloe and Jack never got together romantically, and how she personally doesn’t understand the computer talk that her character speaks. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
MARY LYNN RAJSKUB: I was very shocked when I found out because I had moved on with my life. It had been four years. So, I spent a few days with my husband and my child and my dogs, walking around in my pajamas going, “What is happening?,” and not believing it. I watched my Twitter feed blow up, and I responded like we were very excited. Meanwhile, I was waiting for them to actually pick up the phone and call and ask me to be involved. Of course, I said yes without hesitation. How could I not? It was announced that it was in London. And when that was announced, I thought, “We’re not actually going to shoot it in London.” Typically, in the past, when it’s been in New York and different locations, I’ve always been inside on the computer with a bunch of stuff that says New York, but only send a smaller crew over there. But this time, they said, “No, you’re going for the duration.” So I packed up the family. When I finally got the first two scripts, I read them and they were very exciting. They read like classic 24 scripts. After reading two of them, I was like, “Wow, I want to know what happens next.” So, that was exciting. And then, of course, in the description it was a very different Chloe. It was very briefly and loosely described. It wasn’t until I got to London, and I met with the hair and wardrobe and make-up people. And then, we took it from there.
How many hours do you sit in the hair and make-up chair, to get into Chloe’s new look?
RAJSKUB: It is rough because I am so glamorous and beautiful. For Chloe, it’s a reflection of her pain and her trying to hide. Going into the make-up, I realized that I could never be in a movie where there were lots of prosthetics or anything. But, we actually got it to a place where it’s very efficient. Most of the time was taken with coming up with the look. You probably wouldn’t even really notice them, but there are little clip-ins in my already crazy hairdo that I have in real life, that make it look like she chopped into her own hair. And then, the tattoos are like kid’s tattoos, were you just put water on them. They’re reflective of my husband and my sons, Morris and Prescott, and there’s computer code in the shape of a skull. They’re really thoughtfully designed, but they’re actually pretty quick to put on.
Will we see Chloe in more of an action mode, this season?
RAJSKUB: I hope so. She’s not very happy with Jack, and we saw that in Episode 2. For the first time, even though I could always find humor in the most intense situations or some sarcastic remark, this time around, she’s in such pain that I wasn’t really able to find any levity, at all. That was another surprising layer to play, and it was challenging, as an actor. She certainly is very different. The writers are always holding back from Chloe becoming full-blown with a gun, riding side-by-side with Jack. She is with Jack, but I haven’t really brandished a gun yet.
RAJSKUB: Our relationship always surprises me. I never thought this would come back. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that is now twice in a lifetime. And the response to it, especially with social media, which was not around very much until the tail end, is really cool. I absolutely will go to it, throughout the day and right after the show and leading up to the show, and it’s amazing because it’s like Jack and Chloe never left, but it’s heightened even more. So, I think this has turned out to be a really cool thing, bringing it back.
Is there any way for Chloe and Jack to ever get to a point in their lives where they can be happy again?
RAJSKUB: That’s such a sweet question. That’s something that can never happen. It’s like that forbidden love. It’s that life that you can’t have. This time around, Chloe has been dragged more to the dark side, for lack of a better description, where she’s part of always trying save the world while dealing with these larger-than-life intense situations. There is always the personal, simple happiness that doesn’t happen. I think back on Chloe and her husband, in the past, and they had some moments. And there was another guy that she slept with years back, before her husband. But, it seems like personal relationships always end badly. We hope for that happy moment, but maybe not really. Who knows? Maybe Jack will get it. I don’t know about Chloe, to tell you the truth. She’s in a pretty bad way.
Aside from her pain, what is the source of Chloe’s hostility toward Jack?
RAJSKUB: I think she blames Jack, and she blames herself. I think it’s both of those things. She’s just been completely beaten down, in every aspect. Everything that she has tried to do right has turned out wrong, and then some. So, when we see her in this environment, it was a cool thing that I wouldn’t have predicted for her, but then you start to believe that she could end up there. That becomes her whole view of the world, giving away government secrets. That’s the polar opposite of what she was. Now, she’s somebody who really doesn’t feel like she has a lot to live for.
With so many characters on 24 over the years, why do you think Chloe has had such staying power?
RAJSKUB: I don’t know. I’m just lucky. Every once in awhile, I’ll get somebody saying, “Why haven’t Chloe and Jack gotten together?,” and thank god they haven’t. Audrey is still around, but they were separated and unrequited, probably because Jack and I have not gotten together, in any way, romantically. It was a lucky surprised that there wasn’t any strong plans to kill Chloe. Since Chloe was so loyal to Jack, I think it just started working. I don’t really know. It’s like CTU. We had nerve gas. We had explosions. We had people in there shooting. Chloe was just lucky.
Chloe is known for being the intelligent computer genius, but do you have any idea what she’s saying and doing? Do you understand the computer talk?
RAJSKUB: No, absolutely not. I don’t. I feel like I should not even really be admitting that, as an actor. I feel like the right answer would be that I know exactly what she’s talking about. But, I feel like I get the gist of what she’s doing and why she’s doing it, and what’s happening in the story. I was probably more stressed about that, early on. I have a very loose understanding of what coding is. I’ve always approached it as the emotional realness of what she’s trying to do. The technicalities have not been as interesting to me, to be honest with you.
24: Live Another Day airs on Monday nights on Fox.