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 Yvonne Strahovski talked about her initial trepidation about doing the show, how the style of 24 compares to her work on Dexter and Chuck, why she enjoys playing the intense emotional scenes, matching the intensity of Kiefer Sutherland, why she likes her character so much, and how she hopes to continue to get the opportunity to explore different roles in different mediums. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
YVONNE STRAHOVSKI: I think my trepidation, initially, came just with the label that I would be playing a CIA agent, purely because I’ve touched on something like that before, in a previous series. But then, after that initial thought, I realized that this vehicle, 24, is such a different show and not really something that I’ve been a part of before. It’s so unique, in its own right, which is why it’s such a popular and widely known television show. It was only halfway through filming that I realized that it really is more of a wild card than I initially thought because it is such an established television show and extremely well-received, over eight years, and then it was off the air for four years. I think we, collectively, and even the producers, didn’t really know how people were going to react to this, so the fact that the response and the ratings have been quite good has been a lovely surprise. You’re in a vulnerable position when you’re throwing out this 12 episode series of something that’s already so well-established and the bar is set so high.
How does this show compare to doing Dexter or Chuck?
STRAHOVSKI: Well, I think the style and the way that this show is filmed, with the cameras always moving, means that you can’t really lie in front of these cameras. They’re really with you, in the moment, and they linger. That’s what I like about this show. I love that part of it. There are also some scenes that I’ve had to do that I’ve never done before on anything, whether it’s television, film, or theater. It’s always really great when I read a script and I see a scene and I think, “Wow, that’s going to be challenging. I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but here we go.” You’ll see some of those things, as the episodes continue to air.
How different is it to play a CIA agent on a very dramatic show, compared to when you played one on Chuck?
STRAHOVSKI: It’s very different. I feel like with Chuck, because it was a comedy-based show, it was more cartoon-ish. It was just more playful. We had a lot more fun with it. There was a lot of silliness in there. There were serious moments, as well, and there was a lot of heart in that show, but its baseline was comedy. So, it’s just the complete opposite to something like this. We don’t really see a lot of comedic moments in 24. In fact, I haven’t seen all of it, but from what I have seen, I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed at anything that anyone has done on 24. You have to try to make things as real as possible, even when the circumstances are still quite extraordinary and it’s obvious that you’re not watching someone in their everyday life. You’re watching people in heightened circumstances, but it’s reality for these people in 24, so you have to try to make it as real as possible.
Your characters usually seem to be as tough mentally as they are physically. As an actor, which do you find more fun to play, action sequences or intense emotional scenes?
STRAHOVSKI: I think I’m more drawn to the intense emotional scenes. I like exploring the human behavior that you have to explore when looking at those scenes, and I like looking at the reasons why people do things that they do because they’re often complicated, and it’s not often just one reason as to why people do things the way they do. So, I do like those meatier scenes. But that’s not to say that I don’t love the physical stuff, too, because I do like that, as well.
STRAHOVSKI: Well, I don’t really think about it that way. I think about it more like, what would Kate do? It’s about being as prepared as you possibly can be, as an actor. You have to know the script, know the scenes, know what’s going on in the scenes, and be ready for anything to change. So, I’m prepared as I possibly can be, which pays off, in the end, because we do shoot at any extremely fast pace. The show, especially when we’re working with director Jon Cassar, and when you’ve got Kiefer and Jon Cassar on set, works very fast, which I like. That’s the energy of the show, and I feel prepared for those days when we do work that fast.
Why is Kate so willing to team up with Jack Bauer?
STRAHOVSKI: She’s been given a second chance. She sees Jack Bauer as her second chance. At first, it was trying to find Jack Bauer. But now that she’s done that, she’s on a roll to keep trying to prove herself to herself and to others around her.
We know that Kate Morgan’s husband betrayed his wife and his country, but will we learn more about him and get a little bit more of a background on their relationship?
STRAHOVSKI: Yes, we’ll definitely touch on that. There will be more aspects of that revealed in future episodes.
Will there be any sort of love story with Jack and Kate?
STRAHOVSKI: No, that’s not really where we’re going with it. There’s definitely going to be that aspect in the show, and something may or may or not come up, in that sense, but that’s not really a Kate thing.
There’ s a fair amount of violence in 24, and Dexter had some gruesome scenes. Do you have any qualms or concerns about being in violent shows?
STRAHOVSKI: I’m not opposed to being in those types of shows. TV, film and theater are considered art, and art is a reflection of life. What happens in life includes violence, unfortunately. That’s the world that we live in today. The purpose of art really is to reflect human nature, in the world, and the life that we live in. Some of it is horrific and absolutely awful, and some of it is really amazing.
Your character has already become so popular that there have been rumors about a spin-off series with her. What do you like about this role, and would you consider continuing on with this character, past this series?
STRAHOVSKI: Initially, I liked the fact that we meet Kate at a low point in her life when she doesn’t have it all together. She’s been demoted from her job, which means she has professional problems going on, as well as personal problems. Her husband was found out to be selling government secrets to a foreign government. So, it really gave me a starting point with somewhere to go, which is what we’re seeing now with Kate’s journey. As far as the spin-off stuff, I don’t really know what to say about that. I’ve read a couple articles, here and there, about that, but I don’t really know. I’m just happy that people seem to like Kate Morgan, and I hope that they continue to.
Would you like to do something very different next, as an actress?
STRAHOVSKI: So far, I’ve been lucky enough to explore other things outside of these TV roles, like when I did my Broadway debut about a year and half ago. That was a period piece from the ‘30s, where I got to play a Jersey girl. So, I do feel blessed to have had a variety of different roles, and I hope to keep exploring different types of roles in different types of mediums, like theater, film and television.
24: Live Another Day airs on Monday nights on Fox.