24: Live Another Day, along with 24: The Complete Series, is now available on Blu-ray/DVD, and you can relive every action-packed, pulse-pounding moment of legendary hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saving the world. In the limited 12-episode event series, after having been exiled in London for four years, former Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer must try to save U.S. President James Heller (William Devane) with the help of CTU operative-turned-hacktivist Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub).
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub talked about how she found out that the series would be returning, that she hopes to get to do more, what she liked about this version of Chloe and what she missed about the old version, how much she enjoyed being more involved in the action, what she takes away from her time working with Kiefer Sutherland, what makes Jack and Chloe such a memorable dynamic duo, why she’s glad they never got involved romantically, what it’s meant to her to have been a part of 24, and what she’d still like to see Chloe do. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: In the time since 24 had ended as a series, there had been talk of a movie, over the years, but there had never really been talk about bringing it back as a TV show. How did you find out that was a possibility, and then how long after that was it made official?
MARY LYNN RAJSKUB: Oh, my gosh! Number one, I am not in on any of those conversations, ever. So, when I found out about it, it was just like everybody else. And then, I called my agent. I think I saw it on Twitter and was like, “Wait, what?! 24 is coming back, as 12 episodes?!” I, like everybody else, didn’t really know how it happened. And then, they called me a little while later to ask me if I was interested in doing it again. Of course, I said, “Of course!” By the time I caught up with everybody, it happened pretty organically, with Howard Gordon and Kiefer [Sutherland], and the other writers and producers. It was just a perfect storm of people being available. They just happened to run into each other and have a conversation that was very organic, and it happened very quickly. I think the idea to do 12 was because it’s really hard for the writers to do 24 episodes for the puzzle that is 24. It’s very daunting, so it seemed like a perfect solution. They knew that they could hunker down and make 12 episodes as good as they could make them. I appreciate the organic nature of that. They were like, “All right, we think we have a good idea, so we’re gonna go for it and do it this way and hope it works out.” And the finale of the 12 was one of my favorite episodes, which in part, is due to that process that they went through.
Are you hoping to get to do more?
RAJSKUB: When we were filming it, I thought, “Wow, this is going to go by so fast.” It seemed like a weird dream that I had. I thought that people were going to want more because they’d watch these and then there would be no more. So once again, I hope they are in talks about what they are gonna do now, and I hope that I’m a part of it. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it was certainly left open.
During its initial run on TV, the one constant on 24 was always that Jack Bauer could rely on Chloe O’Brian. With 24: Live Another Day, we got to see a very different side of Chloe, who wasn’t always willing to do anything for Jack. What did you enjoy about embodying this version of Chloe, and was there anything you missed about the old version?
RAJSKUB: I definitely miss her being contained at CTU. When she’s at CTU, everything is as intense as it always is and human lives are on the line, but she always found a way to be sarcastic or say something inappropriate or be a little bit rude. At the end of the day, she had to answer to somebody. She was an employee. So, I was sad to see that snarkiness go, but really happy that she is coming into her own, for better or for worse. What’s interesting about the Chloe storyline was that I think they were going to have her go over to the dark side, but it changed a bunch of times while we were filming. I got called and told that my character was gonna die, and that essentially the arc was that she was the walking dead, and that she was coming from such a ruined spot that she just now has this different perspective. I thought it was really smart and cool that I got to come from that place, but it was very interesting and even cooler to me that she couldn’t go through with it, in the end. It was like, “Okay, now you’re not dying. We just can’t.” It would be too much, if Chloe became a bad guy. I don’t think that would work.
When you think about this season, the way everything concluded, and how it all played out, especially with where Jack and Chloe were when it started, as opposed to where they ended up, how do you think she feels about him now? If you were to go forward and do some episodes, where do you think her head would be at, as far as he’s concerned?
RAJSKUB: It’s so interesting with 24 because a little bit of character goes a long way. Everything gets taken over by the plot. At the beginning of these 12, I was excited and nervous, as an actor, in a good way. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I get to confront Jack.” But then, very, very quickly that was taken over by the imperative of what was happening in the world. We had to drop everything, forget our differences, and more towards this common goal. But I look forward to that being opened up again, and Chloe questioning herself and her own motives, and questioning his motives. I don’t know. I think it’s exciting, and there’s stuff to be played out.
What was it like to finish filming, this season, compared to when you thought you were done with the series, the last time around? Did you feel more of a sense of closure, or is it possible to feel any closure when things are so open-ended?
RAJSKUB: Before this round of 12, I really had a sense of closure. I had moved on. This round of episodes, especially being in London, was just like, “What is this weird thing that’s happening?” So, when it ended, it definitely didn’t feel like it was over. I think we were all relieved that it worked as well as it did, and that there was an audience for it, but it feels like, “Huh, this is still happening. This is still alive.” I guess I just appreciated it. It’s a very weird, rare thing to be a part of something like that, that comes back. It’s strange and amazing.
Because you were out in the field a bit more, this time around, were there any particularly funny moments or mishaps that happened with the action or the stunts, especially since it’s not something you’re typically used to doing?
RAJSKUB: It’s so familiar to me to be doing that computer stuff. So, when I had that moment of being on that moving truck thing, knocking out those Chinese guys, and jumping out the door, I was so pumped up after that. That must be how Kiefer feels, and how people feel, when they’re doing action stuff. It’s so over-the-top and so physical. Those stunt guys are so good at their job that they make it seem like I hit them so hard. It was awesome. I was like, “I want to do this, all the time!”
RAJSKUB: First of all, I think the duo of us is completely unexpected, and that’s the beauty of it. We didn’t set out to be that way. That’s what I love about it. It’s totally unexpected. I really grew up on the show, physically and in every other way. I matured so much, even though it’s not anywhere near where he is. But watching him work is really a lesson in, “Oh, that’s how you take the reins of something, and that’s the level of investment that it takes, with that attention to detail and that passion for this material.” This show could be ridiculous. He’s smart enough to recognize that, as are all of the producers and writers. You have to believe Jack Bauer, and that’s where Kiefer comes in. It’s very rare that someone is able to play this hero that saves the world, again and again, but he grounds that character. He’s in on all those creative decisions of the pacing of it and the movement of it. If something is too unbelievable or something seems too redundant, he’s really there, shaping the entire thing. I love that about him.
When characters like this are in each other’s lives for so long, on TV, the tendency is to get them together romantically. Are you happy about the fact that Jack and Chloe never got involved in that way, and they did remain this dynamic duo that didn’t have to have that kind of tension?
RAJSKUB: Oh, my gosh, it’s the best! The fact that people even think that’s a possibility is a huge compliment. That we see and feel that, in the way that they care about each other, but the fact that it can never go there, is great. Let’s keep it going! I think it’s kept me alive, too. Poor Audrey. I hate that Audrey died, but I love the affect that it has on the characters, dramatically.
Even if you never play this character again, which would be a shame, what have you most enjoyed about bringing her to life, over so many seasons, and what does it mean to you to have been a part of 24?
RAJSKUB: That’s such a big question! My theme for 24 is the unexpectedness of it. It brought something out in me that I didn’t think that I could do, and I wasn’t even looking to do. It was like, “Okay, I’ll go with this.” I’m very proud of the fact that people quote stuff that my character has said, or they’ll post pictures of me rolling my eyes. I love that I was able to bring those elements to this show. I’m just proud of it, in general. It’s smart and it was pretty ground-breaking. And it still works, after all these years.
What have you still not gotten to do on the show, that you’d love to do, if we get to see 24 again, in some incarnation?
RAJSKUB: I would definitely want to do some more fighting and some more action, and maybe full frontal nudity. I like the direction she’s going in, where if she gets into more situations on par with Jack and has to grapple with that and is more in the fray, it would be great. I used to think, way back when, that I wanted to be the director of CTU. I thought it would be hilarious just to see how Chloe would be the boss, and what would happen, if she were in charge of something. I’d like to see where this would go, now that she has to deal with her own beliefs and her own drives.
24: Live Another Day and 24: The Complete Series are now available on Blu-ray/DVD.