At Awardsline’s Thursday night Emmy screening of Fox miniseries 24: Live Another Day, Kiefer Sutherland aka Jack Bauer revealed that if he ever returned in another iteration of the TV series, it could possibly be in a cameo. But for now, he’s happy to see the franchise continue with fresh blood.
The actor in a conversation with Deadline’s Dominic Patten asserted, “I’m not coming back to do 24 because there are other things I want to do. And when they said limited-series run, I meant it. But I’ve always felt, from Season 1 on, that 24 is such a great idea that this can go on forever. I think if you create a new cast or other characters in the telling of this story, it will bring a freshness. And let’s face it there’s only so many bad days one can have before the show becomes a mad comic. And what I don’t want it to be is a mad comic…it doesn’t rule out to one having a cameo.”
But, wait a minute, didn’t 24: Live Another Day air last year? Right, however, the miniseries didn’t make the cut in terms of airing the minimum number of episodes to qualify for the 2014 Emmys, so it’s in the running this year. The series boasts a legacy value when it comes to TV’s top kudo: 24 has collected 20 Emmys during the course of its eight-season run as well as an outstanding drama series trophy and lead actor win for Sutherland in 2006.
The show which follows Bauer, a member of the counter terrorist unit who uncovers and unplugs diabolical threats, premiered two months after Sept. 11 and it has always factored and played off of big global conflicts.
Talking about the inspirations for 24: Live Another Day after being away from the show for four years, Coto said, “We took many months figuring out the first episode. There was a book that someone brought in (to the writers’ room) which shed light on the fact that there’s a real fear over drones being hijacked.” Also contributing to a quintessential jumping off point per Coto was “that we ended Season 8 with Jack Bauer as a fugitive. It was perfect. He could be anywhere. We could go to London. We liked the idea of opening the series with an Osama bin Laden-style raid, but instead of Osama, it’s Jack Bauer.”
Given the gap between the miniseries and the final episode of Season 8, Sutherland felt the pressure to also raise the stakes. “If this isn’t good or better, we’re in trouble,” he recalled. The key to Bauer’s progression during the series run was that each day contributed to his evolution. “The first day was always the baggage he carried to the second day,” said Sutherland about Bauer’s gravitas.
The episode which screened last night “10:00PM – 11:00AM” centered around Bauer’s takedown of Chinese terrorist Cheng Zhi. But he’s in a compromising position. As he moves in on Zhi, his former significant other Audrey, also the U.S. president’s daughter, becomes a target. It’s a riveting episode, full of intense, hair-raising action, however, it’s the dramatic tension, more than the bombs, where the thrills have always resided for 24.
Sutherland specifically refers to a scene in Season 1 where Bauer is holed up in a wood shed, holding an innocent woman hostage, so she won’t reveal where he’s hiding. Explained Sutherland, “In the scene, Jack starts falling asleep and tries to stay awake. That becomes the drama. Obviously, it became more fun to blow stuff up but there was real drama in that moment. It’s a touchstone scene that Howard Gordon and I always use as a reference.”