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Kiefer Sutherland Teases the Return of 24, New Villains & Jack “Angrier Than Ever Before”

By on May 5, 2014

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Image Co. Cr: Christopher Raphael/FOX

In case you’ve been languishing under a rock and haven’t heard the news, Jack is back tonight as Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role as Jack Bauer in a new limited run FOX series 24: Live Another Day.

When audiences last checked in with Jack (almost four years ago, can you believe it?) he was a fugitive on the run.

Now still in exile, Jack Bauer is nonetheless willing to leap into the fray when a massive terrorist attack threatens to change the political landscape of the world.

ScreenSpy checked in with Kiefer Sutherland last week to talk terrorist plots, new enemies (multiple) and stepping back into those iconic shoes, a process which Sutherland admits was both a nerve-wracking and scary experience.

“My first instinct is to tell you that it’s really innate in me now, but it wasn’t true,” Sutherland admits of stepping back into the role after almost four years.

“I think the most difficult thing for me in the six months leading up to shooting was kind of dealing with my nerves and realizing we’re opening this up again and trying not to be scared of it and actually view this as a real opportunity to try and make the best 12 episodes.”

“But I will be very honest with you, I was quite nervous leading up to it, and I was very fortunate to have Jon Cassar, our director, because I must have annoyed the life out of him.  For the first three days I kept walking up to him going, “Does that feel right to you?  Does that look right to you?  Does it sound right?”  You know, all of this.  And he was like, “Kiefer, it’s perfect.  It’s great.”  I wouldn’t have moved on otherwise.  Clearly, I didn’t believe him.  So, he had to endure that for a few days.”

“And then there were a couple of scenes that really, one of which I think they’re showing a clip, where I burst into this IT tech room and I have this scene with Chloe O’Brian and Michael Wincott’s character, and there was something about the vocal dynamic, he comes in really hot in that scene and then kind of goes down to really kind of almost a whispering tone, and that was something that triggered something for me that just kind of made me feel really comfortable and at ease.  And then we kind of took off from there.”

Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) tracks a man suspected to be a key participant in a plot to assassinate the President. Co. Cr: Daniel Smith/FOX

Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) tracks a man suspected to be a key participant in a plot to assassinate the President. Co. Cr: Daniel Smith/FOX

But it’s not just business as usual, as Sutherland explains. 24 fans will see some major differences in how the 12-episode truncated series plays out, including a new London location, a very different work environment for Bauer, and several other things that set the new series apart from its phenomenally successful predecessor.

“There are two things that are very different structurally from this season to any other,” explains Sutherland. “And one of them is that Jack Bauer usually started off every season working within the infrastructure of whatever government agency he’s a part of, or in line with the president of the United States.  And then that might shift, but he certainly always starts there.  This season not only is he not working within the context of that infrastructure, that he’s actually working on his own, but the people that he’s trying to help are actually hunting him and they’re trying to either kill him or arrest him.  And so that’s a really interesting dynamic.”

“On a much more kind of intimate character level, Jack Bauer is just, he’s harder and I think angrier than he’s ever been.  He’s had to hide in Eastern Europe for four years, he’s been estranged from his daughter and his grandchildren, he has not been able to go back to the country that he feels he served, and that kind of isolation has made him really hard.  And that is something that you’ll see very early on in the first episode in the dramatically dynamic shift between the relationship between he and Chloe, and that’s explained very early on.”

Jack (Kiefer Sutherland, L) works with Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub, R) in the special two-hour season premiere episode of 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY. Co. Cr: Christopher Raphael/FOX

Jack (Kiefer Sutherland, L) works with Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub, R) in the special two-hour season premiere episode of 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY. Co. Cr: Christopher Raphael/FOX

What can 24 fans expect from this season’s villain? Sutherland was tight-lipped on the subject but did reveal that we would see not one, but “multiple” villains.

“I can’t tell you who that’s going to be because that would just ruin the whole thing,” he laughs.  “But what’s interesting again this year is it’s multi-layered.  It usually used to be one person.  And this year all I can tell you is it will surprise you, I think, and it’s multi-layered.  It’s more than one person.”

Surprisingly, Sutherland admitted there are currently no plans to produce a second 12-episode series when 24: Live Another Day wraps.

“I would never say no, because it’s just too easy for something to happen,” he admits. “But it is not something that I’m thinking about and it’s not something that I think Howard or anybody else is thinking about.  I think once we realized we were going to do this and we actually started the process of obviously the writers with the scripts, Jon Cassar and myself doing our pre-production, we became so focused on trying to make these the best 12 episodes of 24, period, and we have four episodes left to do.  I feel very, very strong about the first eight episodes that we have completed.  Now, we just need to really bring it home.  And then we’ll see where we’re at.”

With audiences already prepped to reset the clock on another instalment of this iconic TV series, we can’t help but ask Sutherland what it is about Jack Bauer that appeals to audiences so much.

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Co. Cr: Daniel Smith/FOX

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Co. Cr: Daniel Smith/FOX

I think he’s hugely relatable,” says sutherland. “Obviously, the circumstances are massively exaggerated, but I think all of us on some level feel a connection to a character like Jack Bauer because this is a guy who’s facing insurmountable odds and yet he goes into the fight regardless.  And I think life kind of makes us feel like that too.  Life is tricky.”

“And I think the fact that he doesn’t always win.  In the context of the first season, he managed to save the president, he managed to get his daughter back, but he lost his wife.  A guy goes and gets a promotion at work and he’s very happy for a few minutes, but then realizes he doesn’t have time to take his son to football practice anymore.  And I think there’s a kind of reality in that not winning that makes Jack Bauer incredibly relatable.”

“And this is also a character that is—I’m so sorry—after 9-11 I think there was a real feeling of helplessness, and I think Jack Bauer, as a character, was kind of dogmatic and regardless of the circumstances was going to push forward.  And I certainly found that comforting, and I certainly felt very helpless after 9-11 and there was kind of a great refuge for me in that character.”

The clock resets when 24: Live Another Day premieres with a special two-hour television event on Monday, May 5 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), and makes its time period premiere on Monday, May 12 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

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