[07/25/09 - 10:30 AM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "24"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Highlights from the "24" press room:

David Fury on the upcoming season: "CTU is back except this time we're centering on CTU New York instead of CTU Los Angeles so it's just a different dynamic, a different city, a different tone. And this CTU unlike the last is a little more futuristic... With all the technology that CTU had, there was something that, they were just doing standard spying, surveillance or things. This time we sort of have a state of the art, futuristic, almost sci-fi [aspect]. If you saw the clip, you got a little sense of it. So it's an interesting dynamic that we're trying. Because then what Jack represents this season is the old guard. He's the guy, both he and Chloe sort of represent 'you people are dinosaurs, this is CTU! You people are part of another era, you're this, you're irrelevant.' And of course they get to prove their worth very quickly of course and suddenly the high-tech CTU takes a back seat to Jack and Chloe."

David Fury on the show's unique production schedule: "Our schedule is bizarre on all levels. Unlike other shows we work year-round, we never have a hiatus... We're always writing, there's never a break. To get 24 episodes in, which is a long season anyway... so many shows, great shows, they're just 12-episode orders... Consequently we're always on an odd schedule from everyone else. The smartest thing FOX ever did was put us on in January so at least we can air all of our episodes without any kind of break, without baseball interrupting or anything else... We started this year in January, we normally start in April. I never know if we're ahead of everyone else or just behind everybody else. It's a very odd thing... it's almost kind of like working in animation or feature film, it feels so far in advance."

David Fury on the intelligence community's reaction to the show: "I've spoken to the man who literally interrogated the people who gave up Saddam Hussein. In fact, they couldn't use their own names because these are top secret guys. How do they feel about the show? They're concerned because the show presents this absolute where we have a pressing problem, a bomb is going to go off, an attack that's going to happen, an assassination, and we have to get information quickly. In reality, if this wasn't a real time show, if this was a show that existed minute by minute, we would love to tell the stories of how they manipulate information out of their prisoners. But we are strained by the premise of the show, which is a 24-hour period, real time, every episode is one hour and very bad things are gonna happen.

And what they've told us is, well, that never happens. They said there's never a ticking bomb... we've never been in a situation where there's a ticking bomb where we have to have this information right now. Well, that's the difference between reality and this show. We try to be and true and respectful to the people who do this kind of thing and we tried very particularly last year to address the nature of torture and the costs of that torture to all that people that were being tortured and the ones inflicting it. We tried to deal with that but it's difficult for us to tell any stories where they use the methods they actually use right now to gain information. They're brilliant men, they have a very difficult job. And a lot of it has to do with ingratiating them, the people they're trying to interrogate, and flattering them and promising them, and that's just not dramatic. It might be true, but it's not dramatic."

Kiefer Sutherland on Jack's biggest challenge: "I think fans kind of root for Jack and I think I kind of root from him as well and I think people would like to see him at least have the option to have a good life. And we've stripped a lot of those components away over the years by the virtue of killing everybody, that whether he wants to live or die seems to kind of become almost innocuous, like who cares, there's nothing to really live for. And so what we did for this season is to really kind of create something that would make Jack want to live. And we started off with just this kind of relationship with he, his daughter and his granddaughter and her husband and that family. Because his family was literally torn apart after season one. And once we started with that a lot of kind of interesting things started to happen and the history of the relationship he and Annie Wersching's character, Rene, that was [someone] that he obviously had very serious feelings for. And so we started to kind of line those things around what is the storyline this year, which is a peace conference between the president of Iran and the president of the United States."

Kiefer Sutherland on how he imagines life post-"24": "We certainly know we're on the shorter end of the stick than the longer one. And I walked onto the stages last year, I think it would around episode 17... and I looked up at the rigging and the rafters that I've kind of taken for granted for the last seven years and all the guys that had worked up there... and realized that that's coming to an end and the rafters looked really lonely and I got really sad. And in season one and in season two, it's such a shock to your body - the workload - that you can't wait for it to be done. And somewhere, somehow in the groove of everything you start to get in a rhythm of it and you find ways to make it easier for yourself and I just got really nostalgic for that one moment. So I know for a fact it's not going to be 'wahoo!' It's going to be the combination of a lot of things and it's not going to be easy."

Kiefer Sutherland on if this is the final year: "I don't know... I really don't. It is the last season that I've been contracted to do '24.' But I really don't know. We're so focused on making season eight but obviously the requirements would be if the writers felt that they could really bang it out. If Howard [Gordon] came to me and said, 'The way I saw those last scenes play I have an idea for season nine that would be unbelievable,' I would have to listen to him, to that. I think we're all very aware of wanting to protect what we believe is a very strong and important legacy that is '24.' So all of those things. Again, I think the choice to do it or not to do it have nothing to do with my contract, they have everything to do with whether or not an audience still wants to watch it and cares and whether or not we feel we have something to offer."

Kiefer Sutherland on if "24" can continue without Jack Bauer: "I always felt that, yeah. It would be so unbelievably... the idea that I would ever think that I'm the only actor that could make [it is unbelievable]. The star of the show is the format and the idea. I remember I actually pitched Joel Surnow once in the very beginning of season one. I said, 'You know, you could change it up every year. The next year could be the last 24 hours of Joan of Arc's life, the next year could be 24 hours in a firefighter's day, 24 hours of a woman who's pregnant, whose car is broken down in a snowstorm and how she's going to save this baby.' I mean, it was endless. The format was what was so intriguing so I've always felt that way.

Mary Lynn Rajskub on Chloe's status this season: "I'm back at CTU officially and I'm not up to speed on, because they've changed all the software, they've changed everything at CTU and I've got a home with my baby, so when I start, I'm very behind on my skill set. It's a rough spot for my character to be in. It's very upsetting because I keep getting told, 'Can you do this better? Can you do it faster?', and that's like my worst nightmare to be told that. And I get told by Katee Sackhoff's character, like, 'Don't worry, you'll catch up!' It's like the last thing I ever want to hear."

Mary Lynn Rajskub on Chloe's working relationship with Katee Sackhoff's character: "It's different [from Janeane Garofalo] in that, Katee's my boss and I truly am behind. There's stuff that I just don't know how to do whereas with Janeane it was more of like a battle of the wits of who can get it done faster. Chloe's just been out of the loop and I get thrown back in it and I don't know what I'm doing. And then I also have some theories about what's happening that don't match my bosses so that kind of gets me in trouble."

Mary Lynn Rajskub on if Morris will be back: "Morris is somewhere but so far I don't see him in any scripts but he could come back at any moment. He's at home with the baby I think."

Freddie Prinze Jr. on being a "24" fan: "I've been watching it since the pilot. It's one of the only shows that I TiVo. That and Dodger games, that's about it. That should let you know where it rates... A lot of people call it an action show but for me it's always been a very character-driven show and the action just kind of helped push that along. And as an actor, you watch something like that and it's not something that I had ever seen on television, not something I really think anybody did. So once you see a flawed character and the camera's really focusing to find those flaws, that's something that compels me. Most of the time, it's, you know, let's find Jesus and everything will work out and I love you too. That works sometimes if Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are doing it, but otherwise it's not too exciting for me to watch."

Freddie Prinze Jr. on if his relationship with Jack is confrontational: "I mean as far as two alpha males it may at times but you have to remember this: he's an ex-Marine, Jack's an ex-Marine. He's heading up field ops, Jack used to head up field ops for CTU and this character knows Jack by reputation. When they first meet it isn't, 'Wow, nice to meet you, what are you all about?' He knows - and forgive me for saying this - but he knows Jack's a badass, it has nothing to do with that. He knows Jack is right. So there's going to be a tremendous amount of latitude there just because of the respect. I think at times when you get two big dogs in a cage, they may see who can bark louder, you know what I'm mean, but there's definitely going to be a large about of respect there."

Freddie Prinze Jr. on any fears about his character's longevity: "You never know. It's definitely a risk to be a Latino and be on '24.' [Laughs.] Because you guys die really fast usually. A couple have made it but I'm very light skinned and I don't have an accent so I think I might be okay. Most of the time I just try to get behind Jack, he's like my bulletproof vest, so hopefully they won't kill me."

Freddie Prinze Jr. on the relationship between his and Katee Sackhoff's characters: "There's a dark side to this relationship that you find out fairly, fairly quickly. For a character like Cole who's someone who's very disciplined and substituted a lot of feelings that he had post-9/11 for the qualities that define a Marine, like self-respect, and dignity and honor. For someone like that to go through what this character's going to go through it's really going to turn his world upside down as far as the relationship goes."

More about Cole from Freddie Prinze Jr.: "He's engaged to the Dana Walsh character which is played by Katee. He's a New Yorker... I think after the Towers fell, he's the kind of the guy that was filled with a lot of anger and a lot of rage, and those [feelings] were replaced when he joined the Marine Corps... I don't know if he's a macho guy, I see him as an only child, I see him as a born and raised Puerto Rican in New York. If you've been there or know any, it's very descriptive. If you've haven't I could understand why you want more but he's a guy who has to keep his emotions in check. He's very hot headed, he's willing to go at it if he has to but the Marine Corps has really instilled self-control and that's something through the course of this chaotic day that he's dealing with, he's going to have to battle. Sometimes it's going to be an extreme quality for him because he can go if he needs to but other times I think it will be a fault... I see Cole as a very straight arrow, yes. But I think if Jack needed him to do something, with the level of respect there, it wouldn't conflict him."

Anil Kapoor on the initial pitch of his character: "They say you play a president... and he's a good guy and from the Middle East and he's come to the United States of America on a peace mission, he's a peacemaker. 'Done,' [I said]. 'I'm doing it!'"

Anil Kapoor on his previous exposure to "24": "Who is not familiar with '24?' Of course I was, absolutely. In India it's huge, it's very, very popular."

  [july 2009]  

· 24 (FOX)

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