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Sutherland Gets Interrogated for 24

Published January 11, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox.
24- Season 5 Kiefer Sutherland is Jack Bauer in 24
24 remains one of the most popular shows on television, and there's no sign of a slump as it enters year/day six. Kiefer Sutherland has kept Jack Bauer a vital force on television, though it's not an easy task.

Interrogating Kiefer Sutherland on 24


"A small example is the whole reintroduction of Audrey as a character and myself as a character that is alive," Sutherland explained of his process. "Every scene that I had with her, I wanted three beats or three lines to really play how much he loved her and how much he wanted to be with her, and the fourth beat would always be 'I can’t. The second this is over, I have to disappear.' And then the next beat, the new measure would be I love her, I love her, I love her, I can’t. I love her… I know it sounds really simplistic but it’s not an easy thing to keep that meter in your head. Or maybe it is for others. It’s not for me. It takes me a minute to get into that groove, but I remember when it worked, John Cassar turned around and went, 'What was that?' It was just a complexity of playing two things at the same time which is not something normally as an actor, I’m a huge fan of not the obvious but sometimes things are obvious for a reason and I see some people avoiding it at such a cost that they miss the whole point of the characters. This has taught me to kind of try and find a blend of both. Or at least to try."

The writers have kept the real time hook going every year, but Sutherland thinks it's not any gimmick that keeps viewers hooked. "I don't think people like the show because it’s serialized. I think people like the show because the characters are working and the writers do a fantastic job creating a world that they’ve found entertaining. Again, I can’t tell you how lucky that is. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve never had an experience like this in my life. I certainly know I could have worked for another 20 and never had it. Law and Order is a fantastic show and it was absolutely serialized in a perfect package episode to episode to episode. This is not and I think they work in different milieus for their own different reasons. Again, I think it comes down to creating a situation that is interesting for an audience and ultimately creating characters that you care about that are in that situation."



Perhaps it is also the political undertones of Jack Bauers unorthodox approach to fighting terrorism that attracts people in today's world. "I think escapism is a very broad word. I think all entertainment on some level is and I think it can also be informative and I think it can be a variety of things. But absolutely. It was uncanny the timing of us coming out with our show and the terrible events of 9/11. It certainly awakened a ear in this country regarding terrorism that I don't think was as pervasive before. So yeah. Absolutely. I think the world has changed incredibly since that terrible day and our show certainly deals with aspects of that. Again, in the context of a television show, not reality."

Sutherland is happy to keep talking about the show, because he thanks people like us for keeping it alive. "We wouldn’t have been even picked up had it not been for this [interview] event five years ago. It was the energy that was kind of created out of the screening of the new pilot and by you guys that got Fox, because we were on the fence and we were teetering off it in the wrong direction. I’ll never forget that. This has been one of the most amazing experience of my life and certainly I think the most amazing of my career to date. I’m really grateful for it."

24 premieres January 14 on FOX.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox.
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