We had the pleasure of chatting with Kiefer Sutherland about the new season of 24. Check out what he had to say below!
Coming into this final season, what do you think Jack’s biggest challenge is?
Kiefer Sutherland: I think fans kind of root for Jack, and I do as well. I think people would like to see him at least have the option to have a good life. We stripped a lot of those components away over the years. You know, by virtue of killing everybody. Whether he wants to live or die seems to have become almost innocuous. Who cares? There’s nothing to really live for. What we did for this season is really try and create something that would make Jack want to live. We started off with this relationship between him and his daughter, his granddaughter, and her husband, because his family was literally torn apart after Season 1. Once we started with that, a lot of interesting things started to happen. The history of the relationship between him and Renee that was someone he obviously had very strong feelings for. We started to mind those things around the storyline this year, which is a peace conference between the president of Iran and the president of the United States. The writers just kind of started to flow. For this year, it is just too literally protect Jack for me as an actor and as a character. The desire for Season 8 is to protect all of the things that would make living worthwhile. And also live within the context of what he can morally accept himself doing or not doing.
How did you feel about addressing all of Jack’s moral issues in Season 7?
Kiefer Sutherland: Well, first off I think that’s the whole point of theater. The whole point of writing is to create discussions, movies, television, and all medias of entertainment. Music was an unbelievable force through the late 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and was responsible for a cultural revolution. It’s about spawning discussion. There’s another kind of show that glorifies a serial killer. I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to say, it’s entertaining. What I did respect about the writers was that because Guantanamo Bay and the events that happened throughout the campaign, 24 somehow fell into the mildew of that. Howard Gordon said, let’s deal with that. Let’s address those issues. What I thought was interesting about Jack Bauer is that I always considered him a very a-political character. They have to work for whatever president they get. There not allowed to not stop the bullet for this one because they didn’t like the last bill he was passing. Jack Bauer is very much that guy. To watch him wrestle with the moral dilemma of what he knows to be intellectually right and wrong and emotionally what he can stand by and watch happen is kind of summed up in that last speech. I see fifteen people stuck on a bus, I’ll do whatever I can to save them, because the only thing they did wrong was try to go to work and they had to take the bus. So that’s how I will approach it. I also believe that the constitution is the most important with its parameters and boundaries this country was built on. Maybe you do have to let those people die on the bus in order to protect the values of that constitution. That was all of last season. He kind of copped out because he didn’t come to a final resolution because he died. So it will continue through Season 8. It’s a very difficult question to answer. I am absolutely against the death penalty. I am morally opposed to it. I think it is embarrassing that it is still in place. I could not tell you what I would do if I knew someone that hurt my child. I could not tell you that I would have such a lofty moral principle in that situation. That’s exactly where Jack Bauer is at.
How do you imagine you will feel when you don’t have Jack Bauer to play?
Kiefer Sutherland: Whether this is our last season or whether next season is our last, I certainly know were on the shorter end of the stick rather than the longer one. I walked onto the stages last year, I think it was around episode 17, and it was at that time I realized up in the rafters all the guys that have worked up there, and all the energy they give to the show. Our stage is as big as this building. All the rigging and all the lights, and I realized that’s coming to an end. The rafters look really lonely, and I got really sad. In Season 1 and Season 2, it’s such a shock to your body, the work load. You can’t wait for it to be done. Somewhere, somehow came the groove of everything and you start to get in a rhythm of it. You find ways to make it easier for yourself. I just got really nostalgic at that one moment. I know for a fact that it’s not going to be Waa Hoo. It’s going to be a combination of a lot of things. It’s not going to be easy.
Do you have any regrets playing out certain situations as Jack Bauer?
Kiefer Sutherland: Absolutely no regrets. I don’t necessarily agree all the time. I think Jack Bauer’s character has been politicized. I think he’s been politicized by both left and the right. I don’t always agree how he’s been politicized. With regards to playing him, it’s not regret, I think that as any actor would certainly tell you, there are moments when I try for something and miss. Or not realize the potential of the moment. I get disappointed with myself is a better word. Again, I consider the character a political. I have a very healthy balance that it’s a TV show, and it lives within its thing. So, no I have no regret for that at all. There are moments that I felt I could of done a better job in mining the drama or the suspense of a certain moment.
Is this definitely the last season, or is there a possibility of a ninth?
Kiefer Sutherland: I don’t know with regards to last season, I really don’t. It is the last season that I have been contracted to. I really don’t know. I’m just so focused on making a Season 8. Obviously the requirements would be that the writers felt they could really bang it out. If Howard came to me and said the way I saw those last scenes play, I have an idea for Season 9 that would be unbelievable. I would have to listen to him for 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. It has everything to do with whether or not an audience still wants to watch it and care, and whether or not we feel we have something to offer.
Do you think the show could continue without Jack?
Kiefer Sutherland: I always felt that, yeah. It would be so unbelievably – the idea that I would think that I’m the only actor that could make it. The star of the show is the format and the idea. I remember I pitched an idea in the very beginning of season one, saying you could change it up every year. The next year, it could be the last 24 hours of Joan of Arch’s life. The next year, it could be 24 hours in a firefighters life. It could be 24 hours of a pregnant woman stuck in a car in a snowstorm. It was endless. The format was what was so intriguing. So I’ve always felt that way.
Interview By: Emma Loggins