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Interview with Kiefer Sutherland of "24:
Live Another Day" on FOX 5/1/14
This is the second time I was invited to a conference
call to speak with Kiefer Sutherland. Last time it was for
his show "Touch". Neither time have I gotten to
actually ask him a question! That's a big bummer for me, but
at least I did enjoy hearing him on both calls. He's a very
kind, humble-sounding man on the calls, and says very
intelligent things about the show. The problem is that he is
so popular, and they invite too many people on the call, and
there's not enough time. Maybe the third time will be the
charm! LOL! Enjoy the transcript of the call anyway.
FBC PUBLICITY: 24: Live Another Day with Kiefer Sutherland
May 1, 2014/11:00 a.m. PDT
Todd Adair Ė Host
Kiefer Sutherland Ė 24: Live Another Day
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for
standing by and welcome to the 24: Live Another Day with
Kiefer Sutherland interview. You may queue up for your
questions by pressing *1 on your telephone keypad. We ask
that you please limit yourself to one question due to the
large volume of callers. You may then re-queue, and
additional questions will be taken as time permits.
(Operator instructions) As a reminder, this conference is
Iíll now turn the conference over to Todd Adair for opening
remarks. Please go ahead.
T. Adair Good morning or good afternoon, everyone. Thanks
for re-joining us on this conference call for 24: Live
Another Day with Kiefer Sutherland. We couldnít be more
excited and have a better property to launch the networkís
inaugural event series. 24: Live Another Day will have a two
hour series premiere on Monday, May 5th from 8:00 p.m. to
10:00 p.m. ET/PT before settling into its regular time
period on Monday, May 12th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
We have a lot of callers on the line today, so weíll get
started immediately with Kiefer. Thanks for joining us.
K. Sutherland Thanks so much for having me, and thanks for
your patience from yesterday.
Moderator Our first question will come from Cindy Pearlman
with the New York Times Syndicate. Go ahead, please.
C. Pearlman Hey, Kiefer, how are you?
K. Sutherland Good, thank you. How are you?
C. Pearlman Great. Can you talk a little bit about over the
years how many times fans asked you anywhere when is 24
coming back? Were you ever in some odd places where you
couldnít believe it was just all about Jack Bauer? And what
kind of response to it have you had coming back?
K. Sutherland Well, I get it a lot. And it wasnít just a
question of whether or not 24 was coming back, I think it
was more specific towards when is it, because I think people
were anticipating a movie. And then with regards to where,
thatís always amazed me. Even in the context of the
promotion of another television show I did called Touch
where I would be in Russia, you know, I had gone to a lot of
different places, been to South Africa, I was always amazed
how successful the show was and that it somehow managed to
transcend culture, language, politics, religion, etc. Iíve
never had another project that Iíve been a part of that has
had that kind of international success, where arguably
through Europe, Asia, and even parts of Africa, that was
equally successful as it was in America, which I think is a
really rare thing for an American television show. So, Iíve
always been surprised by that. Itís also something Iím quite
And then with regards to people kind of coming up, it was
either one of two things. They would either say, oh, man, I
really miss 24. And if they were going to say when is it
coming back it was usually directed towards that of a film,
meaning that the last thing I thought we were going to do is
kind of another season. And I think fans were kind of
surprised by that as well, and I hope in a good way.
C. Pearlman And just to follow up really quick, what is it
about this character do you think that thrills people so
K. Sutherland I think heís hugely relatable. 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 whoís 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 doesnít 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 heís
very happy for a few minutes, but then realizes he doesnít
have time to take his son to football practice anymore. And
I think thereís a kind of reality in that not winning that
makes Jack Bauer incredibly relatable.
And this is also a character that isóIím so sorryóafter 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.
C. Pearlman Thank you. I canít wait.
K. Sutherland Sure, I hope you enjoy it.
Moderator Thank you. Next we have Joy Tipping with the
Dallas Morning News. Please go ahead.
J. Tipping Hi, Kiefer, itís really great to talk to you.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
J. Tipping I have to tell you really quickly, yesterday when
the problems were happening with the phone and I told people
here at work the almost general reaction was, ďWe only have
five minutes. Damn it, Chloe, fix this technology problem.Ē
So, we were waiting for Chloe to come in and save the day.
K. Sutherland Well, the thing that I always get is how my
cell phone never seems to fail.
J. Tipping Yes, exactly. My husband calls it the ďmagic cell
K. Sutherland Yes. Well, trust me, my own cell phone, Kiefer
Sutherlandís cell phone, didnít work yesterday at all.
J. Tipping Okay. Well, my question is, if this is popular,
and I expect it to be, I mean, people are so hugely excited
about it coming back even in a limited way like this, and
these 12 to 15 episode seasons are becoming more and more
popular, is this something you would consider doing again?
Would you consider having a second 12 episode season?
K. Sutherland I would never say no, because itís just too
easy for something to happen. But it is not something that
Iím thinking about and itís 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 weíll see where weíre at. I would never want to say,
ďNo, I absolutely will not do that,Ē because I donít know.
J. Tipping Okay.
K. Sutherland This decision I made this time was really
because of Howardís conviction that he had a great story to
tell. So, there are so many other factors involved, I guess,
is my point.
J. Tipping Right. Okay, well thank you so much, great to
talk to you. And I canít wait.
K. Sutherland Thank you. I hope you like it.
J. Tipping Thanks.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Breeanna Hare
with CNN.com. Go ahead, please.
K. Sutherland Hello.
B. Hare Hey, Kiefer, so nice to talk to you today.
K. Sutherland Hi, thank you.
B. Hare My first question is in regards to the movie plans
that didnít pan out. Can you walk us through again what was
going on with that conversation and where it ended up? And
then how closely related is the event series to what the
movie possibly could have been?
K. Sutherland Theyíre very different. The relation to where
the script was for the film to what weíre doing for these 12
episodes is night and day. Having said that, I spent my
whole career with 24 dealing with 20th Century Fox
television production company, which is a very separate
entity than the film company, and I dealt with the network,
so, there wasnít a lot of conversation with regards to the
film, other than we had expressed a real desire to make one.
And I think that they were interested on some level, and for
whatever reason, and I have no idea whether it was our
story, whether it was what they had already in stock and
ready to go out, I couldnít exactly tell you why it didnít
happen. I just know that it didnít.
And then Howard obviously came to me with this idea for this
one last season. But I couldnít exactly tell you why. You
know, 20th Century Fox is a very big company and there are a
lot of different divisions, and Iíve only worked with a few
of them, and it wasnít something that ever got so far down
the line that I could point to one specific reason as to why
that didnít happen. I just know it didnít.
B. Hare Okay. Well, we thankfully have this event series to
look forward to.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
B. Hare So, that worked out pretty well, right?
K. Sutherland Yes.
B. Hare And then my second question for you, though, is just
how the Jack Bauer we meet in 24: Live Another Day has
changed from the guy that we knew in 24 and how is he the
K. Sutherland Well, I think thereís a very strong moral
compass with Jack Bauer. Whether he is right or wrong he is
going to do what he thinks is the right thing, and heís
going to do everything to the risk of his own life, that
heís going to do that to try and prevent whatever situation
the day brings from happening.
Having said that, there are two things that are very
different structurally from this season to any other, and
one of them is that Jack Bauer usually started off every
season working within the infrastructure of whatever
government agency heís 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 heís actually working on his own, but the people that
heís trying to help are actually hunting him and theyíre
trying to either kill him or arrest him. And so thatís a
really interesting dynamic.
On a much more kind of intimate character level, Jack Bauer
is just, heís harder and I think angrier than heís ever
been. Heís had to hide in Eastern Europe for four years,
heís 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 youíll see very early on in
the first episode in the dramatically dynamic shift between
the relationship between he and Chloe, and thatís explained
very early on.
B. Hare Excellent, thank you so much.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. And just a brief reminder, please limit
yourself to one question. We do have the next question from
Joshua Maloni with Niagara Frontier Publications. Go ahead,
J. Maloni Kiefer, based on what you just said and what we
know about what Jack has been through, what is his
motivation? Why does he still try and protect these people?
K. Sutherland Because, and Iím going to use a line and Iím
going to ask you to just kind of use it judiciously in your
interview, but itís the only way I know how to explain it.
The opening threat is he has uncovered a plot to kill and
assassinate the president of the United States on British
soil. And the fear of doing that, even if itís an ally, but
the fear of doing that on foreign soil could be tantamount
to a world war. And he thinks that the ramifications, or the
outcome of this event, if it were in fact to take place,
would be global. He has a daughter and he has grandchildren
who are alive, and those are some of the reasons that make
him come out of hiding.
He also has a profound respect for President Heller, and
obviously Audrey, his daughter, is kind of the great love of
his life. And those things all become addressed in the first
two, if not four episodes. But, again, he believes that the
threat that heís uncovered is so egregious that it could
start a world conflict, and that is his initial desire to
J. Maloni Great. Thanks, Kiefer.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Weíll go next to Merrill Barr with
Nerdist.com. Go ahead, please.
M. Barr How are you doing, Kiefer?
K. Sutherland Good, how are you?
M. Barr Good. Culturally, you kind of touched on this, how
the idea of Jack Bauer came in after 9-11 and society kind
of needed him. Now, years later, weíre kind of on the other
side of that coin a little bit, and also weíre living in a
world where we have television shows like Breaking Bad and
Game of Thrones, those are about very bad people. So, where
does Jack fit in culturally to the conversation now?
K. Sutherland You know, I donít know. That remains to be
seen. I think youíre going to have to wait for that kind of
reaction, because in all fairness we had shot five months of
24 before the terrible events of 9-11 and after that
terrible day. We personally thought that the show was over
and we shouldnít do it, because it was too close to
something that had really happened. And we were very
surprised to see the audience reaction, and critic reaction
to the show early on, and somehow there was something that
made Jack Bauerís character quite cathartic and actually a
positive for once, and it was not what we were expecting.
So, in all fairness, itís going to be much easier to answer
that question in the next few weeks.
One of the things that Iíve always admired about Howard and
Evan and Manny with their writing is that they do manage to
have quite a very current political discussion within the
context of the show. And even though it doesnít necessarily
permeate my storylines, but weíre dealing with Edward
Snowden, weíre still obviously dealing with torture, weíre
dealing with drones, and those conversations are being
represented by all sides, so, I think that thatís a really
interesting part of the show, and it will be interesting to
see how an audience processes that. I personally have to
wait to kind of weigh in on that until that in fact happens,
and thatís going to start Monday.
M. Barr Thanks a lot.
K. Sutherland Okay, thank you.
Moderator Thank you. We have a question from Michael Moore
with Examiner.com. Please go ahead.
M. Moore Hi, Kiefer. Thank you for joining us today.
K. Sutherland Thank you very much for having me.
M. Moore I was wondering if you could talk about the process
of trying to jump back into the skin of Jack Bauer after
being away from the character for four years, as an actor if
thereís anything that you actually maybe forget, maybe any
little type of nuances about the character that maybe you
have to re-learn, or if itís just something that kind of
just always lives with you.
K. Sutherland Well, my first instinct is to tell you that
itís really innate in me now at this time. But it wasnít
true. I think one of the things that I had to fight the most
was that when you put something away, like we had 24 and the
eight seasons of 24, and we put it away and we were done
with it and kind of benchmarked it, and this now has become
a part of our life, itís not living anymore, you get very
precious with it. And 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 weíre 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
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, ďDoes that feel right to you? Does that look
right to you? Does it sound right?Ē You know, all of this.
And he was like, ďKiefer, itís perfect. Itís great.Ē I
wouldnít have moved on otherwise. Clearly, I didnít 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 theyíre showing a clip, where I burst into
this IT tech room and I have this scene with Chloe OíBrian
and Michael Wincottís 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
M. Moore Great, thank you.
K. Sutherland Okay, thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Weíll go next to Sammi Turano with
TVGrapevine. Please go ahead.
S. Turano Hi, itís such an honor to speak with you today.
K. Sutherland Thank you so much for having me.
S. Turano No problem. My question for you is, in 20 years
what do you want the legacy of 24 to be?
K. Sutherland In 20 years I would like it to still be
watchable. I would like to have it, at least from a
technical perspective, not be dated. In 20 years I would
also like it to go back to what it was originally designed
to do, which was be a piece of entertainment, as opposed to
something that was reflective of something terrible that had
happened. So, in 20 years I hope that we as a planet are
back to that place.
And then I hope from a technical level and from a creative
level that weíve done it in a way that it is something
youíll still want to watch. When I take a look at a movie
like To Kill a Mockingbird, I can watch that movie, it being
black and white doesnít throw me, its performances are
outstanding, the story is really important and special, and
it has not dated itself at all to me. I would like 24 to
kind of be the same thing. And please know that Iím not
comparing 24 to To Kill a Mockingbird. Iím just saying in
the sense of it not dating itself I would like that very
S. Turano Beautiful. Well, thank you so much. Iím so proud
of you for this.
K. Sutherland Oh, bless your heart. Thank you very much.
Moderator Thank you. And next we have Preston Barta with the
North Texas Daily. Please go ahead.
P. Barta Hello, Kiefer. I really enjoyed the first episode
of the season.
K. Sutherland Thank you very much.
P. Barta No problem. Thereís all this pressure on Jack to
kind of get in and get Chloe out, so Iím curious as to what
is the most pressure that you felt in your career working in
K. Sutherland I would have to say it centers around 24. I
think 24 came out in its first season, and certainly by the
end of the second season, and this happens very rarely,
where you kind of captured lightning in a bottle, and I
think there was a responsibility to its initial success to
try and constantly push to make it better. I know that
Howard has felt that way. I know that Jon Cassar has felt
that way. And the pressure generally always kind of comes
from within. Itís never something that someone else
necessarily makes you feel. Itís a sense of obligation that
you have to something thatís giving you something. 24 has
given me huge opportunities, itís been the great kind of
education Iíve had as an actor, and so I think the greatest
pressure that Iíve experienced is pressure that I put on
myself to try and make the show as good as we can possibly
That singularly is the thing that kind of stands out the
most. I know that when we finished the eighth season, I
think my shoulders dropped three inches because I knew that
in three weeks instead of starting another season I was not
going to have to confront that again. And there was a relief
in that, I have to tell you.
P. Barta Great, thank you so much, sir. I appreciate it.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. We have a question from Troy Foreman
with TV Wise. Go ahead, please.
T. Foreman Hey, Kiefer, itís so great to talk to you. Thank
you for taking the time to do this.
K. Sutherland Thank you so much for having me.
T. Foreman Youíve said several times over the years that the
early success of 24 in the U.K. was key to the longevity to
the series. Was that at all on your mind when it was
announced that Live Another Day would be shot in the U.K.?
K. Sutherland It made me smile. I mean, if there was a place
that I thought deserved our attention, I thought London was
it. And when I say it was instrumental in the longevity of
the show, it was a hit out of the box in London. It was a
huge success. And as you guys all know, picking a show up
for a second season is a monumental investment by a network,
not just financially but literally in every aspect. And I
think 24 was on the fence, and its success kind of, in other
places in Europe and ultimately in Japan as well, were
instrumental in that decision to pick it up for a second
season, which we were really grateful for. So, when I heard
that we were going to shoot it in London, there was part of
me that felt that that was very fitting.
T. Foreman Well, thank you, and itís great to have you back.
K. Sutherland Thanks very much, man. Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Weíll go next to Christina Avina with
On Request Magazine. Go ahead, please.
C. Avina Hi, Kiefer, how are you doing today?
K. Sutherland Good, thanks. How are you?
C. Avina Iím really good. Itís great to talk to you.
K. Sutherland Thank you.
C. Avina I had a question for you on your main adversary in
this season, because every season of 24 there always seems
to be someone thatís working supposedly on the same side as
Jack, but yet heís constantly throwing roadblocks in his way
and coming up against him in every way possible and makes
himself a character that we just love to hate. Can you tell
us who thatís going to be this time around?
K. Sutherland Well, no, I canít tell you who thatís going to
be because that would just ruin the whole thing. But whatís
interesting again this year is itís 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 itís
multi-layered. Itís more than one person.
C. Avina Oh, thank you. And thanks for always being so
wonderful with the press. Youíre great to talk to.
K. Sutherland Thank you guys so much for having me.
C. Avina Great, thanks.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Camilla
Wallace with Premier Guide Media. Please go ahead.
C. Wallace Hello, Kiefer. How are you today?
K. Sutherland Great, thank you. How are you?
C. Wallace Iím doing well. My question to you is, if you
were as skilled as your character, Jack, in real life and
you had a similar event take place where you were fighting a
terrorist, would you fight or take flight?
K. Sutherland Well, you know, Iíve thought about that in
trying to understand and develop the character, and because
Iíll be the first person to tell you, I am not Jack Bauer,
by any stretch of the imagination. But one of the things
that I had to try and figure out, to kind of help form the
character, was what would I do if someone threatened or
endangered my family, and more specifically my children. And
that reaction is instinctual, itís guttural, and I would
fight to the death for that.
And so that was a real framework for me in developing the
character, in that he feels this incredible sense of
responsibility, that he does have a skill set that will
allow him to do a lot of things and conquer a lot of things.
And when lives are at stake, and particularly in the context
of our show sometimes thousands of peopleís lives, he is
very willing to die for that. Thatís something I admire in
the character. For me, the easiest way to kind of access
that thought was to just imagine something happening, you
know, a threat to my children. And in that context in the
fight or flight, it would definitely be fight.
C. Wallace Okay, thank you.
K. Sutherland Cheers.
Moderator Thank you. And weíll take our final question from
Karen Moul with SciFi Vision. Go ahead, please.
K. Moul Hi, thanks so much for being with us today.
K. Sutherland Hello, thank you.
K. Moul I know that we all really appreciate it. This is the
third incarnation of the series, and earlier you told us
that youíd definitely always be willing to hear about
another 24. What is it about the character or the production
that makes you so willing to keep coming back for more?
K. Sutherland Well, I love the character and I love the idea
of the show. I think I said in many interviews when we
started that the real star of the show is the time
signature. Because in the context of a thriller, which is
the genre that this show falls in for me, that ticking
clock, it really does matter, it makes you quite nervous,
inherently it just does, because you know time is running
out. So, for all of those reasons I found it fascinating. I
also think Jon Cassar as a director shoots this in a way
that is just intoxicating.
And thrillers as a genre, and as a genre of movies that I
like the most watching, I liked them growing up, take a look
at films like the Bourne Identityís, those are films that I
like watching now. This fits right into that category. So
itís not only something that I think there is a great
opportunity to do something really special, but itís also
what I personally like. I find the dynamic of this kind of a
show to be fascinating and interesting and something I feel
I understand, and so for all of those reasons 24 is a really
attractive thing for me to do.
K. Moul Thank you for giving us so many years of great
K. Sutherland Oh, well thank you so much for your patience
and time, and thank you for today. Did we take care of
everything? Is everybody good?
T. Adair I think so. Thanks, Kiefer, so much. We realize how
much youíre doing this week in New York for us.
K. Sutherland I really appreciate it. Thank you guys for
this, and weíll talk to you all soon.
T. Adair Great. Thanksó
K. Sutherland Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Bye-bye.
T. Adair As a reminder, 24: Live Another Day is a 12-part
event miniseries premiering this Monday, May 5th with a
special two hour premiere, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET/PT,
before falling into its regular time period on Monday, May
12th from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
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