24 may have just ended its 12-episode summer run on Fox, but it lived another day in Ballroom 20 for the venue’s opening panel on Thursday morning. Kiefer Sutherland took the stage to celebrate 24’s most iconic moments, during a screening and discussion moderated by executive producer Jon Cassar.
Attendees were treated to an exclusive sneak peak of the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD featurette, Worlds Collide, illustrating how the pulse-pounding storytelling was created for 24: Live Another Day. As with most Comic-Con panels, the presentation was followed by a lively Q&A.
Highlights from the panel included:
It was difficult shooting in London; “they have rules,” said Sutherland. “It was very odd shooting with a different group of people.” In LA, police can tell people not to stand there; in London, they can’t. People are very proud of their rights.
Was it worst nightmare or dream come true when Sutherland got phone call to come back? “This role has been the greatest gift.” There’s 5 minutes of oh no, I can’t do that, then, “When can we start?” Sutherland said that over the course of 8 seasons, he can’t say they ever made a perfect season, but there were a lot of that were good enough.
Cassar commented that it’s a different Jack in Live Another Day, “meaner, leaner, throws people out windows…” Sutherland said he’s deep shooting people after they were dead and Cassar would say, “I love that.”
Sutherland watched Season One again and realized how hopeful Jack was. There were scenes with him and his wife in the kitchen and he was actually smiling. There was nothing he was fighting for at that time.
“The fact that he managed to save Chloe gave Jack some satisfaction,” Sutherland said about the end of Live Another Day. He said they never had the freedom to end it how they wanted in the regular series. “It was really difficult for us (to end it); none of us wanted to let it go.”
Eliciting laughter from the audience, Sutherland said he met Kim Raver 5 minutes before a scene where he pushed her against a wall and felt her up. “Then I met her husband.”
Sutherland did a funny impression of William Devane, “I can’t believe they don’t feed us better” and “I can’t sleep”. He was the grumpy traveller who’d rather be playing polo.
The process (acting) depends when he gets a script, said Sutherland. “We usually get four scripts.” As filming continues, the scripts come later and you start learning stuff the night before.
When he started working in the 80’s, Sutherland said he was trained that TV was the end of your career. He tried to explain to other actors that it was amazing. “You get to develop a character over time. It’s one of the most rewarding acting experience you can imagine. I’m a movie fan, but I go less and less when I see a show like Ray Donovan. It was amazing to be part of the transition.”
About the scene where Kiefer throws the Red Queen from Game of Thrones out the window, Sutherland said, “The writers were great, but in the end it was my ego. By the time I chucked her out the window I was quite happy.” Originally, she was going to be shot. The change was only three lines, “It wasn’t that big.”
About the scene where Benjamin Bratt puts his hand on the table to violent results, Sutherland said, “Our writers make great scripts, but every once in a while, someone presents an opportunity.”
Sutherland summarized his experience on 24 by saying that people came to work and they were excited and the wanted to do something different and bold. It kind of shaped the show. He likens a TV show to a band, “We stayed together because everyone respected what each other did.”
Sutherland joked that he’s nothing like Jack, “Just look at my record.” However, like Jack, he feels he has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. He has a great respect for Jack Bauer because he lives by that. “That moral code of his becomes his compass for life.”
A man from the audience asked if, at family dinners, Kiefer and his father (Donald Sutherland) argue about who’s character is most bad-ass. He responded, “We never really talk about work. Kind of a family rule; we don’t bring business to the table… But I could kick his ass!”
Sutherland said that the evolution of the character is based on how much Jack has lost and what he’s had to sacrifice.
About the politics involved in the storylines, Sutherland said they’re only concerned about politics in the context of the show. “It’s… a… show.” There seemed to be a trend of 24 predicting world events. Late in the series, they decided to look at the headlines first. “It’s very important to our storyline.”
“Still talking about a movie; it’s out there,” Cassar ended the panel. As to whether he’d direct, he said he’d love to but, “You have to understand the world of TV and the world of movies is completely different, even if it’s Fox TV and Fox movies.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!