Kiefer Sutherland lands cover of TV Guide

Kiefer Sutherland on cover of TV Guide November 17 2008 issue
Kiefer Sutherland on cover of TV Guide November 17 2008 issue

Kiefer Sutherland tells the Nov. 17th issue of TV Guide, “It’s so great to be back in Jack Bauer’s shoes”. In the mag, the 41-year-old actor also shares personal photos and captions from the South Africa set of 24: Redemption. Here’s a snippet of the cover story:

After way too many delays, 24’s long-awaited Season 7 arrives January 11 on FOX, but there’s relief coming in the form of 24: Redemption, an exotic two-hour prequel movie that puts Jack Bauer back where we like him: on the clock and under the gun. “With the prequel it’s like we’re saying, ‘Hey, remember us?’’ Kiefer Sutherland tells TV Guide. “You want to make sure the interest is still there. So we thought we’d offer a little taste – an appetizer – before the big feast to come.”

But Redemption is 24 with a difference. After years in the Los Angeles sunshine, this one’s shot on location in South Africa, where Jack Bauer has arrived after a globe-trotting journey of self-discovery. Over a long conversation recently at the actor’s favorite Thai place in an L.A. strip mall, Kiefer tells TV Guide he’s so deeply invested in his character, he keeps a handwritten journal of Jack’s thoughts. “Before each season, I write a character book to get my head in sync with Jack’s and create a backstory,” he says. “This year, I wrote that Jack would have to disappear from the Western world and go back where he started in Season 1 – dealing with the Eastern bloc. He knows people there and could hide out before working his way from Kazakhstan, through the Middle East, across India and then down into Africa to meet his old friend Carl [Robert Carlyle]. That’s where the prequel – and trouble – begins.”

Carlyle is an actor best known for The Full Monty and a good friend of Sutherland. Says Kiefer, “I was so eager for Bobby to play this role, I called him and said, ‘I’ll give you whatever you want. I’ll wash your car for a year. I’ll babysit the kids.’ He said, ‘Actually, I’ll do it if you don’t babysit the kids.’”

Three years have passed since the end of Season 6 and it’s Inauguration Day for the first female commander in chief, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). The drama unfolding in Africa is about to become priority one the minute Madame President is sworn in. “In plays, the stakes are often high with one or two characters,” says Jones, a two-time Tony Award winner. “But on 24, every single moment in every scene with every character is a high-stakes moment. It’s very cool.”

Regarding the new setting, Sutherland says he felt a sense of renewal the minute he arrived in Cape Town. “We could have constructed a set to look like Africa, but what you can’t do is fake the faces or the soul or the spirit of the place,” he says. “I hadn’t felt so engaged with the world around me in a very long time, and I think my love for the place shows up on screen.”

During shooting, the crew was frequently mobbed, particularly because actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who plays an African rebel leader, is a major star on the continent. But it was the African child actors Sutherland appreciated the most. “This was the first time these kids had done anything even close to this and that was so inspiring,” he says. “Back home, you can’t see kids going 10 minutes without looking at their iPods or game devices. Here the kids were blissfully running around between takes playing with a rock and a stick. I wanted to go home and throw away all my kids’ computers.”

While there are no signs of series regulars like Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brian) or James Morrison (Bill Buchanan), the prequel does have Powers Boothe returning as outgoing president Noah Daniels and Peter MacNicol as White House chief of staff Tom Lennox. “We wanted to bridge the gap between Days 6 and 7,” says co-executive producer Jon Cassar, “and it gives us a rare chance to show the transfer of power from one administration one season to the next.”

In Season 7, the new day is set in Washington, DC, and while CTU is no more, there’s plenty of firepower at the FBI. Beloved Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) is somehow coming back from the presumed-dead. As co-executive producer Howard Gordon says, “Not only is Tony not dead, he’s doing something really bad. It’s going to be a Heart of Darkness moment on the show.”

But that’s for 2009. For now we’ll have to satisfy our 24 withdrawal with a two-hour fix of sweaty gunplay in the make-believe African nation of Sangala. As Kiefer tells TV Guide, “It’s so great to be back in Jack Bauer’s shoes. When the s—t hits the fan, nobody reacts faster or stronger than he does, and I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us.”

Source: JustJared