I spoke with the president the other day. No, not President Obama. The other one. Who? Why, Madame President Allison Taylor, the tough-as-Kevlar leader of the free world on 24 (9 p.m., Mondays, WFLX-Channel 29).
OK, actually, I was on a conference call with Cherry Jones, the Tony-winning actress who could very well earn an Emmy nomination later this year for her fine work on TV’s greatest thrill ride.
Madame president, er, I mean, Jones, 52, chatted for about 25 minutes with a bunch of TV writers and talked about everything from working with Kiefer Sutherland to why her commander-in-chief isn’t a small-screen version of Hillary Clinton.
On whether President Taylor will stay flawed: “I’m as flawed as the next little president. You’ll see I have plenty of flaws, both domestic and international.”
On working with Kiefer Sutherland: “I had been told by my dear friend (actress) Jayne Atkinson that whenever Kiefer’s on the set, there’s a whole other temperature – it’s part of the reason why he’s kept (24) so taut and intense. He’s completely focused. On that stage, he’s intensity personified.”
On research she did to play a president: “I always loved reading biographies. I read a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt. I was always fascinated by her. And I thought of (former Israeli Prime Minister) Golda Meir. I threw in a smattering of John Wayne just to get through the scene.”
On what it’s like playing a commander-in-chief: “When I first walked on to the set, there was a kind of deferential treatment simply because I was playing the president. Good actors will defer to someone who has the position of power. Everyone in the cast gives me the power I need.”
On what she knew about ’24′: “When I found out I had a meeting (with the producers) I rented the first season and saw two episodes. I fell in love with Jack Bauer. I grew up on Man From U.N.C.L.E and Mission: Impossible…. I have a proclivity for espionage.”
On why she wanted her president to be older: “I wanted her to show a life that has been difficult (so you could) see this massive grief on her face. She just lost a grown child and has had no time to mourn that child. She’s emotionally compromised when Day 7 begins. I wanted her to look tired from the top. I didn’t want to look like a Hollywood person playing the president. I wanted her to look like s-t.”
On if Taylor’s a Republican: “I’ve been quoted as saying my hair’s Republican. I’m not sure. The jury’s still out.”