His main character hates guns, searches for peaceful solutions and comes across as a genuine ambassador of good.
A little different from Jack Bauer, right?
“A little different, yes,” says Howard Gordon, the executive producer who turned “24” into a ratings juggernaut and helped make Jack Bauer a household name.
But Gordon, a Long Island native who has immediate family living in Bergen County, was not looking to create another rules-be-damned, cross-every-line hero. So when he sat down to write “Gideon’s War,” his debut novel, he left Bauer’s eight seasons of footprints behind.
The novel owes Bauer – or more specifically, the writers’ strike that kept Bauer’s gun holstered – a little credit. It was during that strike when Gordon’s novel took root. An agent approached Gordon about the possibility of a book sometime before the strike.
“I said I was interested,” Gordon said. “but I didn’t think I had the time. And when the writers’ strike happened in 2007, I essentially ran out of excuses and had plenty of time. In those 4 1/2, five months, I actually made some very good headway and sold the novel.”
An English major at Princeton, where he wrote an unpublished book called “My Brother’s Keeper,” Gordon decided it was time to revisit the topic of brothers. “Gideon’s War” follows Gideon Davis, an expert negotiator who is summoned overseas to chase after his estranged brother Tillman.
Gordon said he has always been fascinated by those biblical stories of betrayal and redemption – Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Jacob and Esau …
Jacob and Esau? Sounds like a man who has caught a couple episodes of “Lost.”
“To be honest with you,” Gordon said, “I still have it on TiVo and have not watched the end. Doing a TV show is so labor intensive, I watched literally nothing. And I’ve been catching up on years of DVDs now. And so ‘Lost’ is definitely on my list. I just finished ‘Dexter,’ which I loved. Have you seen it? It’s fantastic. And then ‘Breaking Bad’ I’m watching also, which is great.”
And like millions of others, Gordon misses “24.”
“People liked the show,” Gordon said. “And those who liked the show were kind of all-in. That was one of the gratifying things – that so many people stuck with us for so long. Our contract was to sort of give them a thrill every week and to keep them involved in the story. People really got involved in it. They loved Jack. And people miss Jack.”
As for movie plans, the clock continues to tick, no countdown is in sight. Entertainment Weekly reported last week that Fox rejected the script that Billy Ray had written for the project.
“I think it’s officially on hold,” Gordon said. “Believe it or not, I’m not the center of that decision. There may be conversations happening that I’m unaware of. It’s really about what Kiefer [Sutherland] and Fox want to do. I certainly think there’s a movie there, I hope that Fox at some point chooses to redevelop one, but the script that we had been working on was essentially shelved.”
Gordon has enough other things to juggle. A sequel to “Gideon’s War” is in the works. He is an executive producer on “Homeland,” a new series starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, which begins filming this month. And he is working on a pilot for NBC.
“We’ll see how that turns out,” Gordon said. “You never know. It’s always a crapshoot.”