Jon Cassar on filming in London, 24’s past

Jon Cassar at the 24: Live Another Day Premiere Party in NYC
Jon Cassar at the 24: Live Another Day Premiere Party in NYC

24 director and executive producer Jon Cassar had a lengthy podcast interview with Empire. He discusses the experience of filming in London, working with Kiefer again, YouTube parodies and the 24 drinking game, his thoughts on the Indian adaptation of the series, the Die Hard/24 crossover movie, and some of his past experiences on the show. We’ve transcribed most of it below.

24: Live Another Day Discussion

Challenges of London:
“Shorter shooting hours – the Americans shoot a twelve hour day, here they shoot an eleven hour day. An hour difference a day is a lot, it adds up at the end. So that was a little harder to get used to. Locations, a little difficult. And not even a really negative [experience], just harder getting permits; harder getting everything that we wanted when they said they were going to give it to us. That was a little difficult at times.”

Filming at Wembley Stadium:
“Unfortunately it is sacred ground – when they say sacred ground, they’re not kidding. You can’t touch it, go near it, smell it. We actually almost lost that location cause the restrictions were so tight we couldn’t work around what we had to do. So we finally agreed that we weren’t allowed to take any equipment, dollys, tripods had to be handheld and on the grass itself. On the edge was fine. And we could only have a certain number out there, there was only five of us that could be on the grass and of course I had to be one of them. So the five of us that were out there were taking pictures and everyone else was really jealous.”

London Geography:
“We can do realism and then you’d be bored out of your skull. Time is elastic is what we call it, you just have to stretch it a little bit. We really try not to make those mistakes; people think we don’t care which is not true at all. We really make an effort to get all that stuff right, we research as much as we can.”

Rewatching every episode of 24 prior to Live Another Day:
“There were things that I would watch and then call or email the writers and say, you know what I just saw in Day 1 that was really cool and we haven’t done in a while? I would just kind of feed them these nuggets of information. It was homework, it truly was homework. It kept the visual style alive for me, cause it’s not a style I’m allowed to do on other shows. It really is unique to 24. It just kept reminding me of what that visual style was.”

“Game of Drones”: “I was the one that actually retweeted it instantly cause I thought it was the funniest thing.”

Working with Kiefer Sutherland again:
“You can’t do this without Kiefer wanting to be in it 100%. And he was at 100%, he really wanted to do it again. Kiefer is just very ambitious and competitive, this year’s gotta be better [than the last]. Every year had to be better, that was his thing, that’s what drives him. We had to make a real effort to make this better which I think we did. And the jury is out if it stands up with other seasons. It seems people like it, so I think we’re there.”

Past “24” Seasons

24‘s original idea:
“The actual idea [for the series], which is really bizarre, is that it was going to be a wedding. The whole thing was going to be a wedding, that was the idea.”

Season 1’s clothing:
“This idea was really bizarre, and I don’t know, if you go back and watch it you could see it a little bit. The idea was that everyone was partying out in the clubs at night and there was this emergency, so everyone came in kind of with their dance clothes on. That was the idea of the costuming, you can kind of see there’s a little bit, an abundance of black that’s there. [Sarah Clarke] has a black outfit with sparklies on..”

Kim and the Cougar:
“The cougar probably didn’t hold up as well. Yes, oh my god, yes [I would’ve shot it differently]. It wouldn’t have been that, it would have been something else. It’s the cuddliest cougar. It was supposed to be a danger. I actually liked it in the script, I can’t admit I’m saying that to the world, but I liked the idea of the cougar. Unfortunately it was just shot in a way that made it [look] like a cuddly zoo animal. It wasn’t really a danger. And look, at least we have the cougar to make fun of through all these years, it’s not that bad. The cougar and a couple other things.”

Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais cameos in Day 6:
“Stephen Merchant is in one of the actual episodes, Ricky Gervais was just too funny to put in the show. So he’s in the DVD where we just kind of put his little thing where he’s in the White House and they’re discussing what to do. And he’s in the background just saying call Jack Bauer. And then they eventually say we’re going to call Jack Bauer and he says I told you so. But he was just so funny, there was no way we were going to put that in the show.”

Donald Sutherland as Phillip Bauer:
“Donald Sutherland was in the running to play Jack’s dad and it almost happened. It was very very close to happening and then it didn’t. It’s above me, basically what happened in the negotiations.”

Missing Carlos Bernard and Louis Lombardi:
“Carlos Bernard, I can easily say, is one of my best friends. So not having him around was a killer. He was such a big part of that show, he has a great sense of humor, a great rapport with Kiefer. They were great on set together, those were fun times. Being together and doing the parties with them all, it was just a great time. So when we lost him, it hurt. When we brought him back it was wonderful to have him back, then we lost him again. There’s always [harder] for us, it’s not just losing the character like you guys do. And Louis Lombardi, he was such a nice guy, such a great guy to have on set. You just miss him, you miss him on a day-to-day basis.”

Favorite episode of the series:
“I’d have to say the Season 5 opener, I think that’s my favorite. Where we virtually decimate the cast of 24 – when David Palmer dies and Michelle dies and we cook Tony Almeida. It’s just such a daring episode, you’re four years into the show and the writers come up to me and say this is what we’re going to do… I just said Oh my god, this is going to be crazy. It was one of those great episodes that drove the whole year: it really was about Jack and everything they did to his friends basically. And then the icing on the cake of course was Jean Smart and Greg Itzin as the President and the First Lady, two of the best I think we’ve ever had. And such a great storyline that went right to the very last episode. So I think that was my favorite.”


24 and Die Hard crossover movie:
“There was, there was talk of having John McClane and Jack Bauer together which is interesting. Actually, I don’t know this for a fact, but the last movie which did come out, the one they were talking about [doing a crossover with], his son ended up being named Jack which was an amazing coincidence. So I’m not sure if they just took that script and just said to hell with it, we can’t get Bauer, we’ll just make it his son. I don’t know if that’s true actually, but there was a combination.”

Damn it Drinking Game:
“We’re not cable. So it’s our only expression that tells you everything you want to know when you’re really upset, without using any words that we’re not allowed to use because we’re on network television. I do remember specifically that day when we found out there was college drinking games. We had done this one scene where he was really upset and I think he did five of them in a row. I called “cut” and there was just a big smile on his face, he looked at me and said “There’s a good one for the drinking game!” So he was aware of it, I’m not sure he did it on purpose, I think he was just aware of it that people were going to get drunk that night.”

24 India:
“I haven’t [seen it]. I’ve only seen a trailer, I’m dying to see full episodes. Cause even in the trailer I could tell the scenes, even though I don’t understand the language. It’s virtually shot by shot, that’s the amazing part. They’ve gotten every single episode and copied it exactly. So right away I could go that’s Tony Almeida, that’s Nina. It’s really bizarre.”

“I just keep thinking what if we just kinda do it around the world. What if it just kind of starts happening everywhere, like a Swedish Jack Bauer. There’s other countries that love the show so much, Japanese. I did a press tour in Japan and they were just nuts. I would say that England and Japan were the two that hooked onto 24 before the rest of the world. Even before America, England was kind of hooked into it right away. And in Japan, the ringtone is crazy, you just hear that ringtone all the time. They were telling me that the guy who does the voice for Jack Bauer, that guy is bigger than Brad Pitt in Japan. That guy can not walk down the street because he is so famous, he’s Jack Bauer’s voice.”

YouTube Parodies of 24:
“One of my favorites is Jack Bauer interrogating Santa Claus. I think that’s a good one because they did a really great job of matching the lighting on Santa Claus in the interrogation room and then pulled not just from one interrogation, you can tell Jack’s costume is changing a couple of times. But it’s really quite funny and really well done.

24 and Politics:
“We know Obama was a fan. Carlos [Bernard] had hooked up with Obama early before he had become President, he was a big fan of the show. And Condoleezza Rice. And then we had the other side, we had John McCain who did a cameo while he was running for President. And so we had completely the other side too. And it’s funny, it would come up all the time [in Senate Hearings]. We’ve never thought of ourselves as anything but a spy fantasy show. We just hit a nerve that was very real cause 9/11 happened. So what we designed as spy fantasy ended up being spy reality in terms of what was happening in the world.”

Future of 24:
“I can really tell you honestly right now there is no plan. This was a one-off, it was always designed as a one-off. The actors were hired as a one-off, which is one of the things that was really different as opposed to when you’re doing a regular series. You’re only hiring the actress for that one miniseries, as opposed to a series when you hire an actor you’ve really got him on a five year deal. So you can then choose whether to bring them back or not. In this case we weren’t designed that way, we were designed as a miniseries. And look, the fans brought it back as far as I’m concerned, they just never let it go. It was one of those shows that had stayed completely alive on the internet, streaming has got a whole new bunch of people watching it again. We brought it back cause FOX knew there would be an audience, that’s really why they do it at the end of the day. The 24 audience didn’t let us down, they watched in droves. So we’re pretty happy about it.”

24 Television Movies:
“One of the ideas I was pitching early on was… I just thought 24: Redemption worked so well, it was just so interesting to see Jack out of his element. Because the fans were clamoring for more 24, let’s just do a TV movie every year, pick a different country and do a TV movie every year. Watching Jack skip around Europe would’ve been interesting, and that was an idea I had years back. It somehow kinda morphed into what we just did, which was better cause we got to do twelve episodes.”

Source Empire


Comments Closed
Really hope this is the end of 24. Fox better do the right thing to end 24 and Jack Bauer once and for all even though Kiefer Sutherland is getting too old for this.

Shut up. Leave, and find a new forum.

Stop your whining and complaining because it’s none of your business “CHASE”. Such a “loser” and a “bully” ’cause I always hate bullies like you. :-(

BTW “CHASE”, won’t you leave and don’t EVER come back to this website because I don’t like people who “lie” to my face and I hate liars like you.

Hahaha you’re such a pathetic whiny little bitch. Reading your over reaction to “Chase” put a big smile on my face, you pitiful little runt. I really hope I get a similar reply, though admittedly I’ll probably forget to ever, ever check this page again. Have a terrible life you embarrassment to humanity.

Don’t make go all Jack Bauer on you either I interrogate you or torture you. Your choice. Like Bruce Banner says “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”.

On a whim I came back here and you didn’t disappoint! Can I get another angry comment, pleeeeeease? By the way, I hope you realize how sad it is to “threaten” someone over the internet. Ohhhh I’m sooooo scared. Seriously though, that gave me a good laugh, you sad, pathetic little dickwad. Please, give me another one, fucktard!

You guys are fighting….on the internet. Hilarious. I bet none of you would have the balls to confront each other head on. Again, think about it….your fighting ….on the internet. Ha!

Are you making a joke out of me? You’re like a terrorist or Nicholas Brody from Homeland. Have you ever watched Homeland? You’re like President Fitz from Scandal. Have you ever watched Scandal?

Like he said, this is the internet. He’s probably not a terrorist

Hahahaha you’re pathetic! This is hilarious to watch! Keep ’em coming, please, keep ’em coming!

“There were things that I would watch and then call or email the writers and say, you know what I just saw in Day 1 that was really cool and we haven’t done in a while?”

An idea to plant a mole again :)

Are you like Olivia Pope from Scandal? Have you ever watched Scandal?

Dude, nobody of substance watches that shitty excuse for a show. Like, nobody. Keep trying though.

Good to see that Jon Cassar did a complete rewatch just so he could find THINGS TO REPEAT.

Jesus Christ.

lol yeah, this season will be fresh and new…….(meaning we haven’t done that in a while) pffft

Hope Jon Cassar may be right that there are no plans to do another season of 24. One limited series is good enough but look back in 2010 that Season 8 was indeed the very last season of 24 and Fox better do the right thing during the network Summer press tour about the possible end of 24 as well as the upcoming Comic-Con panel on July 24th.

Cassar we want season 10! Season 9 not the end of 24! Make season 10!

I love the hypocrisy of Jon mourning having to “lose” Tony twice, only to go on to cite the Season 5 premiere as his favorite episode due to how many characters were decimated.

And yes, the fact that he rewatched all the seasons just to recycle ideas from them is very sad indeed.

He does realize that the first Die Hard movie, released in 1988, had already established John McClane’s son as being named Jack, does he not?

Yep, was just going to say the same thing. A 24/Die Hard movie crossover would suck now any way because Bruce Willis just phones everything in, Die Hard 5 was more abysmal then any episode of 24 ever, and I mean EVER! One of the most horrible movies ever made. I’ve found more interesting things in the litterbox than anything that movie had, awful awful awful.

24 and Die Hard can’t exist in the same reality anyway as DH4 acknowledged that George W. Bush — NOT David Palmer or Charles Logan — was president in 2007.

Good point, but I’m sure they’d ignore that. I’m not sure Die Hard and Chuck could or can exist in the same reality, but it did.

Well, Jon says Keifer and Carlos are friends and have great rapport, DVD special feature will give us a Tony update and Carlos shared a meal with the 24 head honchos prior to 24LAD shooting,. Why go to all this trouble if there are no plans for Tony’s return in S10 or a TV movie? We will have a S10 – we can feel it.

As much as I would like to see a season 10, and as much as the “new” ending to LAD points to a season 10, the more I think about it, the more I see it not happening. Howard Gordon has 3 shows either happening now or soon to be broadcast, and I think the earliest a season 10 can happen is 2016. At this point in time, 24 cannot afford to take another year off. Furthermore, I really think Kiefer is not interested in a 10th season of 24, especially if it a few years down the road. So a movie is the only other possibility. Since FOX owns the rights to everything 24, they would have to be willing to do a movie. I, for one, do not want a movie, for there can’t be much of a story in a 2 hour movie when we are all used to seeing a 16 hour story each season (except for LAD which was 8 hours). I think FOX would have to throw a huge amount of money at Kiefer to get him to do 12 more hours, and Howard Gordon would have to clear his schedule to start a January 2015 shoot. HG has been involved since its inception, so I don’t see 24 happening in any format without him. I hope it happens but I honestly don’t think so.

I used to look forward to reading the comments on this site, but now it’s something I try to avoid now. The comment section is now just full of people cursing, trolling, trash talking, and just being outright negative the entire time. While I’ll continue visiting to read the compilation of 24-related news, I’m glad I found somewhere else to discuss 24 that doesn’t feel like a cesspool.

I don’t think you can blame anyone for being negative given the way LAD turned out.

By “given the way LAD turned out,” you mean fantastic?

No… obviously.