He’s the man who can take on a whole army of Chinese operatives, disobey the president’s orders, hacksaw a key witness’ head off and still live to see another day. Whatever plight faces the world of 24, be it nuclear attack, bioterrorism, or assassination attempts, the audience knows that everything will be okay when Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is around. We caught up Sutherland at a season 7 finale screening and asked about some of the biggest plot twists this season, as well what the future has in store. Oh, and (SPOILER ALERT) fans, you can breathe easy: Executive Producer Howard Gordon told EW that Jack will live to see the sunrise at least once more.
(Editor’s note: Members of the press were asked to refrain from asking Sutherland and the cast any questions regarding their personal lives.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s it like to have Jack on the verge of death right now?
KIEFER SUTHERLAND: It has to go in stages and you just try to monitor in your head where physically you are with the character. From a dramatic perspective, it’s a great dynamic to be able to play that, certainly in the context of the relationship between Jack and his daughter. I have a 21 year old daughter and a 31 year old daughter, and I found that to be moving personally as a man. All of those things I was very excited to do.
Jack’s saving Kim Bauer yet again-or is she saving him?
I think Elisha Cuthbert is just a wonderful actor and I love that story line. It makes Jack a much more human character. When we brought her back we didn’t want anything that we’ve done before, whether she was kidnapped or whether she managed to be part of the crisis, and she wasn’t. It’s a much more emotional connection than we had together, and then it kind of follows her as a way of threatening people. They don’t really get her, so I like the way that was utilized throughout the season.
Talk about the decision to make Tony evil.
[Carlos Bernard] called me after the first couple episodes when they showed how bad he was, and I think people were kind of stunned. They kept going, “No he can’t be bad,” but I think two episodes in he started getting hate mail, then he started getting the hate phone calls. He said, “You must get used to this,” but it made him a little nervous.
What do you feel Jack’s mindset is going into season 8? The show is moving to New York and CTU is back.
Well the show is. I can’t really tell you what context I’ll be involved with the show, for a variety of reasons. I will always be a part of the show as a producer. Moving to Washington just gave us a lift I think for an audience to be able to kind of see a different backdrop made it exciting, certainly for us as actors. You can feel the power emanating from the walls when you walk down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and it changed the way we walked, and it changed the attitude that we had, and New York, you’re not going to find a more energetic city in the world, and we thrive on that, and that’s a huge component of our show. NewYork will present a lot of difficulties for the characters next year. It’s not an easy city to get around in at certain times of the day, etc. So all of those things I think will be an interesting change for season 8.
What are your goals for Jack in season 8?
Well again, I’m not going to talk about him in season 8, but one of the really nice things for him in these two episodes has been this monumental shift that he is preparing to die, and I think he’s coming to grips with some of the things that he’s done in his life, and some he can justify and some he cannot, and that’s creating a very emotional transition for him. That’s something that’s much stronger in this season and specifically the last two episodes than everything else we’ve ever done.