Depending on how you look at it, 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY is either a miniseries about Kiefer Sutherland’s redoubtable ex-counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer, or simply Season 9 of 24, resuming after a four-year break in a twelve-hour frame, airing on Fox Mondays at 9 PM.
Howard Gordon, executive producer of 24 for much of its run, is back on 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY. Gordon also has three other series in production – the multi-award-winning HOMELAND, coming back for its fourth season in the fall, FX’s new TYRANT and TNT’s LEGEND. This raises the question of whether Gordon is secretly affiliated with ORPHAN BLACK as one of its subjects – has he been cloned?
“Don’t even,” Gordon replies. “It’s a bad subject right now in my household. I’m definitely testing the limits of my attention span and my ADD.”
Gordon is at Fox’s Q&A session for the Television Critics Association for 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY. When the panel ends, he remains for some follow-up questions.
ASSIGNMENT X: Did you actively want to come back to 24, or did Fox say, “We really have to do this”?
HOWARD GORDON: It was a series of fortunate events, where it started with a dinner with [Fox chairman/CEO] Peter Rice, who said, “Oh, are you doing the movie?” I said, “Probably not, or at least not imminently.” “Well, what about one of these limited series?” I said, “That’s an interesting idea. I’m having dinner with Kiefer.” I had dinner in a week with Kiefer. I mentioned it to him kind of offhand. Next thing I knew, he was kind of maybe interested and sort of thinking about it, I talked to [Fox president] Kevin Reilly, and he turned out to be interested, and then I said, “I’ll only do it if [24 writers/exec producers] Evan [Katz] and Manny [Coto] are available,” and they were, and [24 co-creator] Bob Cochran and [writer/exec producer] David [Fury] and [director/exec producer] Jon Cassar, so suddenly, we were back to the reunion.
AX: Do you ever have to worry that any of the plotlines between any of your various shows don’t resemble each other too much? Do you ever have a moment of going, “Well, we’re doing a beat kind of like that over here”?
GORDON: Surprisingly enough, there’s enough difference between that that it hasn’t been a concern yet. It may be, but it hasn’t been yet.
AX: At least for people who live in Los Angeles, sometimes Jack got around the city in incredibly quick time. Does the twelve-hour format, where you can cut away a bit, give you more realistic time about getting from Point A to Point B?
GORDON: The answer is, any big muscular moves with locations will be easier to accommodate with this thing. By the way, traffic has gotten so much worse from the time we started that we couldn’t do it here [any more in Los Angeles].
AX: Does having a twelve-hour frame instead of a twenty-four-hour season allow you to do things differently in terms of how quickly things happen? Are you using any of the storytelling techniques from HOMELAND?
GORDON: Not really. Only because it’s still 24. It still is real time. When you think about it, the absurdity of some of the things that we had to – or did, I shouldn’t say “had to,” that was one of the blessings of the show. But as long as the characters are operating with the integrity of their characters and the story is fun, notwithstanding whatever criticism there might have been, as Kiefer said, we’re very proud of those – even our flubs. It was very hard to keep it up twenty-four hours a season. There were obviously things that we wish we could have done better, but not a lot of regrets, and we just want to keep it going.
AX: You’ve previously said that on most seasons of 24, you started the story and then figured out at least parts of it as you went. With the twelve-hour format, are you better able to craft the whole through-line in advance?
GORDON: It’s a little bit better, and we have some better idea – because you could only see eight episodes ahead, whether that’s eight episodes or twelve and almost never twenty-four. That you can’t see. So we have the rough contours of where we might wind up here. And in fact, an idea about where to end emotionally, which is always very important.
AX: For those seasons of 24 that took place outside of L.A., you still shot in L.A. and just found areas that looked like New York and D.C. Why was it so important to actually shoot LIVE ANOTHER DAY in London?
GORDON: It’s harder to fake London. It’s easier [to shoot where the action is set]. When we did 24: REDEMPTION, that we did in South Africa, and that really, really felt – nothing beats being there. And ultimately, we really wanted to shoot the city. The other ones we were able to sort of cheat – Washington was cheatable, New York was less easy to cheat and maybe a little less successful. So between that, tax breaks and the fun of it, we said, “Let’s do it.”
AX: Doing this as a limited series, does it still break down to a similar cost per episode?
GORDON: I don’t know what the math is. I know there’s a tax break involved. The network has been very, very generous. So it’s a pretty big financial commitment to the show in terms of its look.
AX: With Jack hiding in London, how hidden is he? Does he have a whole other life and persona there?
GORDON: No, no, no. He hasn’t necessarily just been inLondon. He’s probably been going from place to place. He’s been fairly itinerant as a fugitive, we learn. So he’s inLondon for a purpose. He’s not settled there under a cover life. He’s had some adventures, which we’ll unearth.
AX: Who is in the writers’ room here?
GORDON: The writers’ room is, Evan and Manny are running it, I’m very, very involved – I’m still day to day, but not with the same intensity. David Fury is back there, Bob Cochran is in a couple of days a week. We’ve found some new writers as well, but between Evan, Fury, Manny and me and Bob Cochran, it’s a remarkable return for the writers’ room. Oh, and Patrick Harbinson, who was on HOMELAND, is doing a script for us. But he was on 24 as well.
AX: Besides the characters who have been announced as coming back – Chloe played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, Audrey played by Kim Raver and William Devane as now-President Heller – will we see any other familiar faces?
GORDON: As long as they’re alive, there’s a possibility. I’m not being coy, we just don’t know.
AX: Can you give us any hints as to what to expect on HOMELAND next season?
GORDON: Well, you know Carrie is pregnant. So that’s something that will certainly figure into the progression of her story.
AX: Fox is billing 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY as an event series. How firm is it in your mind that you’re only doing this once?
GORDON: I would really, really be hesitant to predict it or to even predict our desire to do it. I think we have to see how this turns out. As Kiefer said, we just really honor this show. It was so important to all of us for so many years that as long as we’re excited to do it, and if this turns out to be a success and the audience embraces it, then there’s no reason not to, but we’re certainly not thinking about that. It’s one day at a time.
AX: And what are you happiest about in coming back to 24? Is there an element of going, “Gee, I missed …”?
GORDON: Honestly, I missed Jack. It was that simple. I mean, really, I didn’t think I’d ever say that, I thought I’d always keep it in the rearview mirror, but when I really thought about it, just imagining Jack Bauer on screen again was exciting, and it was exciting for all of us. I think all of us felt that way, including Kiefer. “Okay, I think we’re done, and we did it well for so long, why tempt fate like this?” That’s the measure of it.
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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive interview with 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY executive producer Kiefer Sutherland