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War and Peace: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary-Lynn Rajskub, David Fury, Freddie Prinze Jr., Anil Kapoor Talk Day Eight in "24" Press Room

In the press room after the 24 panel at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, David Fury tried to explain comments that fellow executive producer Howard Gordon made on the panel about the lack of female writers on the FOX series. Gordon had likened the dearth of women behind the scenes on 24 to the fact that the Rolling Stones didn't have any female members either.

"They call me the woman on staff because I've written female roles for several other shows," Fury told members of the press. "Do I miss having women on staff? I do. The women who have come on have not quite captured the show, I don't know why. There is a mentality that it's a men's show. I don't think it's a problem for the show not having female writers, the show has been through many different writers, very successful very good writers who have succeeded on other shows could not quite get through the mindset and for some reason a lot of writers have fallen by the wayside. There's a cigar room and I don't think a woman would like getting invited into that room except for Katee Sackhoff."

What other information did we glean from behind closed doors in the 24 press room? Let's discuss, though beware as there are SPOILERS for Day Eight ahead.

Kiefer Sutherland said that he believes Jack is "apolitical." Personally, he's absolutely against the death penalty and thinks it's morally reprehensible and is embarrassed it's still used, BUT he can't tell you what he'd do if someone ever harmed his child.

Sutherland said he has "absolutely no regrets" about playing Jack Bauer and really doesn't know if it's the last season. He always felt the show could go on without him, saying "The star of the show is the format and the idea. I remember I actually pitched Joel Surnow once in the very beginning of Season One. I said, You know, you could change it up every year. The next year could be the last 24 hours of Joan of Arc's life, the next year could be 24 hours in a firefighter's day, 24 hours of a woman who's pregnant whose car is broken down in a snowstorm and how she's going to save this baby. I mean, it was endless. The format was what was so intriguing so I've always felt that way."

Still, said Fury, there haven't been any decisions yet about whether this is the last season of 24. "There's no telling if this is the last season," he said. "Jack Bauer could die. Personally I don't think that's how you want to end Jack's story, but that doesn't mean he can't go out in a blaze of glory. We do know what Jack's journey will be this season."

So should viewers expect to see any familiar faces on Day Eight of 24 and could Mandy make a return engagement?

"We're only in first third of the season," said Fury. "We've been discussing characters who could return. Charles Logan? I helped champion keeping Tony alive last season. Tony could be pivotal. There's always Mandy... we talked about Mandy last year. There's a split in the writers' room with Mandy's character not being perceived as 24; she's sort of Alias. Tony's accomplice last season was Mandy at one point, but that went away."

"Renee will return within the first couple of nights," he said about Annie Wersching's FBI Agent Renee Walker. "She will be a different person than she was [last season]. Jack and she will be into the relationship we put forth in Season Seven; we'll follow through this season. The season begins with Jack in a happy place ready to start a new life and when Renee appears she's a damaged person. But she's someone he decides to be a part of his life. Jack is putting back together the life he had. The thing with 24 is when you put something together, invariably it's going to put it at risk and Renee is going to play a big part."

Viewers shouldn't expect to see Carlo Rota's Morris O'Brian. At least not at first anyway, said Mary Lynn Rajskub, who said that she hasn't seen any scenes with Morris in any of the scripts she's read so far. "Morris is somewhere but so far I don't see him in any scripts but he could come back at any moment," she said. "He's at home with the baby I think."

As for Chloe herself, Rajskub said that Day Eight finds her in some very different circumstances.

"Chloe is not up to speed in the new CTU, which is very different for her," explained Rajskub, who said that this pits Chloe against Katee Sackhoff's Dana Walsh, who is her new boss. "She kind of pats me on the shoulder and says, 'Don't worry, you'll catch up,' which is the worst moment for Chloe ever. Everything's changed at CTU and my bosses are looking at me like I'm not doing it right. But then something happens in the story where I think I know some information which puts me at odds with my bosses."

So there's definitely a CTU then next season? (Yes, and you can read more about what Day Eight's CTU looks like here.) And what's the timeframe of when Day Eight is taking place?

"President Taylor reinstated CTU after last season," said Fury. "She feels the country needs people like Jack Bauer to ferret out the conspiracies... Not sure if they'll specify the time lapse between Season Seven and Eight. But it's probably eight to nine months."

And, as we all know, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are out as locations this season, which shifts to New York City for Day Eight.

"New York will be very big," Fury explained. "A lot [of it is] taking place at the UN. We don't have a White House this year. Anil Kapoor's character's story takes place at the UN. We've digitally recreated New York. We faked New York and it looks fantastic. We have a helicopter taking off a field in Santa Clarita that's suddenly on Roosevelt Island and there's Manhattan in the background and you buy it. It's incredible, feels like we're there and it really makes a difference."

So who is Kapoor playing then?

"Anil [Kapoor] is President of the Republic of... Kamistan?" said Fury. "I want to make clear it's not Iran. The UN was not happy about us doing anything [involving the] Iranian people or the government might take offense to, so we came up with a country. It was Iran for a long time in the script, but we decided it can't be. I think the spelling is Kamistan."

For Slumdog Millionaire's Kapoor, who plays Omar Hassan, the president of Kamistan, wanted to make sure he wasn't typecast in 24. Kapoor said that he liked that he could play the President of a Middle Eastern country as it was completely opposite to what he did in Slumdog. Of Omar Hassan, Kapoor said that he's a president and a good guy who's come to the US on a peace mission. "He's a peacemaker," said Kapoor. It was that fact more than anything that sold him on playing the role.

Also joining the cast for Day Eight of 24 is Freddie Prinze Jr., who plays CTU agent Cole Ortiz. Prinze said that he was a huge fan of the series, which he said has "always been a very character driven show."

As for Cole, he has something in common with Jack Bauer. "He's an ex-marine and Jack's an ex-marine," said Prinze, "He's heading up field ops, Jack used to head up field ops for CTU and this character knows Jack by reputation."

"There's a dark side to this relationship that you find out fairly quickly," said Prinze, whose character is engaged to Katee Sackhoff's Dana Walsh. "For a character like Cole who's someone who's very disciplined and substituted a lot of feelings that he had post-9/11 for the qualities that define a Marine, like self-respect, and dignity and honor. For someone like that to go through what this character's going to go through it's really going to turn his world upside down as far as the relationship goes."

Prinze also said that Cole is a guy who has to keep his emotions in check and is very hot headed.

Finally, Prinze confessed that he can't imagine anyone else saying each episode's "the following takes place..." except Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer.

You and me both, buddy.

24 kicks off Day Eight in January, 2010 on FOX.

Reporting by Lissette Lira


Unknown said…
Shall we be seeing characters like Tony Almeida and Morris O'brain. They are guys who really keep the tides up with Jack? It's pleasure to have Chloe and Renee and Kim Bauer.
Patricia Ruth Solonski said…
To whom it may concern,
Can you please tell me how, at the beginning of each showing how it starts (the following takes place between 8pm and 9pm), which is the term for a 12 hour clock, yet during the showing it keeps refering to the (24hour clock).
For example,in the show it referd to the time as 0800 but it was still dark.
Looking forward to an answer.
Don Rothausen
e-mail adress----

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