Comic-Con 2014: 24: Live Another Day Panel Report

On Thursday morning, Comic-Con International began with a bang as Kiefer Sutherland came to San Diego for a special “24” panel. Sutherland was joined by veteran “24” executive producer and director Jon Cassar for a look back at the recently completed “24: Live Another Day” and the eight season run of “24.”

Sutherland received a warm Comic-Con welcome from the crowd of over 4,000 fans. Although Cassar was the moderator of this panel, Sutherland joked that he had never seen Cassar look so nervous before.

To begin, Sutherland was asked about filming in London. He said that it was a difficult shoot, particularly because of the gun laws. They needed six weeks notice to have a gun on set and it forced them to be creative with the ways that characters were dispatched. Sutherland noted that “it took us a few months to get together,” but he added that the crew was amazing and London was a fantastic experience.

Related: Kiefer Sutherland on ’24: Live Another Day’

Both Sutherland and Cassar spoke of their awe for London’s historical significance and its buildings that have stood for 500 years. Amusingly, Cassar shared a story about the crowds in London asserting their rights to be near the “24: Live Another Day” shoot. However, the crowd was extremely well behaved and they even followed directions from the crew to stay out of the shots on the London street.

Sutherland went on to relate a story about filming an emotional scene with Mary Lynn Rajskub when her character, Chloe tells Jack that her husband and her child have died. He said that Rajskub told him that she didn’t know how to do the scene with 2000 people watching her and he suggested that she internalize it. Sutherland was blown away by her performance and the tears she shed during the scene. When he complimented her afterwards, Rajskub said she was crying because so many people were watching her.

Although a few years had passed, Sutherland wasn’t surprised about getting the call to reprise his iconic role once again. “I think we had every intention of doing the [24] film,” related Sutherland before adding that “this character has been the greatest gift in my career.”

However, Sutherland said that there was extraordinary panic about trying to pull off “24” again. “We’ll never say that we made a perfect season, but we were really proud of what we did.” According to Sutherland, no one wanted to damage the reputation of the show that came before and that he turned himself inside out with worry about doing Jack and the franchise justice.

The evolution of Jack Bauer was also on Sutherland’s mind. Both he and Cassar said that the Jack of “24: Live Another Day” was a much meaner Jack who was shooting people twice after they were dead. Sutherland said that they were very cognizant of what Jack used to be like. In the first season, he said that there was so much hope in Jack’s life, but he became more aggressive after losing people that he loved. Prior to filming the miniseries, Sutherland wrote a journal about Jack’s life after the show as an acting exercise… and also as an excuse to justify Jack getting the tattoos on his arm so that Sutherland wouldn’t have to get them covered up again.

Related: 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Episode 12 Review

Both Sutherland and Cassar explained that the ending of “24: Live Another Day” was hard to deal with. Sutherland said that saving Chloe gave Jack satisfaction, but they went through a lot of ideas. He joked that they were going to create an extended ending for the DVD/Blu-ray release in which Jack grabs a grenade from the Russians and blows up the helicopter taking him to Moscow.

Sutherland admitted that “we copped out because it’s hard to let go… This really did matter to us. It’s the most energizing thing you can imagine. I think we didn’t want to let it go and we fought against it.“ That’s why Jack is still alive and he could eventually return.

After that, Sutherland spoke about the cast members who returned from the original series. He said that Rajskub has an aura of invincibility around her because no one wants to kill off Chloe. She doesn’t have the fear that some of the other performers have for their characters. Sutherland shared a story about meeting Kim Raver for the first time five minutes before filming an intense kissing scene with her in the fourth season of “24.” Immediately after they were done, they were formally introduced and he met her husband. Sutherland praised Raver’s professionalism.

William Devane was also singled out for praise by Sutherland and Cassar for his performance as President Heller. However, both men enjoyed sharing short tales of Devane’s annoyance with life in London off the set of “Live Another Day.”

Related: 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Episode 9 Recap

Regarding one of the most talked about scenes from “Live Another Day,” Sutherland conceded that Jack threw Margot Al-Harazi out of a window because of his “ego.” Sutherland really wanted to do a scene with Michelle Fairley. As originally scripted, Jack just shot Margot through the window and he never really interacted with her. Sutherland dryly noted that Fairley was surprisingly strong when she struggled with him during their brief scene together. Sutherland also spoke highly of the stunt team that worked on the show and in particular, the stuntwoman who pulled off Margot’s epic death.

Sutherland told the crowd that Jack is a “very different guy from me… I respect Jack, he has a very strong sense of right or wrong and he lives by it.” He added that it makes his acting decisions very simple. Sutherland shared a story about the time during the first season when he went to the wrong location. He was late because of it and he ran out of gas half a mile down the road from the real location. As he ran down the street with an empty gas can, someone yelled “Jack Bauer!” And when Sutherland ran back the other direction with a full can of gas, someone else yelled “Jack Bauer’s a loser!”

A funnier story involved Sutherland witnessing an old woman being attacked in Los Angeles. Sutherland said that he jumped out of his car and he punched the first robber before the second robber and the actress revealed that they were shooting a student film. Sutherland told the Comic-Con crowd that this is what they mean by don’t try this at home.

At the request of the crowd, Sutherland performed two patented Jack Bauer “Damn it” moments. While neither Sutherland nor Cassar spoke definitively about more “24” in the future, Sutherland admitted that it would be his dream to have Gene Hackman or someone like him on the show.

Cassar got the final question of the panel as he was asked if he would direct the potential 24 movie. Cassar seemed to indicate that he probably wouldn’t direct it, but he did say that they are still talking about the movie and he would love to do it if he could.

With that, the panel came to a close. But both men reminded the packed room that “24: Live Another Day” hits Blu-Ray and DVD on September 30.

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