BWW Interviews: 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Showrunners Preview Tonight's Explosive Season Finale
The explosive return season of 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY airs its season finale on Monday, July, 14th at 9:00pm ET on Fox. In the highly anticipated season finale, the clock ticks toward the final seconds of Jack Bauer's most heroic day. As the world teeters on a terror plot of mass proportions, Jack and the team reunite one last time to avert an imminent international crisis. With little time left and the fate of the free world on the line, Jack is faced with an unthinkable and grave decision. Lives will be lost and the American administration will grapple with the day's most devastating news as the clock stops in this exhilirating finale.
Recently, I participated in a conference call with Showrunners and Executive Producers Manny Coto and Evan Katz where they discussed the series' triumphant return after four years off the air. The pair also discusses tonight's season finale, but don't worry, I have removed the spoilers from the article, and will post them in a separate article tomorow morning. I've prefaced my question with "BWW."
Because of the title (of this week's episode, "Day 9: 10:00 PM - 11:00 AM"), we do know that there are 12 hours covered in the episode. Can you talk about the decision to have that time jump happen in the finale, and what is going on in it?
Manny Coto: We've always had, since pretty early on in the design of the season, the feeling that to do time jumps throughout the season didn't feel right to us. We quickly found that... while it's possible to pause one story for a time jump; 24 is always telling multiple stories, and to pause them all, became kind of unwieldy, and we found really slowed momentum. At a certain point we kind of realized where the season was building. (Check back tomorrow for the spoilerific part of this answer)
I'm wondering about the balance of Jack Bauer's character. We know he's been hardcore, but this season with throwing the terrorists out the window and saying, "Wake the b**** up." I wonder, what is the balance about making Jack a tough guy, versus almost on the edge of being unlikable?
Evan Katz: A couple things; ultimately what makes Jack a hero is, whatever he does he does for the greater good. He never does anything for himself, or for his own reasons. He's always the first guy to sacrifice himself. The other thing is, I think that the character exists in people's minds with the character's history, so I think there's a lot of forgiveness in terms of his actions. But, I also think Kiefer's playing him very true to this battered, beaten up character who survived all these losses of people he's loved, and has now been an on-the-run terrorist, according to his own government, for four years. I think what you're sort of seeing is, everything about Jack is just... he's just hardened and it's harder to get through to him and everything's boiled down to the bare essentials.
Did you ever question whether that scene about throwing her out the window? Did you guys say, gee, would he really do that?
E.K.: No. I mean, no. By the way, compared to other things he's done, that's nothing.
M.C.: I just want to reiterate what Evan said... this is not the same character that was in operation in Season 1. This is a haunted, damaged individual who is working outside of the law.
Given that this was such a great success with everybody; fans have really liked it, what would it take for you guys to want to sign up to do more 24?
M.C. Well, all it really takes is a story that fires us up. That's what kind of got us excited about doing this season, frankly; the fact that Jack was a fugitive and that we had a really fun and interesting place to start him, and the fact that Chloe was also in a similar situation. I think what would draw us back, if that were ever to happen, and that's definitely up in the air, would be we, or somebody, presents an interesting take on Jack's character and where he is, which would suggest a great season.
Will the (season) end in a cliffhanger, or will everything be wrapped up?
M.C.: I think the best answer to that is yes and no. Some things are definitely wrapped up, and I think the things that you want to be wrapped up are wrapped up, but there are also individuals whose stories aren't completely closed.
What's the thing you learned about bringing Jack Bauer back in this new setup, and what did you learn from this shortened season? Did it work better?
M.C.: I think the biggest thing that surprised me, and I think surprised Evan and all of us who were working on the show, was how much a lot of it was like riding a bicycle. I think when we first went in, at least myself, I was very nervous about could we recapture what we had; did we still remember how to write the show; could we do it the way we did; could we get back into this character? Evan had been off doing his own shows, and I had been doing Dexter, and both were radically different, and kind of the switch back, I guess, in my mind, was, "Is this possible; is this going to suck; is this going to be off?"
I think what was fun was when we first got into the room and started working the story, the old storytelling fun we used to have and energy came back. Then, even more surprising, when we started getting dailies and seeing Kiefer back into the role, and then all of the new characters, which were new, but also felt like they could be characters in 24, it really felt like we were watching Season 9 of 24, which is kind of what we wanted to do. I think all of us wanted to do something that was fresh and original, but at the same time, could easily be Season 9 of 24; it's not something weird and... it's not part of the show. I think that was my biggest surprise, is that the show felt like it had never gone off the air.
The Jack and Kate partnership team has been definitely one of the highlights of the season. How did you come up with that idea to sort of have Jack have this sort or protégé, rather than having him work mainly alone, or just mainly with Chloe?
E.K.: We came into the season really wanting to bring a woman in in a way that we hadn't seen. The show hadn't used her before and, in fact, I think the first couple weeks of us breaking the new season was really all about that character. We knew we had Chloe, but Jack working with a peer was something we had never quite done. Once we figured out what her backstory was, and how she was really going to end up pursuing Jack, and be the Tommy Lee Jones to his Harrison Ford, it all kind of clicked together.
Yvonne's been fantastic. It's really been a highlight to see them work together.
E.K.: Very versatile.
M.C.: She's a terrific actress that we've been having fun with. Wonderful person.
BWW: Hi, guys. As a viewer, it seemed like the season's streamlined episode count really provided some powerful forward-momentum to the storytelling that might not have been as easy to accomplish over 24 episodes. I was wondering how your approach was different with the 12 episodes as opposed to the traditional 24?
M.C.: I have to be honest, Evan and I really kind of approached this season... if this season had been 24, I think it would have been just as action packed as the episodes you've just seen, only there would be 24 of them. I think Evan and I really felt that we wanted the show to return a little bit more to its action thriller roots, or thriller roots, and we made a conscious decision to keep every episode kinetic and thrilling and to not do any filler episodes.
That said, I think also in the back of our minds we knew we only had 12 episodes. In 24 episodes you can take a moment now and then, because you've got runway where you have an episode that sets up another episode; we knew that wasn't going to happen this season because you only have 12. I do think, on top of what I just said, there was something in the back of our minds that made us understand that every episode had to be a peak; there was not going to be a down episode. I think it accelerated us that way, but a lot of it, like I said before, was a conscious decision on how we wanted to approach the season.
Now that production has wrapped up, and the finale airs Monday; looking back, what were some of the challenges and differences of shooting this entire thing in London?
E.K.: Well, we got very lucky. We sent our directing producer, Jon Cassar, to London. He was someone who was extremely familiar with the look of the show. We had to figure out the time zone issues; you can't change a script at the last minute, but really was not difficult at all and it gave us access to a talent pool of trained British actors that was really exciting.
I also think that London, itself, is making a conscious effort to be very film and TV friendly and, as a result, we were able to shoot incredible places. In fact, we shot a Sunday to Thursday week so that on the Sunday we could close down more public places.
The season finale of 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY airs on Monday, July 14th at 9:00ET on FOX. After the finale, my review will be up on BroadwayWorld TV. And then on Tuesday morning, I will post Manny and Evan's more spoiler-filled responses from this conversation. Let me know what you think of the season before, and after, the finale airs on Twitter @BWWMatt.