just focus on doing really great work, or the
best I can, anyway.
CC: Season 7 of
24 has been really terrific, a solid return to form after a shaky sixth
season. Creatively, the show has been given a
big reboot. Tell me about that.
KS: We’re a really competitive group of
creative people, first of all. We’d taken some
hits about season 6, and some of them justifiably so. There were some issues with season 6,
but they weren’t really different issues than
we’d experienced all the way back to season 1.
We break the series down into three sets of
eight episodes, three acts. We usually have a
conflict that goes about 10 episodes, and then
we transition into another eight-episode conflict and then hit the endgame.
It’s hard to sustain that storytelling, especially in real time. Those transitions can be very,
very tricky from a creative standpoint. That
extra time off [from the writer’s strike] really
allowed the writers to work out some stuff
structurally and creatively, and I don’t think
we’ve sagged in those transitions the ways that
we might have in other seasons. Moving the
show to Washington, dismantling CTU [the
Counter Terrorist Unit], partnering Jack with a
woman—these are all new things for the series,
and they’ve really brought it back to life.
CC: You’re already shooting season 8.
What can we look forward to?
KS: We’ve been working for months getting those scripts and those ideas together. We
have a loose idea of where we want to end
up—we always do—but we also never seem to
end up getting there. But we’re very excited to
use everything we learned on season 7 and
make it work even better for season 8. I’ll tell
you this about season 8: We’re in New York.
Jack will be partnering with [season 7’s renegade FBI agent] Renee Walker, and—unlike
the other seasons, which have usually begun a
few years after the previous season—season 8
starts very, very close to the end of season 7.
We’ll still be dealing with a lot of the story elements from season 7, and that’s very exciting.
CC: Despite your onscreen technological
24, you’re actually something of a
real-life Luddite from what I understand.
KS: That’s true. My daughter’s favorite
line used to be “Uh, Dad, can you help me
with this thing on the computer?” Then she’d
take a beat and go, “Oh, that’s right. You can’t.”
And she’d laugh at me. All I can say is, I still
have a fondness for the pen and paper.
CC: And that’s probably the only difference between you and Jack Bauer, right?
KS: I think there might be one or two
other differences. [Laughs] I can’t fight like
Jack Bauer. I can’t sustain the injuries that
Jack Bauer can. And, unlike Jack Bauer, I do
need to sleep and eat occasionally.
CC: You’ve often said that you’d like
Jack Bauer to die onscreen. Do you still feel
KS: I know I’ve said that many times.
There is a perverse part of me that would love
to shock the audience with the episode. It
would be unforgettable. But Jack Bauer is
such a huge part of my life. I can wish him
dead whenever I want, but the reality is I
would miss that character. We’re certainly
closer to the end than to the beginning with
this show, but I was just walking around the
stage the other day, getting very nostalgic for
all that this show has meant to me. I’m not in
a hurry for Jack Bauer to die. C
J. Rentilly is a Los Angeles-based journalist
who writes about film, music and literature.
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