Kiefer Sutherland wanted to kill off Jack Bauer on ‘24’
Kiefer Sutherland wanted to kill off “24’s” Jack Bauer, but Fox dramatically staged an intervention to keep the icon alive.
“24” co-creator and writer Howard Gordon said, “Kiefer actually wanted Jack Bauer to die, and we had many conversations about it … many of us, including his agent, tried to talk him out of it, but then there was an edict from very high up [within Fox] and Jack Bauer is still alive.”
Gordon said Sutherland’s desire to kill Bauer was inspired by the actor’s ambition to “do something different,” but also his somewhat “self-destructive personality.” But he added, “We were ready to move on. We all felt that character’s story has been told.” The last season saw Bauer hand himself over to the terrorists.
Sutherland had said last year, “’24’ is definitely over now for me … It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given as an actor. But it’s moving on without me.” However, earlier this year, he softened his stance, saying, “I’ve learned enough over the last few years to not say ‘never.’”
Multiple Emmy-winning TV writer and producer Gordon spoke at a 21st Century Fox luncheon at the Cannes Lions festival hosted by executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.
He discussed the spinoff “24: Legacy” that won’t star Sutherland — instead Corey Hawkins headlines as Bauer’s CTU successor — but said he hopes Jack Bauer could make a cameo. “There’s always a chance he could come back.” Fox green-lit the series in April with a 12-episode order.
Gordon, who also co-created and wrote “Homeland,” continued: “Jack Bauer has cast a very long and powerful shadow … Carrie Mathison [Claire Danes’ character in ‘Homeland’] was born out of Jack Bauer. So was Corey’s character. We are fishing in the same pond for stories … Jack Bauer is the atom.”
He added, “When ‘Homeland’ came, at the end of ’24’ … I realized there was no soldier represented on television who had come home from war, so that was the genesis of that.
“It was 10 years after 9/11 and the questions I was asking, was that we are 10 years later and well into two wars, what is the price we have paid for it, what does it mean to be afraid? Good drama is not answering the questions, but helping you pose the questions, and having the right characters to tell the story.”