Kiefer Sutherland is happy to return as Jack in a 24 revival, but he has a bolder idea

Kiefer Sutherland is happy to return as Jack in a 24 revival, but he has a bolder idea

Kiefer Sutherland returns to TV on March 26 in Rabbit Hole, a Paramount+ thriller in which he plays a masterful corporate spy whose life is thrown into disarray and paranoia when he is framed for murder. But there is another thriller that Sutherland is game to talk about, and it's one that earned him an Emmy and six other nominations for his performance. The clock's ticking, can you figure it out? Dammit, reader, we're running out of time!

Yeah, yeah, it's not that hard to guess: 24. Sutherland starred in the beloved, pulse-pounding 2001-2010 Fox drama as indefatigable, resourceful, and otherwise badass CTU agent Jack Bauer, and he reprised the role for the 2014 limited series 24: Live Another Day. Since then, the actor has headlined other thrillers (most notably, ABC/Netflix's Designated Survivor), but he's still grateful that fans keep 24 top of mind. Because it lives large in his, too.

"I mean, it was the best time of my life," he tells EW. "I was in my early 30s, so I was physically capable. I was not in my 20s, so I was a little smarter — not a whole lot, but a little smarter. And I got to do it for 10 years, which is, I guarantee you, the most stable opportunity that an actor will ever be given. So for all of those reasons, and just the fantastic people that I got to make it with — and by the way, it's so nice to do something that people like. [Laughs] Because I've had the other side, where I've done a few things where people are like, 'Yeah, that sucks.' I guarantee you the other version is nicer. It was incredibly special for me and I would like to see it continue on."

Keifer Sutherland on '24'
Keifer Sutherland on '24'

Fox/Everett Keifer Sutherland on '24'

Nearly 10 years have passed since Jack was last in action, but Sutherland has publicly endorsed the notion that there's more life in his death-defying super agent, last seen being helicoptered away by the Russians in exchange for the freedom of CTU analyst-turned-director Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Has the actor recently huddled with 24 showrunner Howard Gordon about reviving the series in some form? "Howard and I talk all the time and invariably it comes up," shares Sutherland, adding: "The idea of him being brought back — I'm just spitballing — I think that's an interesting idea. You introduce a new cast of people in their effort to get him out, and it lives on from that point. There's a lot of ways to go about it."

That includes versions in which Jack wouldn't be involved at all, but the concept would live on. Sure, like it did in 2017's 24: Legacy, which starred next-gen CTU hero (Corey Hawkins) and which featured Sutherland as an executive producer rather than an actor. But in a much broader and bolder sense, too. "I also think it's such a great idea to take a 24-hour moment in somebody's life that is desperate — and that could be a fireman; that could be so many different circumstances," he explains. "It boggles my mind that someone hasn't come along and said, 'Well, we need to do this with it.' So whether it involves me or not, I just think that to do something in real time is so clever — difficult, but clever — that I find it kind of shocking that it hasn't manifested itself into something else and/or bigger."

Would he prefer a Jack's back! incarnation over the clocking of a fresh face? "I'm not more interested in one idea versus another," answers Sutherland. In short, he's up for wherever the day takes him — or it takes the show. "Joel [Surnow] and Bob [Cochran, creators of 24] came up with something really clever in this idea of telling something in real time over a 24-hour period, and I would just hate to think that it only got one swing at the bat," he says. "I was grateful to have had the opportunity. If I get to do something else with it, I would certainly jump at that. But if it were to simply grow into something else, I would be its champion there as well, because I think the story is such a good idea. What was it, 20 years after the initial Star Trek that they finally started morphing into something different? I certainly see that for something like 24, because I believe it is a franchise-worthy idea. So, yeah — time will tell."

On 24, it always does.

Sutherland had plenty more to reveal about his new Paramount+ thriller in an EW interview, noting: "A character that's entirely motivated by fear is something that's really interesting to play." Head down the Rabbit Hole over here.

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