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The Cast and Crew of '24' Take It One Day at a Time

Dec. 15 -- "Boop. Beep. Boop. Beep. The following takes place between ..."

Those sounds and words signal to millions of TV viewers that something horrible is about to happen in America and superagent Jack Bauer is going to make it all better. The Emmy-award winning show returns for its sixth season with a two-hour premiere Sun., Jan. 14, 8PM ET on Fox. The fifth season is out now on DVD and includes a season six prequel, interviews, commentaries, deleted scenes and more.

In interviews with AOL Television editor Sean Doorly, the '24' cast and crew chatted about their favorite moments from the show, the upcoming big screen movie and what's in store for next year.



What makes the show work?
Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer): I have no idea. You'd have to ask the audiences that have watched. [But over five seasons], they've taken everything that's worked in season one and tried to implement that in season two, and taken everything that didn't work and gotten rid of it. The writers have not been complacent from season to season, they really are aggressively [making] the show better and the audience has really responded to that.

What can you tell us about the '24' movie?
Sutherland: One of the difficult things about setting up the film is that it's hard ... to pull any of the writers off to work on the movie script. We did hand in a script, we're certainly moving towards trying to make the movie happen in the hiatus. We're just concerned about the time we have for prep, but it's something we're certainly shooting for. And trust me, if we get the opportunity to do it, rest would be the last thing on my mind.

How many more worst days can there be in Jack's life?
Sutherland: However many they'll let me have. I think an audience will really let you know when they can't take that leap of faith anymore. The nature of the show and the format of the show is strong enough to go on, and I will die some miserable death.

How are you feeling as 40 approaches?
Sutherland: I feel unusually healthy. It almost seems unfair.

What can you tell us about season six?
Jon Cassar (Director): We can look forward to a little difference in the storytelling. It is more about something big that has already happened, how we are dealing with it and what is coming next. We are weeks into a major crisis.

Howard Gordon (Writer): Well, in season six, we've really become like Madrid, Tel Aviv, London -- we're in the midst of a wave of terror attacks. The President is now Wayne Palmer, the younger brother of David Palmer, so he's very much the RFK to Palmer's JFK, and he's dealing with a crisis that no president has ever had to deal with before. What happens when it really comes here? We're always about stopping it before it really gets ugly; well, it's gotten ugly before we even start.

Any surprises to top last season?
Cassar: Every year is a surprise for us. We just have the most creative writers -- they're unbelievably good -- and they keep coming up with the next twist. They're real news hounds. They really know what's happening out there in the world and incorporate it into our show. And the other thing that keeps us alive is that we're constantly switching our cast over, almost 100 percent sometimes. There's going to be a few faces you recognize, but it's a pretty new cast overall.

What was your favorite moment from the series?
Jean Smart (Martha Logan): My very first scene has to be one the favorite scenes I've ever got to do in anything. It's the best introduction of a character that I've ever had, when she looks in the mirror and doesn't like what she sees.

Cassar: Out of all six years? Man, that's a mean question! To just pick one, that's so hard for me. The opening episodes and the finales are my favorites because you're starting something or finishing it, which is rare on our show because usually you're just doing the middle. From a director's point of view, those are the important times. This year's opener is pretty exciting.

Gordon: My favorite moment from last season was when Gregory Itzin (President Logan) contemplates doing himself in. Another one of my favorite moments was David Palmer's death, only because it was one of the most difficult moments to write, to conceive and to ask Dennis [Haysbert] to do.

Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida): Probably season three was my favorite, towards the end of the season when Jack and Tony were going at it with each other. That was a lot of fun to play. The conflict between those characters and the mutual respect was great.

James Morrison (Bill Buchanan): The very last moment last season when I actually got to connect with Jayne Atkinson's character (Karen Hayes), because that seldom happens to Bill. He's so busy barking that it's hard to have a moment of human contact.

Julian Sands (Vladimir Bierko): Going on the submarine was incredible. We had this proper submarine down in San Diego and our clearance went all the way to the Pentagon. Not sure what that means, but it did. Fingerprints, the whole thing. It was very exciting. Those periscopes on the sub are the most powerful objects you can imagine. You can turn them on San Diego and look straight into people's windows.

What is the most difficult part of doing '24'?
Cassar: Dealing with the time, quite honestly. You just want to do so much all the time. We're incredibly ambitious -- the writers are, I am, Kiefer is -- so we always want to make it the best we can.

Morrison: Setting up the story for audience members that may just be coming into it. That falls on my shoulders a lot. Bill has to explain what's happened, what's going to happen, and that's challenging to make that work. But it's fun; it's a great way to make your living.

Penny Johnson (Sherry Palmer): I think the most difficult part of doing '24' is when you no longer do '24'. You become such a part of it. I think Dennis [Haysbert] and I see ourselves as the Ma and Pa of the show. Yet when you come to an event like this it's as though you never left show.

What was it like when you were offered a role on '24'?
Powers Boothe (Noah Daniels): I had finished shooting 'Deadwood' and Joel [Surnow] asked me to come over. We talked about doing a whole season and somehow it didn't quite work out, so he said, "We'll come up with something else." He wrote this part for me, which is a wonderful fit. I was thrilled to participate and be part of it. I play Noah Daniels, the Vice President. It's a real power trip. I come in episode seven.

What was your first audition like?
Smart: I was lucky. I came out here with a job from New York. I had been in New York doing theater and a producer came out to audition actors for a TV shoot. It was called 'Teachers Only,' with Norman Fell and Linda Redgrave.

Boothe: You know what, I was really, really lucky. I never had to do that -- not early on. I did a play on Broadway, then I came out here working and since then I've never really had to audition. I did a ton of them in New York though. I was terrible. I had friends who were great auditioners and I was not one of them.

Sands: It was terrible. It was for a theater job that I didn't get because I was so nervous and mumbly and inarticulate. The first movie I auditioned for was 'Greystoke.' But I didn't get it! As Tarzan I did a lot of monkey work, climbing, swinging around in the gym. I got really buff, but when it came time to do the talking scenes, I was spent, so I didn't get that job.