‘My Name Is Jack Bauer, And I Am In Development Hell’
Bad news for those hoping for the further adventures of Kiefer Sutherland‘s rogue CTU agent Jack Bauer: apparently Fox has rejected a script from high-profile scribe Billy Ray (“Shattered Glass,” “Salt“) for a feature film continuing the adventures of the lead character of “24,” the hit series that ran for eight years and successfully tapped into that raw post-9/11 paranoia during the Bush years. The intention all along was to push the show into the cinematic world, but so-so ratings for the final season, coupled with likely budgetary concerns (the series might as well have been called “Shooting Down Exploding Helicopters”) have put the kibosh on big screen plans.
“24” producer Howard Gordon told Entertainment Weekly, “As far as I know, it is in suspended animation. There is talk about re-approaching it. I understand (director/producer) Tony Scott is meeting with Kiefer to talk about ideas. People are still talking about it.” This is the first we’ve heard about Scott being involved, though the show was a popular stopover point for big screen directors like Stephen Hopkins and Davis Guggenheim. We would think the directorial reins would be handed off to Jon Cassar, who helmed 59 of Jack Bauer’s adventures, but he appears to have graduated to the big leagues, currently attached to the Ryan Reynolds actioner “Motorcade.”
Frankly, a lot of this falls on Kiefer Sutherland. While he earned plaudits and awards for the show, he used his TV clout to spend his hiatuses acting in dreck like “The Sentinel” and “Taking Lives,” further establishing himself to studios as someone too unreliable to headline a big screen franchise. And if the rumors are to be believed, Sutherland was the one who shot down a proposed “Die Hard 24/7” that would have united Bauer with Bruce Willis‘ unstoppable John McClane and boosted the bankability of both “Die Hard” and “24.”
While Gordon claims that development continues on the film, we wouldn’t be surprised if this was the last we’ve heard of Jack Bauer. Which is disappointing, because “24” was pretty much the finest drinking game ever disguised as a television show, and the movie surely would have been a smorgasbord of torturing scenes, cell phone navigation, double crosses, and Sutherland yelling “Dammit!”