Kiefer Sutherland talks '24'

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After a lengthy hiatus due to last year's WGA strike, Kiefer Sutherland is back in action as Jack Bauer on Fox's "24" -- and also as an Emmy-winning producer on the show. The two-hour prequel, "24: Redemption," aired Nov. 23, tying up some loose ends from Season 6, with Season 7 beginning Jan. 11. When he's not wrapped up in production, Sutherland can be found working his other job -- as a partner at record label Ironworks, which he runs with singer-songwriter-producer Jude Cole, shepherding a roster that includes edgy acts Rocco DeLuca & The Burden, Billy Boy on Poison, and Honeyhoney, among others. Sutherland spoke with Noe Gold for The Hollywood Reporter a few days before the prequel aired as he was laying down tracks in the Ironworks studio and getting ready to do a junket for the two-hour "24" offering.

The Hollywood Reporter: Because the show was on hiatus for so long, people probably don't realize how intense your day-to-day life is.

Kiefer Sutherland: "24" takes up an unbelievable amount of time. I'm really trying to do everything to keep that moving forward. We're already starting to deal with Season 8.

THR: A trailer I've seen for the prequel generates a lot of questions. What can you tell me about the character Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard)? He supposedly died in the last season, but he seems to have come back.

Sutherland:  One of the things that's really complicated about talking about "24" is that you can't really give anything away. One of the really clever things the writers did was the manner in which he was brought back. His death was part of a much larger conspiracy that is, in fact, Season 7. One of the hardest things about shooting "24" is that I work with some amazing actors and pretty much everybody gets killed. So you get used to working with people you develop an unbelievable relationship with -- not only professionally but personally as well -- and then their characters die. So I was really happy when they brought him back.

THR: What about others who have left the show?

Sutherland: The first hard loss was Leslie Hope. She's a phenomenal actor, someone of whom I'm really fond. When they told me after the first season that she was going to die, I was heartbroken. That was when I started to get used to the fact that a lot of actors on our show weren't going to be there for as long as I would've liked.

THR: What were you doing during the hiatus after the writers strike?

Sutherland: That was a really frustrating time. We had very little contact with the writers. After seven years (of working on the show), we were friends. We talked on that level, but they were very strict about not even talking about the show. (Co-executive producer) Jon Cassar and I were thinking about which direction the show was going, so we had conversations, but without the writers. It was really frustrating. It's a really limited process. We all had to stand down. We were very glad when everything was resolved and we could go back to work.
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