24 fans are used to unexpected jolts and cliffhangers, but few were as dramatic as a report in TheWrap last week claiming the long-gestating big-screen version might be delayed or sidelined entirely over a budget and salary dispute between Fox and star/producer Kiefer Sutherland.
So at the American Museum of Natural History-hosted worldwide Internet premiere of his new Fox series Touch in New York City Sunday night, TV Guide Magazine interrogated Jack Bauer himself.
"I have a very definitive window because of Touch and other commitments to make [the 24 film]," said Sutherland, who also exec produces Touch. "We're still trying to get it in this slot. It's looking — in all fairness and all honestly — less probable, but we're still trying. And if we don't, we'll wait eight months and do it then. What's most important is that we put ourselves in a position to make the best movie possible."
Another commitment on Sutherland's horizon: He may soon star in a Western alongside father Donald Sutherland (who, at age 76, is a newly hot commodity with his role in the upcoming The Hunger Games).
Asked if there was any truth that he was disappointed with the Fox negotiations over the 24 film, as the Wrap article claimed, Sutherland seemed more philosophical and less "furious" than the report indicated.
"I've been traveling with regards to Touch in London, Berlin, Madrid and Moscow at the time [the story was reported and published], so none of that came from me," Sutherland said. "The relationship I have with Fox — obviously I wouldn't be here if it wasn't amazing."
"I've wanted to make this movie for a very long time and I keep trying to push it forward. And I think, very responsibly, the window that we have to make it is very small. They want to make the best movie possible — than means getting the best director, the best actors for this show. There's a lot of scheduling there, there's a lot of moving parts."
The 24 drama didn't seem to phase Touch creator/exec producer Tim Kring, who has just returned from a globetripping promo trip with Sutherland to promote the series. Touch examines the mysical, spiritual and scientific connections between characters around the world, but Kring says any speedbumps with the 24 film shouldn't affect his series: "I know that Kiefer was planning to do it during our hiatus, but there's no other connection there."
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