Some actors become more identified with their characters than their real names when they go abroad. Kiefer Sutherland, who stars as federal counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer in the hit Fox television series “24,” has gained such an enormous following in Japan that whenever he visits, the media simply refer to him as Jack.
Sutherland, 43, who was in Japan recently to promote the upcoming DVD release of the 8th and final season, said: “I think that one of the reasons that we were able to keep the series going for eight seasons was because of fan support in Japan and Asia. It’s been unbelievable.” He also said that because “24” premiered a few months after the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, many people around the world could identify with the threat of terror, no matter what their culture or language.
Fans in Japan are going to be treated to an overdose of “24.” Fox is going to air seasons 1 to 7 consecutively for one whole week beginning Jan 1. This will earn it a place in the Guinness World Records for the longest running on-air time for a television program. In addition, Fox will run a campaign in which viewers can win 100,000 yen every hour (16.8 million yen in total).
“It’s interesting that DVDs do just as well as the TV episodes,” Sutherland said. “There are fans all over the world who buy the entire series on DVD and watch the whole lot in two days. They like to have it all available.”
The final season sees Jack seeking revenge against corrupt Russian and U.S. government figures for the murder of his girlfriend. He also attempts to expose an upcoming global peace treaty as a sham. Meanwhile, he is being pursued by his own side who see him as a rogue agent.
Sutherland said the final day of filming was very emotional. “I had six months to prepare for it. We had the same crew for Season 1 as we had all the way through Season 8, and I think over the course of making 24 there were 16 marriages, 30 children were born, and we were all a part of that. Honestly, we spent more time with each other than we did with our own families. At the end of the day, I knew it would be up to me to say something, but my bottom lip started to quiver. It was much more difficult that I imagined to say goodbye to everyone.”
Of course, Season 8 isn’t the end of Jack Bauer. The finale nicely sets up the long-awaited movie version. Sutherland said he is excited about the film and promised fans plenty of thrills. “It will be two hours and not in real time, as the TV series was,” he explained. “That will free up the writers to try something new. The film’s look will be a little different from the show, but the basics won’t change. It’s going to be a bad day and Jack Bauer will find himself in the middle of it, as usual.”© Japan Today