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24: Live Another Day, Legends - Howard Gordon Interview

IGN TV: Obviously, at this point, you have so much on your plate. What was it about this show that made you say, "I need to make time for this. I want to go back to this" and return for 24: Live Another Day?
Howard Gordon: Honestly, it was almost like a bad joke -- or a good joke. I had dinner with [Fox Networks Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer] Peter Rice, who mentioned very off-hand, "Are you doing the [24] movie?" He's the boss, so he would know! I said, "You know, probably not…” It didn’t look like it was going to happen. He said, "Would you ever think of doing it as a limited series?" I said, "That's a really interesting idea. I'm coincidentally having dinner with Kiefer on Wednesday" -- it was, like, a Saturday night. I go, "I'll talk about it with Kiefer." Over dinner, we both said, "Nah, nah." Then both of us, the next day, called each other. We just riffed like, "If we both did it, it would be this. What if it's that?" Then I went to [20th Century Fox Television CEOs] Dana Walden and Gary Newman, and Dana and Gary said, "Let's go over to [FOX Chairman of Entertainment] Kevin Reilly.” I just mulled on the idea for a little bit. Literally, she called Kevin, and Kevin said, "Come over!" And they said yes! But I said, "I'll only do it if Evan and Manny [are involved] -- and I can assemble the team." We're friends, so I knew their deals were coming up.

It was one of those things where, coming back to your question, everyone missed Jack and this show so much, even though four years ago, I would have bet the house that there was no way this moment would ever come. I was so happy, and we were all happy that we got out with our integrity. We were all very, very proud of the show. We had our bumps, we had our good seasons and our less good seasons, but by and large I think it was a very successful run creatively and one that ended fulfilling the promise that the show had in the beginning. We know we're tempting fate at some level, but f**k it!

IGN: In the midst of all this, when was it that the story inspiration hit you?
Well, there were a couple of ideas running around. It's always about finding Jack Bauer's emotional center. Look, the guy has a lot of scorched earth behind him as a character. It becomes increasingly hard to write for a character whose connection to the world and to other people is as spartan as his is. The people he's loved, his family, his wives and lovers are either dead or really messed up. But we sort of embraced the mythic aspect of Jack's character. The idea of him being a fugitive and also being somewhere else and wanting to come home felt like an emotional framework that we could work inside.

IGN: What can you say about Legends, your upcoming TNT series?
I'm so excited about it. It's an amazing cast -- Sean Bean and Ali Larter, then we've got Morris Chestnut and Tina Majorino -- she's amazing. She's so gifted. What I love about it is just the central idea of identity, like, "Who are we?" It's the question of, "Are we the people we love, the people we know? Are we what we do, or are we our name and our history?" So this is a guy whose job is to be other people, and yet who may not even be who he thinks he is. So it's a weird, existential… I mean, it really brings to mind Bourne, The Prisoner, Nowhere Man. It takes the question of identity, which is something we can all relate to, like, "Who are we? Are we the people we know? Are we the people who love us and know us?" It has the engine of a really cool thriller.

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