Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
The producers of Fox’s hit action serial television series 24 have been talking about doing a big screen movie adaptation for years now. I just assumed that it was one of those things that would never happen, and that the made for television movie prequel they did last season was an easy out. Well it looks like star/producer Kiefer Sutherland is serious about bringing Jack Bauer to the big screen, as he has convinced Fox to hire Billy Ray to pen the screenplay adaptation. All we know about the planned story for the feature film is that it will be set in Europe. Sutherland and producers have said that the big screen movie would be “a two-hour representation of a day.”
Ray’s filmography includes State of Play, Flightplan, Suspect Zero, Hart’s War, Volcano and Moon director Duncan Jones’ upcoming much-buzzed about project Source Code. He both wrote and directed Breach and Shattered Glass.
But studio insiders cautioned Variety (who broke the story) that a 24 movie “is still very much in the preliminary stages,” and that there are “a number of factors influencing how quickly it moves ahead, including the fate of the TV show.”
Fox has not yet decided if they want to order a ninth season of the series, although it is expected that this will be the final season. According to EW, 24 is down versus last year by 10% in total viewers (11.9 million versus 13.3 million) and by 15% in adults 18-49 (3.9 versus 4.6). It is hard to imagine that Fox would spend the millions and millions required for a big screen feature if they weren’t impressed with the ratings enough to renew the television series for a tenth season. Stranger things have happened (Arrested Development was canceled and will eventually become a big screen feature).
A big screen movie would probably guarantee that Bauer will survive his ninth crazy day. Since first discovering the series in 2001, I had hoped that Bauer would someday die on screen, in the possible biggest twist the series could possibly pull. I know a lot of fans would hate for that to happen, but I think it would be the ultimate way to conclude the series — with CTU and Jack’s friends having to save the day without him, in his honor. Sutherland and 24 producers have always said that Bauer’s death was an extreme possibility.
It would be nice to see a big screen 24, with a big blockbuster budget. But without the real-time structure, won’t it just another action film, but with the characters we’ve gotten to know from television? I wonder how it could/would be different.