It's almost a year since reports of script problems seemed to place Jack Bauer's big screen outing in jeopardy. Despite some optimistic words from Kiefer Sutherland, little has been heard since, but it now appears that the countdown has properly begun on the 24 movie, which is finally pencilled in to shoot early next year.
It seems like the 24 film has been in development forever. There was talk of it during the TV series' heyday, before Sutherland said it was on hold because all involved were too preoccupied with the episodic version. Then there were rumblings of a movie that would constitute a wrapping-up of the series, until season 8 did that by itself. And since then it's been 'on' and 'off' again several times.
The biggest move forward came with a pitch and a screenplay from the much-lauded Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Flightplan, State Of Play), but his take that was apparently rejected by Fox last January. That, however, was "to be expected" according to Sutherland. The script flux will more than likely continue "until the day we start shooting", he explained, "and probably from that point forward too. It’s a very difficult thing to take something that you’ve done for eight years and almost 200 episodes, and try and find a story that’s going to be unique and yet also service the history of the show."
Sutherland's confident predictions that 24 would be running and gunning in the early part of 2012 seem now to have proved accurate, with Mark Bomback (The Wolverine, Unstoppable) expected to turn around a new draft of Ray's story by New Year. The film is believed to see Jack Bauer making his ends justify his means in Europe, and Deadline report that Fox has a shortlist of five directors. Sadly, the once-rumoured Tony Scott is definitely not among them.
Brian Grazer is producing, and 24 is on a fast track to get shooting (in all senses) in April, which is when Sutherland next has a gap in his schedule.