The heroics of "24’s" Jack Bauer could reach the big screen, as Twentieth Century Fox has tapped screenwriter and director Billy Ray to pen a film adaptation of the exciting thriller series, reports Variety [caution–Variety now has a firewall and some of you may be asked for a paid subscription to see the story].
Mr. Ray, writer of "Breach," "Shattered Glass," "State of Play," and "Flightplan," among others, is working on the script, which will set the story in London.
According to the Variety article, "Insiders cautioned that a ’24’ feature is still very much in the preliminary stages. There are a number of factors influencing how quickly it moves ahead, including the fate of the TV show.
"Fox doesn’t have a deal for a ninth season of "24" and hasn’t yet decided whether to order another season. Insiders said the network is waiting to see this week’s ratings before making a decision, but the betting is that this season will be the final one."
The TV series is expensive. On the fiip side, Forbes reported last year that only "American Idol" charged advertisers more for commercial time than "24." This season its ratings are down about 10%. The show draws about 11 million viewers, compared to about 13 million last year.
Creatively, the show is still a powerhouse. Besides Sutherland firing on all cylinders, Annie Wersching’s performance this year, reprising the character she introduced last season–FBI agent Renee Walker– is already looking like an award-winning turn.
Thus, as the article notes, the producers of the show may choose to shop it to another network if Fox doesn’t want to renew "24" for next season.
The script for this movie came through star Keifer Sutherland, who’s also an executive producer on the show, the article says.
According to an earlier interview Sutherland did with Entertainment Weekly, the star said, "that he’d love to do a movie (‘It would be a two-hour representation of a day’) and thinks the TV show can actually be done at the same time. ‘I actually tried to convince a few people of this. In a media world that is changing unbelievably fast, a television series can either act as a great trailer for a film, or a film can act as a great trailer for a television series. And I think the first person who actually does that is going to change the way television interacts with feature films.’ "
— Allison J. Waldman and Chuck Ross