Post-'24' Kiefer Sutherland: '[I] can't pick up a gun and chase anybody for a while'

kiefer-sutherland5-24-320.jpg Kiefer Sutherland admits he wasn't ready when his time on "24" stopped the week before last.

"We had months to prepare for that last day, and I'd thought of what I wanted to say," Sutherland tells Zap2it. Now in his last Mondays of playing antiterrorist operative Jack Bauer in the FOX run that ends May 24, he says, "We're usually running-and-gunning so fast, it's like, 'We've gotta move on!' Since we knew it was almost the last scene, though, we were doing extra coverage of my feet, my elbows, my hands ... we were making up shots, just to have the next one not be 'the one.'

"I thought there was still one shot left. Just as I walked out on the stairs for it, they said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, that is a show wrap.' It kind of caught me off-guard, but I figured,'"Well, I'd better say something.' It was going to be short, because there was nothing you could say to explain how much all of this meant."

Sutherland thought he was doing well with that goodbye -- which he says was filmed for the forthcoming final-season DVD set -- until he "caught the eye of our key gaffer and our key camera operator, and my voice started to go. Then my lips started to go, and I had to look down at my own feet.

"We all went out afterward, and I think it was the shortest night I ever had on the show. We wrapped around 9, went across the street, then everyone was gone by 10."

Currently reading the script for a "24" feature-film spinoff, Sutherland will return to movies first with "Melancholia" for writer-director Lars von Trier. The role is "almost as 180 degrees a turn (from Jack) as you can go," Sutherland vows. "My immediate instinct is, 'You can't pick up a gun and chase anybody for a while.' Not unless you're playing Jack Bauer in '24,' anyway. That would just be too odd ... almost icky."

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Photo credit: FOX