'24' movie will take time

TARA MERRIN - Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:54 AM ET

BANFF - A movie based on the Fox series 24 is in the works. But whether it will be shot in real-time is still up for consideration, says the show's Canadian director/producer Jon Cassar.

"The last I heard, the first hour will not be in real-time, but then something big will happen and real time will kick in. It still has to be worked out -- it's at a stage where they need to write it."

Cassar will not predict a storyline for the big screen version of the hugely popular show.

He says the script will likely depend on what's happening on the series prior to the movie coming out.

"It could still be two years from now, so it's far too early to say," he says, adding even if he did know, he wouldn't give it away.

"The No. 1 question people ask me is 'what's going to happen next?' My response is always, 'Do you really want to know?' and they always think about it and then say 'no.' "

When 24 debuted in 2001 with its new twist (all the action happens in real time, over 24 hours), viewers instantly took notice and the show climbed to the top of the ratings.

Cassar says he was a little surprised by its instant success. In fact, when he first heard the real-time concept for the show, he recalls thinking, "God, that would be so boring. Who's going to want to watch that?"

"The reason I think it worked is because of how it is shot and the scripts. The writers are amazing -- they have been able to come up with yet another bad day for Jack for two years now."

Cassar's style of shooting full scenes without interruption, makes him one of the most sought after producer/directors in the industry, but this wasn't always the case.

In fact, Cassar says he had a difficult time breaking into the industry, especially in Canada.

"Canadian producers need to take more chances."

That's a message Cassar hopes industry insiders attending the Banff World Television Festival this week will take to heart.

"The Canadian producers didn't want to take a chance on me. It was always the Americans who said yes.

"In the States, they take pride in discovering the next big thing -- Canadians just want to take the safe road. It's really unfortunate."

Before 24, Cassar directed several episodes of La Femme Nikita, Mutant X and Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, but it was while working as a camera man on Forever Knight in 1993 when he got his first big break.

"They gave me a chance and gave me my first episode. Once I started working in the U.S., all those same Canadian producers came running. I'm hoping when the next talented guy comes in the door, they'll see it and hire him."


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