Mary Lynn Rajskub on Chloe's Darker Side in '24: Live Another Day'
By Adam Coppola
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) are paired up once again as the iconic action duo in FOX's 24: Live Another Day, which picks up four years after the events of 24's eighth season. The new 12-episode series, which premiered May 5, jumps across the pond to London where agent/fugitive Jack Bauer resurfaces and is apprehended by CIA agents who force him to help thwart an attack against American president James Heller (William Devane) who's negotiating a treaty over the controversial use of aerial combat drones.
Jack's deliberate capture allows him to rescue his computer whiz sidekick, Chloe, who was in hiding after the death of her husband and son during an attempt on her life but is being held for her prior involvement with Bauer and a hacker group that exposes government secrets. Together, they must uncover the assassination plot against President Heller and fight the unseen enemy which threatens to start a new world war.
24: Live Another Day brings back actress Kim Raver and stars newcomers Benjamin Bratt, Yvonne Stahovski and renowned English actor Stephen Fry (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) who plays the British Prime Minister.
Mary Lynn Rajskub, 42, spoke with ETonline from London about Chloe's dark transformation and stepping back into her character after 24's four-year hiatus. Keep reading below for the interview and click here to see ET's coverage of the show's red carpet premiere.
What were your initial thoughts about 24 coming back to television?
When I finally got the first scripts, I read them and they were very exciting and read like classic 24 scripts and in the description it said that it's a very different Chloe. 24 always surprises me and I never thought this would come back. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and now twice-in-a-lifetime, especially with social media. It's amazing, like Jack and Chloe never left but it's heightened even more, so I think this turned out to be a really cool thing bringing them back.
What was your reaction when they said that you'd actually be filming in London?
I was very shocked when I found out because I had moved on with my life and it had been four years. Of course I said yes without hesitation, how could I not? It was announced that it was in London and I thought "we're not actually going to shoot it in London" because typically in the past when it took place in New York and different locations, I was always inside on the computer, but this time they said "no, you're going for the duration." So I packed up the family and came here.
How has London contributed to the overall atmosphere of the new series?
It's a great locale and I love seeing the color, the greyness and the history. It adds to 24 but gives it another layer and it certainly feels more international and more like we're in the center of the world and the conflicts we're dealing with in the show.
As an actress, how have you developed Chloe's personality over the years?
I have a comedy background so my approach is very instinctual. I like to feel it out in the moment, especially in rehearsal, and I'm comfortable with things happening really quickly. When I first played Chloe, I think I brought a lot too it just by my interpretation of what I would be like as that person. As we've seen the years go on, I somehow managed to bring humor to a situation where there was none. Chloe's really in a lot of pain and is kind of just holding on. She's not very happy with Jack and we saw that in episode two. For the first time, even though there are moments when I can find humor somehow in the most intense situations, this time around she's in such pain that I wasn't really able to find any levity at all. That was another surprising layer and another challenge as an actor.
What's your take on Chloe's dark, edgy new look along with her tattoos?
It's a reflection of her pain and trying to hide. I really feared going into makeup feeling like I could never be in a movie where there were lots of prosthetics or anything, but it's very efficient and most of the time was taken by coming up with the look. There are little clip-ins in my already crazy hairdo that I have in real life that make it look like she chopped into her own hair. Then the tattoos are just putting water on them like children's tattoos and they're really beautifully designed. There are ones you only see briefly in 24 that are reflective of (Chloe's) husband and son, Morris and Prescott, and there's also one of computer code in the shape of a skull. They're really thoughtfully designed but actually pretty quick to put on.
What was it like being among such a variety of actors, including Stephen Fry?
I knew he was going to be in the makeup trailer when I walked in there and he's such a brilliant presence. I walked in there and he couldn't have been more disarming and almost self-deprecating and just funny and humble. So that was really neat and he's a big fan of 24, so that was a thrill to meet him. Benjamin Bratt is great, we haven't had scenes together, but those two guys and my husband and I enjoyed a football game together which was a lot of fun. Everybody's cool so far.
Since Chloe's a computer genius, do you actually understand any of her technical talk?
No, absolutely not and I feel like I shouldn't be admitting it as an actress. I feel like the right answer would be I know exactly what she's talking about. For me, I get the gist of what she's doing, why she's doing it and what's happening in the story. Over the years I was probably more stressed about that early on; the technical aspects of what's happening in the computer. I probably picked up some stuff like a loose understanding of coding. I've always approached it as the reality of what she's trying to do and the emotional reality. The technicalities haven't been as interesting to me, to be honest.
24: Live Another Day airs Mondays at 9/8 p.m. central on FOX.