A/V Room








24 - Season Three - James Badge Dale Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

James Badge Dale is interviewed by the press.

Q. How do you go from construction work to the cast of 24?
A: [Laughs]
Very carefully. It’s been a good transition. The last construction company I worked for in New York was for two brothers, the Fahey Brothers, who come from a family of about nine brothers. Five of them were grips and one of them was an actor here in LA, Jeff Fahey.
The other two who I worked for, one was a playwright and the other one used to build sets in LA. He was married to a producer. So my agent hooked me up with the job. And they would let me go to any audition I wanted, if I got an acting job, they let me go off for four or five weeks and then come back. I set my own schedules. It was actually a very acting friendly construction site.

Q. What kind of a construction site can be cool and easy with guys going to auditions?
A: [Laughs]
Some would laugh at me and then some were supportive. It changes from site to site, job to job.

Q. Have they been asking you for jobs on 24 now?
A: No, [laughs].
Maybe one day.

Q. When you got on the show, were you following it?
I didn't follow any television shows. I still really don’t. I’d seen the show and I knew it was a very good show. I’d watched the show and I was impressed by it.

Q. Did you understand the craze for it?
I don't know if I understood the craze. But I knew the craze. I knew a lot of people who would just stay at home every Tuesday nights. People wouldn't leave the house. My girlfriend’s parents especially. I mean, they were fanatical. So that was pretty much my introduction to it.

Q. What did they tell you about your character when you auditioned?
They told me that I was Jack Bauer’s partner. That I was dating his daughter and he didn't know about it. And that was pretty much it. I was concerned for him, because the guy has a little bit of an attitude problem, I guess he’s a little hot-headed. That he was really an open book.

Q. Is he sort of like a younger Jack? So we're kind of interested to see what might develop, or what you might want to develop.
I’d definitely like to see him develop a darker side. But I think right now, we’re keeping it away from that.

Q. Would you like to describe your character?
There are many faces of my character.

Q. Bauer is very supportive to you?
I guess the best way is to say it, is he’s Jack’s protégé. Jack’s his mentor. He wants to be Jack.

Q. Speaking of mentors, didn’t you get help from your parents, with ski trips and such?
Yeah, I grew up running around in orchestra pits and backstage in theatres in New York and out here in LA. Sets that my mom and my dad were working on. I lived in a very free and open environment when I was younger. I think it was just kind of catered towards that. I mean, they never pushed me towards acting.
I got attracted to it when I was about ten-years-old. Professionally. My parents, I don't think they wanted me to do it. They’d drop me off outside and say, ‘go, do whatever you're going to do and come back’.

Q. Is there one piece of advice your parents gave to you that always stuck with you?
Have fun! My dad gives me a lot of advice now. Enjoy it when it comes, you know what I mean? And work hard. My mother passed away when I was 15. And I’d love to know what she would have to say, now that I’m following in her footsteps.
One of my construction bosses, the playwright, gave me some great advice. I remember it was my first job. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I was leaving to do the job, and he said, "Don’t believe the shit they talk about you and don’t believe the smoke they blow up your ass."
And that makes so much sense to me. At the end of the day, you’ve got to live with the way you feel about yourself and the way you feel about your work. And your work is all that you really have. None of the other stuff matters.

Q. Did you do any special preparation for your part?
I really didn't have much time to prep. I just read the script as much as I possibly could, so I could have some sort of understanding of the character. I went to the firing range to learn how to shoot a gun. It’s been a very ‘learn as you go’ kind of situation. I was lucky, the first few days I had of work here, I had no dialogue. And I spent the entire three days just following Kiefer around. Just listening and watching, watching the tone of the show. What the actors do and what Kiefer does. What works and what doesn't. But also watch the way the whole set works as a whole, like a machine. And those three days were invaluable.

Q. What’s been the relationship with Kiefer?
He’s really been great. I’ve had an amazing time working with him, and he’s a very hard-working actor. He’s very serious. He shows up to work every day. He does his homework, he’s ready to go. He’s taught me a lot, as an actor. How to deal with people, too. I watch him and he’s so courteous.

Q. When he had his bar fight a few weeks ago, he apologized to everyone?
Yeah. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Q. As a new member of the cast, do you have any pressures you feel?
When you're coming into something that’s been working for two years already, and it’s worked very well, there’s pressure. You come in, as the new guy. You hope you don’t mess up the chemistry. You know? But that pressure’s gone. I feel very at home and very blessed to be working here.

Q. Has it crossed your mind that your character is being groomed to take over a few years down the line if Kiefer decides to move onto another project?
I have no idea where this is going. Some days I wake up and I think, I’m going to be on for a while. I woke up one day last week and I had an anxiety attack. I thought I was going to be bad in the next two weeks. You just don’t know.

Q. Do you read the last page of the script for the week when it comes then?
A: [laughter]
I’d be lying if I said I didn't do that a couple times, yeah.

Q. Do you like LA or New York?
I definitely prefer New York. LA is a great city. I enjoy being here and I enjoy working here. But New York? People from every walk of life are doing every possible job. You see it in the subways, it’s a great equalizer. You sit with businessmen, and homeless people, and construction workers, and artists and writers and just everybody you can imagine. And you're all together. You're forced to deal with each other and you're forced to co-exist and interact. In LA, you can spend days in your car and not have to talk to anybody. Other than the people you're going to meetings with.

Q. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?
The last time I did something I was afraid of? About 45 minutes ago when I walked into this room. [laughter]

Q. What are you most afraid of? Us?
Yeah, yeah.

Q. Why?
It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you have to sit and - talk.

Q. Among the things your dad might have told you was never read the press once you've done the interview…
Yeah. And don’t read the reviews until the show is over!

Related stories: Season 4 review

Season 3 review

Season 3 - Kiefer Sutherland interview

Season 2 - review

Season 1 - review