The Sunday Mail (UK)
November 2, 2008   |   Written by Heather Greenaway

Robert Carlyle says a fight between movie tough guys Jack Bauer and James Bond would have only one winner – and it’s not 007.

The actor is starring in the eagerly awaited movie version of hit TV show 24 alongside Kiefer Sutherland, who returns as secret agent Bauer.

But Carlyle was also memorable baddie Renard in Bond flick The World Is Not Enough and claims a licence to kill would not stop 007 – now played by Daniel Craig – getting a whipping if he came up against Bauer.

He said: “Jack Bauer or James Bond?

Jack Bauer probably – he kills more people. Kiefer could definitely kick Daniel Craig’s ass.”

Carlyle, 47, plays Bauer’s friend and mentor Carl Benton in the upcoming TV movie 24: Redemption, which bridges the gap between the sixth and seventh seasons of the cult show.

Set in the fictional African nation Sengala, Jack finds himself caught up in a military coup after meeting up with former agent Benton, who quit to become a charity worker.

Carlyle and Sutherland spent 25 days filming on location in Cape Town, South Africa, which the Trainspotting star claims was one of the most exhilarating experiences of his career.

He said: “Filming was great as there is a lot of action and it’s a great story.

“All my scenes were set in Africa.

There was one where a helicopter pursued us through the jungle for what seemed like three days, which was really exciting.

“It was a brave decision to shoot the film in South Africa. It would have been a lot easier to do it in LA.

“In South Africa we only had 10 hours of light every day. It was dark at 5.30pm, so the schedule was packed.

“To shoot this in the time we had was an incredible achievement.

“Shooting on location added to the authenticity as Africa, in a sense, is a character in this piece.”

Carlyle, born in Maryhill, Glasgow, admits he is a big fan of his character.

He said: “Carl is Jack Bauer’s good friend. We’ve known each other for 15 years but at the start of the action, we haven’t seen each other for 10 years.

“They trained together in the Special Forces years ago, so at the start of the movie Jack comes to see Carl to potentially change his life. Carl’s a guy who trained with Jack but unlike Jack, he has found some peace in his life in Sengala. Jack’s still looking for that peace.

“When the story opens, you see Jack with this guy, so you think maybe Jack’s found a place to relax – but it never lasts.”

Carlyle – who won the Best Actor award for his role in Summer at the Edinburgh Film Festival – was delighted to be working with pal Kiefer again. Their last project together was in 2001.

They became friends on the set of the the film To End All Wars, which told the story of four prisoners of war.

He said: “It was fun filming with Kiefer. He’s quite a guy, especially on a night out.

“We did a lot of scenes together and one was particularly emotional.

“My character tells you why he is where he is and points to Jack as if maybe this is where he should be going in his life.

“Fans of the show will see a different Jack Bauer in the movie, especially in the first 20 minutes and I think the audience will love that.

“I love 24 and I’m a big fan of Kiefer – but I don’t think I’d sit and watch the series in a whole day like some people do.”

Carlyle is remaining coy about rumours his character will also appear in series seven of the show.

He said: “I can’t tell you – that would spoil it. I would love to do more 24 because of the quality of the work, the scripts, cast, director and the crew. This is very, very good stuff. It’s a no-brainer.”

Carlyle has been based in Los Angeles due to filming commitments but insists that no matter how long he stays in the States, Scotland will always be home.

He said: “When people ask do I live in LA, I say no. I tell them I live in Scotland.

It’s in my heart and it’s my home.”

The dad-of-three, who is married to make-up artist Anastasia Shirley, admits he got into acting by accident while growing up in Glasgow.

He said: “I found film and fell into it.

I went along to a community theatre because there were good-looking women there. It’s sad but it’s the truth.

“I grew up in the 60s and was inspired by the great Sean Connery.”

Aside from 24, Carlyle revealed his favourite TV shows are dramas.

He said: “The one thing I watch most is sport, although I enjoy any good drama.

“I prefer one-off pieces like the BBC series of dramas which looked at the lives of famous TV comedians.

“My favourite was the one where Trevor Eve played Hughie Green – it was brilliant.”

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