Fox’s “24” heads to Washington, D.C., today for the show’s first-ever shoot outside California.
After setting the show in Los Angeles for the past six seasons, the “24” producers opted to shake things up by moving the action to the nation’s capital. But that meant having to step out of town for the first time.
As a result, series star Kiefer Sutherland and several other thesps will make the trip, shooting scenes from eight different episodes over this weekend and the next.
“The idea is to sell Washington in the first batch of episodes and, hopefully, people will have bought into the setting later on,” when more of the scenes are actually shot in L.A., said “24” exec producer Howard Gordon.
Show will shoot around the city, including in Georgetown neighborhoods. Gordon hopes to also capture a D.C. politician cameo or two.
While there, the “24” crew will also lense a lot of 180-degree backgrounds into which Sutherland and others can later be inserted via greenscreen. Gordon said the technology has finally gotten to a point where it looks seamless enough — but it will still be a challenge given the frantic camera style that’s a hallmark of the show.
“Some of the technology is amazing now,” Gordon said. “You can insert actors onto the Washington Mall and do things you couldn’t have done even a few years ago.”
Line producer Michael Klick said shooting in D.C. has been a logistical challenge, particularly when it’s come to navigating the city’s countless law-enforcement agencies.
“There are at least 17 different entities out there — and what they control is not always immediately apparent,” he said.
Of course, “24” has encountered some unusual problems at its home base, too: The show had to scramble on Monday after wildfires halted production at the old El Toro Marine base. Show regrouped, but lost half a day worth of filming.
The Fox series will likely return to D.C. to shoot more scenes in the spring. In the meantime, Los Angeles will double for the first time on “24” as another city — a prospect that has reinvigorated the production team.
“We’re being forced to go to places we’ve never gone before, like downtown L.A., and we’ve been looking at older architecture,” Klick said. “There have been some exciting visual opportunities.”