The 24 TV show/movie adaptation spent the majority of 2011 in limbo, following reports that 2oth Century Fox officials weren’t impressed with an early script draft penned by Billy Ray. However, unlike the screenwriter’s (seemingly) abandoned draft for The Hunger Games, Ray’s version of the 24 movie will reportedly remain partly intact – and was reworked by Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) in the hopes of getting production going by Spring 2012.

According to Jack Bauer himself (Kiefer Sutherland), that is still the plan; now, the actor has even opened up a bit about when the film will take place, with respect to the 24 TV series finale.

Sutherland spoke about the 24 movie during the Fox panel at the Broadcasting Company Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour (there’s a mouthful) this past weekend and confirmed that the project is set to begin shooting by “the end of April, beginning of May” in 2012 – which also seems to indicate that Bomback made his end-of-2011 deadline and the final script draft is (basically) all ready to go.

On that note: Sutherland also revealed that the 24 movie will take place six months after the show finale and is plot-wise a “relatively direct continuation” of that concluding episode. While the actor was (naturally) mum concerning details about what exactly will happen next to his onscreen terrorist-fighting counterpart in the film, he did clarify that the 24 movie (like each season of the show) takes place over the course of a 24-hour day.

While Sutherland refrained from revealing what other actors might be returning from the original show, TV Guide‘s William Keck recently Tweeted that 24 producer Howard Gordon revealed to him that brilliant programmer/hacker Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) will figure into the plot, alongside a “new cast.”

There’s stil no word about who will be directing the 24 movie, but that should change in the near future; likewise, expect there to be more official casting announcements for the project over the next couple of months.

Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) will return in the '24' movie

It’s kind of difficult to assess how the 24 movie will turn out, at this point, especially with no director officially onboard yet. Feelings about the original show’s quality as a whole (and especially the later seasons) vary amongst viewers, but a feature-length film is another prospect altogether. Gone will be the “real-time” aspect of the storyline(s); not to mention, the movie has to do a good job of re-establishing the Jack Bauer character without relying too heavily on the original show to fill in the holes in his backstory and motivation.

That said: other TV shows have successfully made the leap to the big screen, without coming off merely as new generic blockbuster titles (Serenity is an excellent example of that). We’ll have to wait and see if 24 can do likewise.

Expect to hear more about the 24 movie in the near future.

Source: Kiefer Sutherland (via AceShowBiz), TV Guide