Actress Mary Lynn Rajskub is best known to millions of fans as Chloe O'Brian from the long-running Fox TV series "24." She went from a bit part as a computer specialist to a leading lady in the real-time action series. She can currently be seen in the London-set "24: Live Another Day" on Blu-ray and DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.
Rajskub comes from a comedy background, having been a stand-up comedian long before migrating to television shows like "Veronica's Closet" and movies like "Road Trip" and "Sweet Home Alabama." She talks about reteaming with Kiefer Sutherland in the latest "24" and explains why she's acting when she knows her way around technology on the series in this exclusive interview.
Q. What was it like to step back into this world of "24" after having that hiatus for so many years?
A. Weird. Really weird. In fact, I was doing stand-up comedy and I had just started touring comedy clubs with my hour-long show, and then they announced "24" was coming back. So I was like, "OK, I guess I'll drop all this funny stuff and get back into the most dramatic show ever." It totally shocked me. I was not expecting it at all. But now that we did it, I'm really proud of it and I think it came out better than everyone expected. I guess I shouldn't say that. Of course, we expected it to come out great, but it was scary to bring a show back from the dead like that.
Q. At the height of the show's popularity, Sony Computer Entertainment released "24: The Game" with Kiefer Sutherland, Dennis Haysbert, Reiko Aylesworth, Elisha Cuthbert. Did you ever play that?
A. You know what, I did not. I lived being on the show and I don't really need to play the game for that experience.
Q. What role do you see video games playing in Hollywood today with TV shows beyond the social media connection?
A. I think it used to be that games were more of a stigma, and now it's becoming more of the norm because it allows fans to connect with these characters outside of the show's seasons. If a video game is how you want to interact with the show, that's a good thing. Every year that it came back, "24" has always been in danger of becoming like "Star Trek," for better or for worse. Everybody knows the format, but they love it anyway. And that is what veers into that video game territory where it's actually become a good thing to identify people as the broad characters because it's just more interaction for people. It's a strange thing. It's like things are flip-flopping where that's become a positive and then the stuff that's not even close to becoming a video game, shows like that become richer within their own narrative to compete with these bigger broader video games.
Q. Did you grow up playing games at all?
A. Yeah, I played like Pac-Man and Atari. I remember when HBO first came out and actually cable television first came out and MTV and all that stuff. Yeah, I was in it to win it with some Ms. Pac-Man.
Q. Which you can now play on your smartphone.
A. Yeah, exactly. My son just turned 6 and he turns on our TV and just scrolls through the Netflix and it's all about identifying with that thing you want. Although he's attracted to old "Ghostbusters" movies and stories of real human beings as well.
Q. Having a son, do you have a sense of what they can do with video games today?
A. I'm sure that by now they're at the very tip of the iceberg. But he's already playing Minecraft, and just the possibility of interacting with many different people instantly and how intricate it is and how it just builds on itself and gets bigger and bigger is amazing.
W. What's interesting about Minecraft is that schools across the globe are using it to educate kids about all different types of topics from science to math to English.
A. Yeah, that doesn't surprise me. It's interesting because I'll watch him play it and I'm like, "Wow, I don't even know what's propelling him forward to just keep building stuff and making stuff and he has to be in the right zone to get into it." Sometimes he'll just pick it up and it won't appeal to him, but then other times he's just going off with his own creativity to keep building when he's in that zone. So it doesn't surprise me that Minecraft would be used as a learning tool.
Q. Having grown up with the old joystick days of like Ms. Pac-Man, do you feel like the games today have passed you by?
A. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Even just my interest level more so than I only know how to use a joystick ... like, I could figure out a controller. I feel like I have so much going on in my life with technology that it's almost like I want a break from it when I can. Or maybe it's a male/female thing because my husband and my son will play video games all the time and I don't want to look at a screen or have to work anything or think about that.
Q. If it was up to you, where would you want to see "24" go next?
A. Where would I personally want to go? I'd want to stay in Los Angeles and recreate Russia so that I could break in and get Jack out. Would I personally want to go to Russia to film? No, I just want to stay home, but that's because we wet our whistle on the European thing. It'd be kind of hard to go back to LA because it's definitely got to keep that international flare, which is awesome.
Couldn't you just get in trouble in Hawaii or someplace nice?
A. Somehow, Hawaii and "24" don't seem like they're going to go together. I like the way you're thinking. I like it a lot, but I don't think it'd work.
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