Jeremy Ray Valdez discusses the future of this 24 spinoff
As Jason Blaine on the hot internet based show The Rookie, star Jeremy Ray Valdez has some mighty big shoes to coexist with. Set in the brain of CTU, 24 surveillance center, The Rookie features webisodes that follow Jason Blaine on the Jack Bauer-like adventures he gets into. Valdez recently sat down to discuss The Rookie and it's possibilities beyond the internet.
When I talked with Rodney Charters he said that he saw the Jason Blaine character as a spin-off of your character from 24. Basically, that Jason had been inspired by Jack Bauer helping him kill that terrorist in the episode you were in. I was just curious if you saw the character that way?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: Oh, definitely. Rodney and I sat down and talked about it. He was like, "What do you think if after this happened, this happened, and this happened... and this has led you to this point?" That's all a part of character building. Getting in my head and having a place to start from. Instead of just starting from scratch. "Okay, here's the character start from scratch." So Rodney said, "Look at it this way" and we did.
Speaking of starting from scratch. What's it like kind of being the next Jack Bauer?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: I thought it was cool. It was intimidating because those are huge shoes to fill. Everybody loves Kiefer Sutherland. Everybody loves 24. Everybody loves Jack Bauer, you know? As soon as you get on the internet and you see what people are writing... "Can this kid do it?" "Is he gonna be as cool as Jack Bauer?" I still think it's intimidating. I thought I pulled it off. My character's not like Jack Bauer, he's Jason Blaine and I definitely wanted to make him a little different. I wanted him to have his own persona and his own way of doing things. Instead of doing a different kind of Jack Bauer.
He seems less on edge all the time then Jack Bauer.
Jeremy Ray Valdez: I definitely think so. I think it's because he is a rookie and he is in this situation. He's so eager to prove himself but there's also a sense of insecurity about him that I tried to give him when playing the character. He's confident but he wants to prove to Alton Maxwell, his boss, that, "Hey, I'm the goods. I got what it takes."
What are your thoughts on if the The Rookie were to be spun off from the internet into it's own TV show?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: It'd be my dream come true. Without a doubt that would be my ultimate dream come true to play this character on a regular Fox series. That would be my ultimate goal for this project.
Has that been talked about a lot?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: There has been talk about it because obviously Fox has been doing this... as part of The Rookie. This town is very fickle. You never know what's gonna happen. They could call me tomorrow and say, "Yeah, it's gonna be a huge series and you're the guy." Or... who knows? I'm just hoping something great comes of it.
What can we expect from the next webisode "Mistaken Identity"?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: Bigger and better, I think. Definitely the explosions are bigger. The gunfighting's bigger. The story is completely different than the other one. It shows a lot more of the Angie Lawson character and the Alton Maxwell character. I think it's a lot faster paced and more intense.
Are the shoots for something like The Rookie grueling? I only ask that because it's a string of webisodes and not a full length show per se...
Jeremy Ray Valdez: I think any time you film something that's a drama or action, even a comedy, everything is grueling and hard. It's not easy work. Anybody who thinks they're going to get into acting because, "Oh, this is gonna be fun we'll go on set and it'll just take a couple of minutes or a couple of hours..." You get there at 5 in the morning, we shot out in Antelope Valley area... it was 15 degrees out, and we were outside, running around shooting. We were there until 8 at night. Then you have to drive back home, you have to get back out there the next day. It's all hard.
They put a lot of money into this to do it right. To make it look good. To make it look authentic. To make it quality. With that came the hard work. "Okay, we have all this money now we have to do big things and great things with it."
That seems like that's been done, though. I never felt what I was watching it that I was watching a light version of 24.
Jeremy Ray Valdez: Absolutely. That comes from the fact that Rodney directed it. His team that was working on it from the stunt coordinator to the camera operator, to the people who did the music, the DP... these are all people that are the crew of 24. That's why it had the feel of 24, that's why it's got the quality that 24 has.
Could you ever see Jason Blaine and Jack Bauer teaming up?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: I'd love it. Them putting me in there and saying, "Lets be a part of that show." If it doesn't turn into the The Rookie tv show. If they bring him in, I think there's room for him in the series.
Jack Bauer can't save the world all the time!
Jeremy Ray Valdez: (Laughs) Right. Or without the help of some people. I helped him last year! If I wouldn't have killed the terrorist on the submarine, he may not have gotten in there and killed the other bad guys and saved the world.
What are you working on now? What do you have coming up next?
Jeremy Ray Valdez: Right now, this... acting is kind of a wait and see game. We have scripts that come in. We read the scripts, see what you like. There's always auditioning going on. It's pilot season right now so I'm pretty focused on that. I really pick and choose carefully the things that I do.
To view The Rookie please visit www.cturookie.com.
Dont't forget to also check out: 24