24 SEASON 3
Q&A with Carlos Bernard
Interview with Carlos Bernard (as Tony Almeida)
You're a real survivor on the show.
CARLOS BERNARD: Yeah, been paying off the right people.
Did you know you'd keep going?
CARLOS: In this business you learn that until you're on the set shooting, anything could happen. Just make sure you're on the show. There's no such thing as a certain thing. I personally treated every season as though I'm doing a film and that it's over at the end of the season. It helps me focus on the present more, it helps me enjoy it more, and it's really the way we approach the show. We're doing a movie that year. We don't know anything for sure until about a month before shooting.
Does that make it difficult with other work?
CARLOS: It does make it difficult with other work, definitely. You have to make your choices and choose what it is you want to focus on, what you want to do, what's more important to you. Sort of pick your priorities. Last summer it was an extremely short hiatus, and so it was really hard to find projects that were any good that fit into the time period anyway. I had a family situation that was going on, so I didn't want to leave Los Angeles either. It basically knocked out the hiatus season for me. I'm turning down work that starts in late July-that's when we start shooting.
Are you still available for Season Four?
CARLOS: I guess so, I guess. This show is my priority right now. I mean, I'm having a ball working on it. If the end of this season comes and my character dies or I'm not asked back, well then, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Do you think you'll only be shot once this season?
CARLOS: They're going to have to find some other way right? Bullet didn't work, let's try something else.
Are you impressed about the development of Tony?
CARLOS: Yes. It's been really wonderful. I think one of the things that's so much fun about working on the show is the progression of the characters. One of the fun things for me is taking the period in between seasons, and sort of filling in the blanks for myself as to what went on. "What's going on his life? Where is he now as opposed to the end of last year?" That allows your imagination to take off. They don't give us any sort of parameter for what's going on except for the fact that Michelle and I are married.
Your relationship on the show is unusual.
CARLOS: Right. Nina and my character had a relationship which was a bit nebulous in the first season, but definitely had an impact on the end of the season for my character. It actually comes back into play in season three a little bit. Back to your question about the Tony character, it's been a wonderful sort of progression for that character, absolutely. I mean when the first season started, everybody thought I was the bad guy and the mole, which was a lot of fun. Even my mom did! Are you kidding me? It's been a cool journey, and it keeps getting better. The writers have been fantastic about taking care of the character and giving me a lot of fun and juicy stuff to dig into.
How do you get along with Reiko?
CARLOS: As long as I don't have to talk to her too much it's okay. No! Reiko? I love Reiko! There's not a lot of acting going on, it's not a hard one to pull off for us.
Is it easier to be Tony after three seasons?
CARLOS: Well, from day one with this show, my approach to it has always been this: you never know what's going to happen at the end of the story. You never know whether a character's going to end up being a good guy, bad guy, whatever. I always had fun playing both possibilities. In other words, sneaking a little something in there to confuse the audience, or give the directors and producers something to play with as far as story's concerned. It could be as simple as a glance at somebody. So I've always had fun playing with that part of the genre of the show. Using to it to my advantage rather than feeling like I'm hog-tied by it. It allows you to play a bit with it.
Could Tony still be bad?
CARLOS: I think so. Yeah, I mean I think anybody could be. I'm still waiting for the Walsh character from the first episode to come back to life and be a bad guy. Do you remember him? He's the guy who got killed in the second episode, was like the big boss, right? Mike O'Neill played it. I still think he's going to be back some day as a bad guy.
Do you feel free to offer suggestions for Tony?
CARLOS: I spend a lot of time talking with the writers, and if the show comes up we'll talk about it. I don't like to burden them with ideas of where the character should go. Once it's written, I'll go in and say that I think the scene needs to go in a certain direction. And they're great about taking that input and using it. I've actually rewritten scenes and they've taken them and used them, that's how open they are to the collaborative process. It's an amazing place to work because of that. They have so many things to take care of, so many problems to solve, so many storylines to fill, that my going to them and giving them more ideas would not help the process at all. Any idea I was going to come up with they probably had somewhere anyways. Sometimes we'll get on the stage and scenes'll be written in a certain way and it just doesn't work on the stage. It works on paper but not on stage and we need to fix it.
How do you handle being named a sexy actor?
CARLOS: It's flattering in a sense, but all my friends in Chicago give me so much grief. Could be worse, right? (laughs)
Is it hard to remember your character is hurt?
CARLOS: Well the last reason, it was real, I dislocated my ankle playing basketball, so that wasn't hard to remember at all.
Longest dislocation on record?
CARLOS: I had screws put into my leg and the whole nine yards. And had to stay in a cast without putting weight on it for three and a half-months. Then I had surgery again to take the screws out. So it was a big deal.
So Tony's not accident prone.
CARLOS: Tony's not, but I am, yeah. So far so good this year.
You just have a wounded neck.
CARLOS: Right, which is lovely.
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