What would 24 look like without Jack Bauer, aka Kiefer Sutherland? Viewers of the popular franchise will get a chance to find out on February 5th, following the Super Bowl, when Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, Kong: Skull Island) takes on the mantle of saving the world.
In 24: Legacy Corey portrays Sergeant Eric Carter. Six months before the story begins, Carter was the leader of an elite squad of US Army Rangers that killed terrorist leader Sheik Ibrahim Bin-Khalid in Yemen.
In the aftermath, the terrorists have declared a fatwah against Carter, all his squad and their families. Eric reaches out to Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto, Homeland), who was the National Director of CTU at the time of the raid.
Can Ingram and Carter stop the terrorists’ plots to kill them and destroy America? Corey Hawkins came to the TV Critics tour to talk about taking on the legacy of 24.
24: Legacy – Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by Ray Mickshaw

Do you feel a certain amount of pressure carrying on this legacy?

Yeah. (he laughs) I’d be crazy to say there wasn’t any pressure to do it, because if there wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be doing it. If the challenge wasn’t there, then there was no reason for me to say yes to the role.

The script happened to be amazing. It lifted off the page, and then your mind just starts going with where you can take it, and what it means in television to be a hero and look like I look.

We have to honor where (Eric) comes from. It’s not just about his skin color, but it’s also about his culture. It’s about where he grew up. What are the alliances growing up in Washington, D.C., in the Southeast, where I actually happen to have personally grown up? (We have to) really honor every single detail about that. That’s the authenticity.

Growing up, we never got to see a hero that didn’t have superpowers who looked like us. You know? That you could look to and say, ‘Man, I could be that guy one day. I could be a patriot. I could be a soldier. I could work in the government and be a hero.’

24: Legacy – Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) and Nicole Carter (Anna Diop) ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by John P Fleenor

What was the biggest pressure for you?

The only pressure is, as an actor, was to step into Eric Carter’s shoes and make him as complex and flawed and as human as I could. That’s the fun. That’s what we get to play with every day, those conversations in between the words, what’s not on the page.

Not really following in the footsteps of anything that came before, because 24 is all about the moment that you’re in. And as an actor, that’s a gift.

24: Legacy – Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by Mathieu Young

There’s a lot of physicality in this, was it pretty rough on you? Did you have to do anything special to stay in shape kind of thing?

Yes and yes. I had to change my eating habits a lot. I’m not doing too well.

While I was working on Kong (Skull Island), I got the script. We were in Vietnam by that point, and there were some Rangers and Navy SEALS there. So I had already started doing the research side of it. My character in that film is nowhere near as physically capable as Eric Carter is.

Every day on (the 24: Legacy) set, we have one of the best stunt teams ever, and we get to literally do all of our stunts, which is super cool too. So it’s hard on me. I’m not going to lie. I would prefer not to go to the gym.

24: Legacy – Keith Mullins (Teddy Sears), Thomas Locke (guest star Bailey Chase) and Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by Guy D’Alema

Can you talk about the diversity of your writers’ room.

I remember we had very long conversations about making sure that our voice is in the writers’ room. And we do have black writers and I’m very proud of that. We have women writers, strong writers, and that was a very important thing for all of us.

Also we wanted writers who knew how to write for this genre just in general. We are a diverse people, and this show is really a reflection of that, as it always has been.

24: Legacy – Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by Mathieu Young

Is there anything that Eric won’t do in the name of making things right by the end of this day?

There are things that Eric is just isn’t comfortable doing. He is an average human being with extraordinary ability in terms of being a soldier. But the rules of engagement are very different on the home front. And there’s an adjustment period that we’re going to have to watch him stumble through messily and watch him get through that. (But that) doesn’t taking anything off the table because he still has a job to do.

24: Legacy -: L-R: Ashley Thomas, Sheila Vand, Dan Bucatinsky, Miranda Otto, Jimmy Smits, Corey Hawkins, Charlie Hofheimer, Anna Diop, Teddy Sears and Coral Pena ©2016 Fox Broadcasting, photo by Mathieu Young


Corey was asked about the positive reaction the pilot got at Comic Con – click play below for his and Miranda Otto’s memories.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.