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Tuesday 3 October 2006

An other 24 hours of twists 10/24/2003

CTU good guys back — or are they bad guys?

Tony Almeida looked like he was going to be a bad guy. He turned out to be a good guy. But you never know when he or just about anybody else on "24" could take a turn that might make him a bad guy.And Carlos Bernard, the man who plays Tony, wouldn't have it any other way.

"Are you kidding?" he said. "This show is everything an actor could ask for."

And everything viewers could ask for, too. In its first two seasons, "24" became one of the best shows on television.the format keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Centering on CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit) agent Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland), a season takes place in one particularly eventful 24-hour day; each episode runs (more or less) in real time and, at the end of each hour, there's a cliffhanger.And the stakes are high. Season 1 found Jack fighting to prevent the assassination of presidential candidate Sen. David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert)— a plot that turned out to be a huge conspiracy. In Season 2, he had to stop a nuclear device from detonating in Los Angeles and prevent the overthrow of now-President Palmer.

As for Season 3, "I think it's the best setup yet," Bernard said.

(On Tuesday, Fox will air the hourlong season premiere of "24" without commercial interruption.)

The action picks up three years after the end of Season 2. President Palmer, it turns out, survived the assassination attempt in the Season 2 finale — although he's not necessarily fully recovered. He's back in Los Angeles, about to debate his opponent in the upcoming general election. His evil ex-wife isn't around — she's presumably in prison at this point. Although rumor is that Sherry (Penny Johnson-Jerald) might show up later this season. And it's not like the president lacks for female company. . But, as it turns out, L.A. isn't exactly a safe place to be. Jack, it seems, has spent the past year infiltrating a drug lord's organization because of the man's ties to terrorist cells. The drug lord is in prison, but his brother is demanding his release — or he'll release a killer virus into the general population, and in a week, more than a million people will be dead.

"I think they've done it again," said Bernard, who, like the other actors, entrusts himself and his character to the whims of the writers. "And they're flying by the seat of their pants. You never know exactly where they're going." (Which is true. In neither of the first two seasons did the writer/producers know where the story was going to end up when they wrote the first episodes.) "How can you not trust them?" Bernard said. "Look what they've given us to this point."

Acting in "24" can be a challenge, however. The actors are given "some general idea" of what's in store for their characters, but they don't really know what to expect until they get each script. And they never know when they might suddenly discover that, yes, they're a bad guy instead of a good guy. Or vice versa.Bernard's character looked for all the world like a bad guy in the early going of Season 1.

"But I didn't really think so because that would have been too obvious. But I did start to wonder later in the season if they would circle around after making it look like he was one of the good guys," he said.
In Season 2, Tony ended up running CTU and sided consistently with good-guy Jack. He's now firmly in charge of CTU and still seems firmly on the side of Jack, who's running a special field-operations division. "But you never know," Bernard said. "I never know until I see those scripts."
Not that he's complaining, by any means. With the exception of Sutherland, most of the "24" stars weren't exactly household names before the show started. But now, "People recognize me all the time," Bernard said. "It's always, 'Hey, Tony!' "

How high has "24" raised his profile? Well, Bernard found himself on People magazine's most-beautiful people list. Albeit somewhat reluctantly.

"My publicist called and said, 'You've got to do this.' And she never says that. But I sure heard about it from my friends and my family. They had a great time with that one."

Not that "24" has been perfect by any means. You've got to get past the fact that the possibility of everything that happens on the show actually happens in a single day is wildly unlikely. It's a show that has more than its share of twists, turns and coincidences.

And even fans of the show have found the adventures of Jack's daughter fairly ludicrous — The Perils of Kim, as it were. Last season, in the space of those "24" hours, Kim dealt with a homicidal boss, kidnapping charges, a serious car accident, multiple murders in a convenience store, a cougar, a wacko survivalist and, oh yeah, that nuclear bomb that she thought killed her dad.

This season, "She's working for me," Bernard said with a laugh. "We'll see how that works out." Yes, Kim is now a computer expert working for CTU. Which does seem to integrate her into the story more naturally. (Assuming you forget that she's gone from nanny to computer genius in three years.) And she's got a love interest — a CTU field agent, Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale), who is Jack's protege. Not that Jack is really happy about the relationship. But viewers should be very happy. Bernard was right when he said, "You're in for another great ride."

By Scott D. Pierce

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Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida 10/27/2002

Like so many characters on "24," a cloud of suspicion hung over glowering CTU agent Tony Almeida last season.

"Quite frankly, just keeping my eyes out for people I didn't trust or trying to figure out whether they were telling me the truth as a character probably is going to make me seem suspicious,"Carlos Bernard said. "I thought Tony was the one person who was doing his job the right way."

Tony, who was dating Nina Myers when she turned out to be the mole, takes over her position at Counter Terrorism Unit headquarters this season.

"I know for myself, being burned like I was is obviously going to play into everything that happens," Bernard said. "It takes a while to get over something like that, especially the magnitude that I was burned."

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

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Carlos in a new TV series? 08/06/2006



Now that Carlos Bernard's Tony Almeida has been killed off Fox's "24," will we see him in a new TV series?

We will, if Bernard, 43, can sell the pilot he wrote. With help from his "24" friends, he shot the hour drama, "Mission Road." It's set in the East L.A. Hispanic community, stars Bernard and familiar TV faces, and "it's gritty and deals with some of society's darker aspects," he tells us. "Thanks to my friends, it looks like a million bucks."

James Murphy, Rochester, N.Y.

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Sharky's Machine (04/06/2006)



Phil Joanou Helming Sharky's Machine Source: Variety April 6, 2006

According to Variety, Warner Bros. has hired Phil Joanou (upcoming Gridiron Gang) to direct its remake of cop actioner Sharky's Machine and set it up with Basil Iwanyk's Thunder Road to produce.

The film is a potential starring vehicle for Mark Wahlberg, who is executive producing with Stephen Levinson for Leverage Management.

Burt Reynolds directed and toplined the 1981 Warners film, based on the novel by William Diehl.

The new version will vary in places from the original and likely won't be set in Atlanta. The story revolves around a tough homicide cop who is demoted to the lowest of the low, the morals squad. He rallies together a ragtag group of cops who successfully take down a man who rigs elections.

Jerry Stahl wrote the script. Screenwriters Doug Miro and Carlos Bernard have done a rewrite.

The following takes place between October 12, 1962 and the present



ahhh...high school reunions. A scary time for some; an ego trip for others; but mostly a chance to see who actually recognizes you. For Carlos Bernard, who will be attending his reunion soon at New Trier High School in Chicago, this likely won’t be an issue. Bernard is a star on possibly one of the most addicting shows to ever hit television. For those who own the DVDs, it’s often more difficult to watch just one episode of 24 than give into the temptation of continuing on to the next. In the spirit of the fast-paced spy show, which plays out critical national security events over a period of 24 hours, when Bernard landed the role of Tony Almeida on 24, his life also changed “overnight.” Far from Los Angeles or even his childhood playground of Chicago, Bernard recently found himself at a department store in Tokyo. He traveled there on a press tour promoting the show, which is very popular in Japan. And everytime Bernard would exit one department and enter other, an employee would politely approach him, say, “Hello, Mr. Tony,” and bow. Indeed, Bernard certainly has a recognizable face. But he’ll be the first to tell you that before his appearance on the show, “no one knew who the heck I was.” Like the rest of the cast of 24, Bernard was an actor but never hit anything nearly as big as his current role. Yet he was determined to remain positive, even after being fired from the soap opera The Young and the Restless. And unlike many other actors in this city who are often hesitant to tell people what they really want to do because their own self image is as cliché as most of the movies released, Bernard says, “I love actors and respect them. I am very proud to be one.” However, this wasn’t always his mindset. New Trier High School has a wonderful drama program. “I remember seeing a play and being completely intimidated,” recalls Bernard, adding that seeing is all he did. Even though the thought of acting excited Bernard, he never participated in high school drama. Having been raised by loving parents who only wanted him to have a nice, normal life in the Chicago suburbs with a full-time job, he “never wanted to fess up to anyone that I wanted to be an actor because I’d be afraid they would talk me out of it.” Instead, Bernard played sports, was an art major at Illinois State college, and became an art director for a magazine once he graduated. Nevertheless, his dream of performing never faded, especially after having been given a small taste of stage work in college. “I would walk into a theater thinking one way and I would leave changed,” says Bernard, using the play Our Town as an example. “After seeing it, you walk out wanting to seize the day. The small things in life become a lot more precious to you.” Bernard finally did give into his temptations after a friend dared him to try out for the renowned Second City comedy club which launched the careers of such comics as John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner. Getting into the comedy club and preparing himself to pursue the life of a thespian wasn’t the difficult part for Bernard—it was breaking the news to his mother afterward. “I told my mom I was quitting the magazine job, going to work freelance, pursue acting, and move out,” Bernard says with a smile, remember the expression on her face. “She called me crazy over and over again in a million different Spanish ways.” With his mother’s two cents behind him, Bernard proceeded to complete his education with Second City, earn a master’s of fine arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and finally arrive in Los Angeles to find an agent and get work—a task that didn’t prove to be too easy. Like most other actors—successful or not—Bernard has had his share of discouraging moments. Perhaps his lowest moment was finding himself going to temp agencies at the age of 36, broke, after losing his job with The Young and the Restless. After four months of not working, he finally got a job in graphics design which he began working on the day of New Year’s Eve. As to his state of mind—let’s just say the relevance of being recognized by his high school class let alone people across the world wasn’t exactly being contemplated. With that said, Bernard not only looks at his past, but also toward the future with the same positive attitude he had when he first moved to Los Angeles. “People try to take down your self-esteem all the time,” he says. “The point is that none of it matters. It has no bearing on anything. The difficultly, the adversity, and the ‘no’s’ are part of the fun.” As for now, Bernard just feels fortunate to have a job he loves and can go to every day. Someday he would love the opportunity to work with actors such as Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, and George Clooney. Coming from an actor who hasn’t been killed off a show like 24 after five seasons, he must be doing something right. But wherever his career takes him, Bernard takes comfort in knowing he will always have the love and support of his actress wife, Sharisse Baker-Bernard, and their two-year-old baby daughter. Oh, and we can’t forget Bernard’s mother. Somehow she has managed to come to grips with his career. “She loves the show 24,” says Bernard with a smile. “She’s my Chicago publicist.”

David Krissman

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