24: Legacy’s Jimmy Smits on Daddy Issues, Rogue One, and The Get Down

New presidential candidate in the Fox TV franchise spends the day putting out fires set by his own family

by | February 3, 2017 | Comments

24: Legacy: Jimmy Smits (Mathieu Young/FOX)

On any given day of Fox’s original series 24, the president or a presidential candidate needed Jack Bauer’s help. So what are they going to do now that Jack isn’t around?

They’ll just have to count on the new guy, Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) this time. After the Super Bowl, Fox launches a brand new day with 24: Legacy.

The series includes Jimmy Smits as John Donovan, a new candidate for president. Donovan happens to be married to former CTU Head Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto). His day gets complicated when Rebecca returns to CTU to help Carter evade killers who rooted out him and his Ranger team from hiding. Donovan’s campaign manager, Nilaa (Sheila Vand), has strong opinions about Rebecca, and within the first hour, Donovan warns Nilaa she’s overstepping when she talks smack about his wife. Gerald McRaney appears as Henry Donovan, the candidate’s father.

Smits spoke with Rotten Tomatoes recently about his role in the new series and about returning to the role of Bail Organa for 2016 blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which so successfully provided connective tissue between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy.

The Emmy– and Golden Globe–winning actor also talked about his role in The Get Down as Papa Fuerte, who supports  the musical ambitions of his niece Mylene (Herizen Guardiola). The Get Down returns to Netflix this year.

24: LEGACY: L-R: Guest star Gerald McRaney and Jimmy Smits in the "1:00 PM – 2:00 PM” episode of 24: LEGACY airing Monday, Feb. 6 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT), on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Guy D'Alema/FOX

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: What is Henry Donovan like?

Jimmy Smits: Well, the relationship is going to be very complicated, which is what I love. What happens is that you start finding out that his love for his son — the older Donovan — his love for his son has possibly made him complicit in the events that have transpired in the first hour.

RT: He might be behind the attack on the Rangers?

Smits: We’ll see how complicit he is, but fingers start pointing towards him. The campaign starts going south a little bit. It hasn’t come out like that, but at one point we’re not sure.

RT: Is Henry Donovan directly involved in the presidential campaign?

Smits: He’s involved by the fact that he’s somebody of great wealth that has a lot of international connections because of his background in oil. And he’s been very active in trying to prop his son up to make this move.

RT: Was Henry Donovan a military man?

Smits: No, we haven’t been talking about that in terms of the backstory.

RT: Was Henry Donovan in politics himself?

Smits: No, he’s more an industrialist. We wanted that kind of Big Daddy relationship, you know, Tennessee Williams.

RT: Running for president is a big deal. John Donovan has accomplished a lot. Does he still have issues with his father?

Smits: Absolutely. There are many daddy issues because his dad’s very set in his ways in terms of the way he would like to see things done, to try to use his connections and his financial support to prop up the campaign.

RT: What issues is Donovan running on?

Smits: The show hasn’t been political in designating if he’s a Republican or Democrat or if he’s pro-life. That hasn’t come into being right now because what jump-starts the show is this terrorist attack. You start finding out that the politics in terms of gathering of information, his political bent is a lot different than his wife.

RT: Do we know Donovan’s opponent?

Smits: No, but you’ll find out. His name is Gage.

24: LEGACY: Jimmy Smits ( John P Fleenor/FOX)

RT: How has the pace of 24 been different from other shows you’ve worked on?

Smits: It’s been a little frenetic, but good. It’s kind of nice to be away in Atlanta a little bit, because we’re away from the bubble here. It keeps us focused in a different kind of way. I almost feel like sometimes when I’m on location, you miss your home and your family and all that stuff, but it keeps you focused on the work.

RT: Do you have to get your dialogue exactly right so that all the other storylines still make sense?

Smits: I worked on a show called West Wing before. I didn’t work with Aaron Sorkin, but he created the show and set the tenor of the show, which was you follow the words of the script perfectly, because there’s a dramaturgical thing behind it. That was the way that show operated: Speed was very much a part of the dynamic of working on that set every day.

The dynamic here is different because the genre’s a little bit different. You have this action component that West Wing didn’t have. West Wing was a show about politics. This is a show about geopolitical situations. I don’t want to say that they’re more lenient, because I’m an actor who was trained in the theater, so the script is the bible to me. So I try to be as exact as possible, but I want to try to illuminate the characters and what the author’s intentions are, so sometimes I’m not as exact just to help to clarify.

Jimmy Smits in ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (Disney)

RT: There were reshoots to Rogue One. Did you do any different versions of your scenes, like when you say, “I trust her with my life?”

Smits: No. That was one of the reasons why I did it, because that little scene there meant a lot to me. I’m so happy that the film has done well, because it meant a lot, I think, to the franchise to do this whole thing that the standalone films would be just as substantive and good as the others, so that they can have a life themselves.

The Get Down (Courtesy of Netflix)

RT: Will you be back on The Get Down?

Smits: The Get Down is going to show its second half that’s already shot. Baz [Luhrmann] is talking now to different directors because he wants to shepherd it more than be active every day directing.

RT: What’s coming up for Papa Fuerte?

Smits: His love for his niece knows no bounds. That, plus the political situation that’s going on New York, he’s going to go down.

RT: Do you get to play the fall from the top?

Smits: Oh, there’s a fall. I don’t know if it’s from the top, but his top.

RT: If Mylene gets discovered, is he instrumental in that?

Smits: He’s involved. He’s another one who wants to put his hand into everything, but you start finding out that the family situation is much different than it was shown in the beginning of the first episodes.

RT: Does the second half take us into 1978 or beyond?

Smits: Yeah, we make a time jump, and I’m not sure what the next year is. Disco is on its downswing, which starts affect what happens with Mylene.

24: Legacy premieres Sunday, February 5 after the Super Bowl on Fox. Be sure to also read our interviews with Hawkins and the cast of 24: Legacy.

Tag Cloud

Polls and Games DGA APB spain Podcast Sci-Fi golden globes finale TCM Red Carpet Disney+ Disney Plus Esquire comics Trailer Marvel Studios Peacock vampires Sneak Peek blaxploitation supernatural E3 Apple jamie lee curtis MCU adventure The Purge Holidays crime thriller TLC American Society of Cinematographers talk show book Song of Ice and Fire Rocky PBS Infographic Trivia DirecTV cancelled TV shows Mindy Kaling Western San Diego Comic-Con Freeform video sequel cinemax Thanksgiving Superheroes Pirates LGBT Martial Arts TruTV what to watch Lucasfilm Pop The Witch space Valentine's Day zero dark thirty Masterpiece binge Mystery mockumentary Rom-Com 24 frames Marathons Paramount Network AMC First Reviews GIFs National Geographic DC streaming service CMT psycho Schedule Writers Guild of America quibi MTV name the review harry potter singing competition Comedy toy story movies true crime Teen adaptation Comics on TV X-Men Hallmark Christmas movies dragons Certified Fresh Countdown Ellie Kemper LGBTQ based on movie Musical Summer Animation GLAAD game of thrones Opinion teaser Emmys Nickelodeon Women's History Month stand-up comedy YouTube Red Star Wars El Rey dceu Character Guide Star Trek revenge FX serial killer Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix Tomatazos Marvel Television diversity christmas movies Grammys transformers aliens Marvel Trophy Talk Comedy Central USA Binge Guide werewolf First Look Cartoon Network nature Syfy spider-man Shondaland composers Winners Tumblr Extras YouTube Premium streaming Pride Month Chernobyl ghosts 2017 FXX A24 medical drama Super Bowl RT History Pet Sematary Cosplay Amazon Prime WGN strong female leads RT21 cults mutant Disney Plus ESPN Heroines Turner Classic Movies crime drama facebook dc Calendar History Showtime Amazon Prime Video Music Awards Tour CBS free movies ABC CBS All Access war south america Family Disney streaming service Apple TV Plus Elton John Country Arrowverse TCA ABC Family BBC America 2020 71st Emmy Awards Pixar Stephen King halloween Creative Arts Emmys CW Seed richard e. Grant 2015 Crunchyroll Fall TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina robots biography Election kids Shudder Fantasy festivals Paramount Watching Series political drama Oscars Ghostbusters zombie renewed TV shows docudrama SXSW Sundance Now anime slashers Netflix Christmas movies Anna Paquin New York Comic Con casting breaking bad MSNBC PaleyFest game show Fox News tv talk IFC Films batman Adult Swim independent 45 romantic comedy award winner 20th Century Fox social media justice league 2018 Lionsgate cancelled TV series crossover Brie Larson travel Sundance sitcom YA Hulu OWN cats unscripted joker Premiere Dates Dark Horse Comics 2019 TV renewals hispanic Nat Geo IFC spinoff children's TV Spring TV cartoon Warner Bros. FOX Winter TV foreign YouTube E! TNT TIFF cancelled television Horror Reality See It Skip It HBO Max spanish language witnail Interview Hallmark miniseries Photos rotten movies we love NBC 007 SundanceTV Disney Mary poppins natural history cops Drama Apple TV+ Film Epix Film Festival police drama disaster Quiz theme song series Lifetime Lifetime Christmas movies Acorn TV Bravo sports Awards Video Games Action Britbox Set visit The Walking Dead Television Academy Turner BBC Holiday Walt Disney Pictures Superheroe psychological thriller Mary Tyler Moore A&E Disney Channel Christmas canceled latino BET CNN canceled TV shows science fiction Rock Vudu Box Office blockbuster WarnerMedia Spike VH1 period drama 2016 DC Comics zombies HBO SDCC cars ratings Cannes Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures comiccon Toys Logo Kids & Family Musicals Year in Review Captain marvel discovery VICE TV Land Amazon Nominations green book President The CW historical drama GoT politics TCA 2017 Reality Competition Mudbound Food Network Universal cancelled comic technology spy thriller Crackle USA Network crime ITV Emmy Nominations DC Universe Spectrum Originals anthology cooking Black Mirror animated thriller hist Rocketman Starz TV Mary Poppins Returns doctor who NYCC indie Best and Worst boxoffice romance The Arrangement television Comic Book versus 21st Century Fox screenings dramedy Tarantino elevated horror Biopics Classic Film Ovation TBS