Feb. 7, 2014 at 10:01 AM ET
Things have a way of blowing up around Kiefer Sutherland. The actor is returning in a big way to both large and small screens this year: in the volcano disaster picture "Pompeii" and the much-heralded return of "24" to Fox as a limited series.
During a visit to TODAY on Friday, Sutherland admitted that when "24" writer/producer Howard Gordon (who now works on Showtime's "Homeland") called and said he had an idea for a 12-episode arc, the actor was "quite surprised by" the idea of doing a ninth season of the hit drama.
"I said, 'Well, why don't you just kind of do them for "Homeland,' (and) he said, 'No, this is really "24,"' would you be interested,' and it took me all of three seconds to say, 'Sure, of course,'" Sutherland said.
Promo teasers for "24: Live Another Day" that dropped during the Super Bowl gave fans lots to chew on — namely the London backdrop and that Sutherland's Jack Bauer remains the world's worst traveling companion. (Remember season two's plane crash? His arrest in Africa in "Redemption"? Well, in the new season, he stalks a wrecked London street scene.)
Could there be a season 10? Sutherland won't say.
"I'm focused on these 12, and I'm nervous about it," he admitted. "We did eight seasons that we were all proud of, and so to open the can up again is potentially very dangerous."
But he's got a distraction in the form of his upcoming film, "Pompeii," which also stars Kit Harington of "Game of Thrones" and Carrie-Anne Moss of "The Matrix" fame. The actor revealed he almost didn't do the movie, in which he plays a cruel Roman senator and uses a British accent.
"It was described to me poorly," the actor said of the initial pitch. "Which was, it was an 'action movie that runs into a disaster film.' And that didn't sound that appealing to me."
He changed his mind when he got a look at the script. "The story was so beautifully written," he said. "I was very lucky."
"Pompeii" opens in theaters on Feb. 21, and "24: Live Another Day" premieres on Fox on May 5.