Annie Wersching joins John Carney on St Louis KMOX’s Carney Show to talk about her role in the upcoming season of 24. She gets asked about the 24 drinking game, Bruce Almighty, the differences between working on General Hospital and 24, and her special skills listed on her resume (face contortion and burping on cue). She also reveals a few of her favorite 24 characters (Tony Almeida, Chloe O’Brian, Charles Logan) and meeting The Office‘s Jenna Fischer (and fellow St. Louis native) at the All-Star Celebrity Softball game, a possible Agent Walker action figure, and Star Trek Enterprise fans sending her trading cards.
John Carney: Sunday night is the season premiere of 24, and you know I follow this show closely, but I don’t remember when or how season seven ended. I think two Harry Potter movies came out since we last saw something. I do remember a particular agent that was on the show from St. Louis. Annie Wersching joining us, and agent Walker returning to the broadcast. It ended poorly for you, did it not in season 7?
Annie Wersching: Yes, season seven, day seven, it was not going in a good direction for her. She was very conflicted about the things that she had seen and things that she’d done, and I think the last place you saw her was putting a gun at Janice’s head and about to go into the room and possibly torturing Wilson the big bad guy. So it didn’t end well, and I have to tell you it doesn’t start well for her this season.
John Carney: Yeah well, the parts I do remember of season seven, I do remember you being shot in the back of the head. Welcome to episodic television, girl.
Annie Wersching: I know, yes, in the side of the neck actually and I got to wear that band-aid for about a year and-a-half.
John Carney: You know that’s another thing, that when you stop and think about it that since it is in real time and it’s one day the whole season, that you obviously have 500 blue suits that all look exactly the same.
Annie Wersching: Oh definitely and in all different sizes, some for after the holidays if you’re not going to fit in the same one, you’ve got a whole array of choices.
John Carney: Do you have any input in that because it’s going to be your uniform for a year?
Annie Wersching: Yeah, I mean you do a little bit. I would say definitely this year being in my second year I was a little more aware of really making a conscious choice of okay you’re going to be in this for a long time, make sure you like it.
John Carney: So coming from St. Louis and recently coming back for a ten year reunion, go Crossroads, and do you realize that by their ten year reunion most people aren’t catching for the major league baseball All Star game.
Annie Wersching: Oh my God, it was maybe one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.
John Carney: Or debuting their own television show at the Tivoli Theater. You know, most of us don’t have that experience, right? You get that?
Annie Wersching: I guess I’m very lucky.
John Carney: You know, and I think if people knew the road to success there would be a lot more Irish dancers.
Annie Wersching: See? There you go; that’s the secret.
John Carney: 14 years – now I know the Lavin-Cassidy, were you one of them or?
Annie Wersching: No, I started with the St. Louis Irish Arts and then I went to the Meyers School. So I was mostly with the Meyers School with the St. Louis Celtic Step Dancers, and Kay McWilliams was in charge of us and we had ourselves a pretty good time. We were the fun school.
John Carney: Now I’m sorry I said one of them, I made it sound like you were a leper.
Annie Wersching: One of them.
John Carney: I’ll be getting letters from the Hibernian community I’m sure.
Annie Wersching: Right.
John Carney: And you can’t miss her, agent Walker on 24, she’s the only CTU agent with wooden shoes.
Annie Wersching: Yes.
John Carney: It’s tough to sneak up on the bad guy. Here she comes again. Speaking of bad guys, one of the things about 24 I think that’s played into its longevity, besides a great cast like yourself, is such delicious bad guys. Can you tell us who the evil people are this year?
Annie Wersching: Very good bad guys, yeah, I mean there’s always a bunch of different bad guys. The bad guy in the beginning, you know there’s always another bigger one lurking somewhere, but we start – my character in particular starts undercover with the Russian mob actually. So the Russians are the first big bad guys. A guy named Callum Keith Rennie is one of the big ones to start with, and it changes and we get new ones and try to mix it up.
John Carney: So what about Jack’s daughter [played by] Elisha Cuthbert, is she a major player this year?
Annie Wersching: She’s in the beginning. Jack actually starts the season pretty happy and in a good place, and he’s with his granddaughter and he’s about to move back to Los Angeles with his daughter and stuff, but then of course he gets sucked into the drama and the day. So she’s in the very, very beginning, I think maybe the first one or two episodes.
John Carney: Well I ask that because somehow it got very formulaic where if you saw her in a scene you knew something terrible was going to happen.
Annie Wersching: Yes.
John Carney: It was like when Angela Lansbury walked into a house.
Annie Wersching: You’re like uh-oh.
John Carney: There’s a body in here, Ms. Fletcher!
Annie Wersching: Yes.
John Carney: Well obviously – there is every time. So we’re in the eighth season, you come onboard in the seventh season. Was this machine on your radar? This giant franchise that is 24?
Annie Wersching: Oh for sure. I was absolutely a huge fan of the show. I had watched every episode of every season, so I was of course obviously excited extremely excited to join the show. I knew everything about it. So it’s still completely surreal, but I’m involved.
John Carney: Yeah I would I think with Kiefer Sutherland, who you’ve been watching on TV doing the show and some movies, now is two feet in front of you and you guys are chewing up dialogue together.
Annie Wersching: Oh it’s just absolutely amazing, and you know actually it’s usually about two inches in front of me because we’re very close talkers on this show. But it’s completely surreal like I said, I mean he’s unbelievable and I’m pretty spoiled now. It’s going to be hard if I ever have to work with anybody else.
John Carney: Have you ever played the 24 drinking game?
Annie Wersching: We saw – counting the damn its?
John Carney: Yes.
Annie Wersching: I don’t know if I’ve officially played it, but I definitely know of it, yes. Last year they were even keeping count on how many damn its Renee had. She was like one up on Jack on the early episodes.
John Carney: No way – you can’t take his thing, that’s his thing.
Annie Wersching: I know sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
John Carney: So how does this compare to being woman at party in Bruce Almighty?
Annie Wersching: Oh well that was a huge moment for me, woman at party, it definitely tops it for sure.
John Carney: You know, I’ve never been woman at party – well, never mind yes I have.
Annie Wersching: Well okay.
John Carney: Another story you probably don’t want to get into. We also saw you fairly regularly on a national level a few years back, General Hospital, and boy were you a nasty little bitch.
Annie Wersching: Yeah, she was not pleasant, huh? That was an amazing experience as well. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. I don’t think anybody understands how hard it is to be a daytime soap actress. It’s really, really tough work. So I bow down to those people because it’s hard. I think every actor should have to do it for a little bit because it’s really hard. You have to memorize so much dialogue and I was evil so it was fun.
John Carney: Talk about the main differences because they are both television shows, so what’s the difference between that and what you do now?
Annie Wersching: Well, what’s different is that you have to product five hours – General Hospital is on every day, so in the course of a week you have to shoot enough to have five hours of TV for the day. So you shoot a ton more shows than you do for a show like 24. On 24 we take three weeks to shoot two episodes, and I would have days on General Hospital where I’d go in and shoot three or four episodes in one day. So it’s really, really fast-paced and you pretty much have one chance to do it. Sometimes you can go back and have a second take, but you’ll just have memorized 40 pages of dialogue, which is a huge amount in comparison to on 24 where we may shoot seven pages of dialogue a day. On General Hospital sometimes it was 40 or 50 pages. So it’s just a lot of work and you really only have one shot to try it.
John Carney: Other than agent Renee Walker, and if you’re late joining us, Annie Wersching with us from 24 and we get season eight premiere on Sunday with two hours and then two hours on Monday as well. But being a fan of the show before you were on it, do you have a favorite character outside of Jack?
Annie Wersching: Oh wow, well some of the great characters are ones that are no longer with us. I mean I was a huge Tony Almeida fan before he came back last year and was evil. But then some of deaths actually were some of the best. I loved the death of [Ryan] Chappelle was really moving and wonderful, and you’ve got to love Chloe of course, and I loved President Logan’s character. He was so evil and quirky and weird. He’s actually back this season at the end of the season.
John Carney: Yeah, I saw a clip from Chloe, and I can’t think of the actress’s name.
Annie Wersching: Mary Lynn Rajskub.
John Carney: And she was doing standup somewhere and boy, it was just such a different character. It really threw me.
Annie Wersching: Yeah she’s a standup; she’s a comedian.
John Carney: And you’re an Irish dancer. So you really, you never know.
Annie Wersching: There you go.
John Carney: Speaking of other things that we do, I found your resume online as opposed to trusting Wikipedia.
Annie Wersching: Uh-oh.
John Carney: And in most resumes, especially for actors, there is a list of special skills. Hey I didn’t write it, you had to know this would come back. Singing, okay I get that, the tin whistle that fits into the Irish dance thing, also listed is face contortionist and can burp on queue.
Annie Wersching: Yes, yes, you know both of those things I should probably take off. When you’re an up and coming actress and you’re learning how to make a resume in college and things like that, they want you to put things on there that make you stand out. So those are literally left over from school where I was like what is something that I could do that’s kind of weird that nobody else could really do that might make me stand out? And I can make some pretty amazing faces, let me tell you.
John Carney: Can I hear you burp right now?
Annie Wersching: You know, I think, I think that wouldn’t be fun.
John Carney: Yeah so you padded your resume. I don’t even think you can do it.
Annie Wersching: Oh I see what you’re doing there, I see, I see. You know what, next time I come to St. Louis which I do often, I will come find you and I will give you a demonstration.
John Carney: That’s what they all say; I never hear from them. Never hear from them. So Jenna Fischer, also another St. Louis girl that’s done fairly well. Have you had a chance to meet her and talk about being a mid-west girl living in Hollywood going “Well, this is weird”.
Annie Wersching: Yeah you know I actually met her for the All Star game and hung out with her a bunch after – her and a bunch of her high school friends, and we had a good time. It’s fun to meet people from St. Louis. I actually meet more than you would expect out in LA. And of course immediately the question is what high school did you go to – it’s the weirdest thing in the world. No other city in the world is like that.
John Carney: No, and you ask somebody else from somewhere else and they’ll tell you what college they went to. It’s like no, no, no high school.
Annie Wersching: It’s so funny; it’s so weird.
John Carney: Yeah well I’ve got five high schools, so if anybody needs extras I’ll set them up. Glad to do it. So Sunday we get part one, two hours of 24, Monday we get another two hours, and then it’s off and running and it’s season eight. They say it may be the last. Is it?
Annie Wersching: You know I don’t think they officially know yet. I think your guess is as good as mine. There’s a lot of things, a lot of decisions, a lot of factors that go into it. It’s a pretty expensive show to make and so they have to deal with things like licensing and a bunch of just stuff that I think they’re going to decide once we’ve premiered. So hopefully it will keep on trucking.
John Carney: Well you wouldn’t tell me anyway. I can’t even get you to belch. I’m sure you’re not going to tell me the franchise is going to come to an end. Speaking of merchandising and stuff, is there an agent Walker action figure out there yet?
Annie Wersching: You know what, I don’t think there is, but I think we should get on that.
John Carney: What is the strangest thing that you’ve seen out there as far as you and your likeness now that you’re on one of the biggest shows on TV?
Annie Wersching: Gosh, I’m trying to think. You know what, I did an episode of Star Trek Enterprise, I mean this isn’t a 24 thing, but I did an episode of Star Trek Enterprise way back when I first got to LA and I still have fans send me playing cards, like trading cards of myself of the character. So that was pretty exciting.
John Carney: Now which one was it – was that with [Scott] Bakula?
Annie Wersching: Yes, yes.
John Carney: Who’s also a St. Louis guy.
Annie Wersching: I know, they’re everywhere.
John Carney: Well I’m so happy for you. I’m glad you’re doing well. You’re certainly one of the prides of Cross Roads High School.
Annie Wersching: Yes, I love it there.
John Carney: And I send them a check every month showing my support. We’ll be watching you on 24 and you promised to come in and belch when you come back.
Annie Wersching: I will do it.
John Carney: I’m thrilled and I’m happy for your success. Thanks for the time.
Annie Wersching: Thank you so much for having me.
John Carney: All right Annie, be well, bye.
Annie Wersching: Bye.
About Annie Wersching
Annie Wersching is an actress best known for Renee Walker on 24. This is the most comprehensive Annie Wersching resource on the web with the largest collection of pictures, videos, interviews, latest news, and more.