There are few characters on 24 as dynamic as Tony Almeida. First, he's a good guy, then he's dead, then he's a bad guy, and now he's something else! His character history is pretty intense, and actor Carlos Bernard shares that his character Tony was almost a very different guy than what we see throughout the course of the series. More specifically, he had a pretty lame name. Bernard shares the name, and the weird story of how it all changed below:
It was originally Andrew Geller. Literally 15 minutes before we started shooting, Joel Surnow, the creator of 24, came up to me in the hallway and said: 'We can't call you Andrew Geller. That can't be your name.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I agree!' So we started spitballing names, and someone came up with Tony Almeida. And I thought that was cool! I liked that! Then they sent the name to clearance, and it couldn't get cleared. The name they could clear was Tonio Almeida. And I was like, 'Dude, you cannot call him Tonio Almeida. It's like a porn name!'
Tonio is definitely not a name I've heard in the streets, that's for sure, but I'm in the Midwest and our names aren't fancy. So what started as a pretty bland name, probably shared by a basic guy you went to high school with, suddenly transformed into the name of a guy so over the top it could only be used as an alias for shooting sex on film. While it's tempting to think of ways for Jack Bauer to become a porn name, I'll digress.
Thank god for Kiefer. The very first scene we shot was him walking down the hallway into CTU, and he turns to me and says, 'Tonio...wait, Tony...wait, what's your name?' And the producers go, 'It's Tonio!' And he goes, I'm not calling him Tonio. I'm calling him Tony.' And I was like, 'God bless you, man.'
The rest, as they say, it, is history. But now - spoiler alert if you haven't been keeping up with _24: Legacy _- that history is opening up again. Fans were excited to see Tony Almeida back on the series in last night's episode as he stepped in to help the CTU interrogate Henry Donovan outside of official government watch. Whether Tony is a good guy, bad guy or just a guy remains to be seen, but we're all excited that he's back in action.
As Carlos Bernard points out, he is the only actor from the original series who was there from the very start currently on 24: Legacy, though his tenure wasn't continuous. The only other bigger name still around would be co-creator Robert Cochran, who has also been there since the original 24 premiered. Considering his longevity on the series, he should really be thanking Kiefer Sutherland for making sure he wasn't known as Tonio for the past decade and a half! No offense to guys named Tonio of course.
If you haven't gotten into 24: Legacy yet and were a fan of the original series, perhaps you should be jumping in now that Tony is back! Then again, the show hasn't been renewed for a Season 2 yet ,so maybe it's best not to get too attached. 24: Legacy airs on Fox Mondays at 8 pm ET. Check it out next Monday to hopefully see more of Carlos Bernard and his appropriately named Tony Almeida, and in the meantime, check out our midseason premiere guide if you're looking to get into something new.