The battle is spreading! This week, Freddie Prinze Jr. made waves when he spoke critically about 24 star Kiefer Sutherland, with whom he once worked on the hit FOX show—and now, former castmates are speaking out to add their two cents.
In an interview with ABC News, Prinze Jr, 38, said that his experience on 24 was not a positive one. “I did 24, it was terrible,” he explained. “I hated every moment of it… Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That’s not me talking trash, I’d say it to his face, I think everyone that’s worked with him has said that.”
While some of Sutherland’s past collaborators, such as 24 guest star Shohreh Aghdashloo, have voiced similar criticisms of the Golden Globe winner, one person who came to his defense was actor Louis Lombardi, who worked with the actor on 24.
“My experience with Kiefer was absolutely the opposite. He was one of the most professional actors I’ve ever worked with,” Lombardi tells Us Weekly exclusively. “He wanted the best out of everybody. I have nothing but great experiences with him. He’s a gentleman.”
“Maybe he was jealous, maybe Kiefer did something to him—who knows?” the actor adds about Prinze Jr. “But Kiefer’s one of the most professional and most likable people! Kiefer is the most professional actor. I’m baffled about [that] kid’s comments and baffled why he would say this years later! I’m all for Kiefer. I think he’s a great dude and I have nothing but love for him. Everyone loves him, all the actors around him, the crew. Everyone!”
During the interview with ABC News, Prinze Jr. gave an example of the treatment he took issue with. “I went and worked for Vince McMahon at the WWE for Christ’s sake and it was a crazier job than working with Kiefer,” he explained. “But, at least he was cool and tall. I didn’t have to take my shoes off to do scenes with him, which they made me do. Just put the guy on an apple box or don’t hire me next time. You know I’m 6 feet and he’s 5’4″.”
“Why’d that kid say that that’s crazy?” Lombardi tells Us of Prinze Jr.’s comments. “It’s almost like, let it go. If that’s the biggest problem that you have, to take your shoes off, I mean…”
“I hope this doesn’t turn into the Biggie and Tupac thing!” Lombardi joked of the feud between the two actors, who appeared on 24 together in 2010. “I don’t want to get gunned down in Santa Monica!”
At the time of his gig on the show, Prinze Jr. was singing a different tune about the UK-born actor. “We never worked together before but it’s pretty great,” he told Us Weekly at the Television Critics Association press tour in 2010. “And I say that because as much as you’re willing to learn, that’s how much he’s willing to give. I don’t bring my ego to work with me. He knows more about this character than I do because he’s been doing this for eight years. So I ask questions. And I know that’s not the cool thing to say because every actor’s supposed to have it worked out, but they don’t, they just don’t. But I enjoy the experience and I really like working with him.”
For his part, Sutherland, 47, released a statement on the drama through his rep. “Kiefer worked with Freddie Prinze Jr. more than five years ago, and this is the first he has heard of Freddie’s grievances,” the statement to Us reads. “Kiefer enjoyed working with Freddie and wishes him the best.” Read more from Sutherland here.