Recently Gazette.com had a chance to sit in on a Fox conference call with actress Emily Deschanel, the star of the hit TV series “Bones” and executive producer Michael Peterson. The show recently began its 11th season. Below is a transcript of the conversation.
Q: When people meet you do they mistake you for character, expect you to be brilliant like Brennan and know all this medical stuff?
Emily: Of course, I’m brilliant just like my character. Yes, well, I mean people call me by my character all the time, I mean people call me Bones or Dr. Brennan. My favorite was in Spain people would say Doctora Brennan. I don’t know, sometimes people think I know medical stuff beyond Bones, too. They assume I know everything about the human body, which I, obviously, do not.
I think people are mostly pretty savvy. I don’t get that many people thinking that I’ll be able to solve a murder or operate on somebody or whatever they think. There are a few people who, I guess I’m that convincing, they believe I’m really like that.
Michael: Emily, one of my favorite stories Hart ever told me was his dad came to set and watched you doing a line and he was just enamored with how you delivered it and he looked to Hart and said, “Where does she come up with this stuff?” Which is pretty fantastic to say that to the writer.
Emily: So, so hard for Hart, Hart Hanson, who created the show, I’m sure so hard for him to hear because he’s the one that comes up with all the words.
Michael: He thought it was hysterical. Yes, he loved it.
Emily: I’ll take all the credit.
Q: Are you guys going to focus more on Booth and Brennan again?
Michael: That was definitely the focus coming into this season, was when Jon Collier and I met with and talked to David and Emily our focus 100% is making sure to have as much time as possible with Booth and Brennan. That is the heart of the show.
We will challenge ourselves to make sure to get as much screen time as possible. David gave us a note early on and he said go back and watch early seasons, like Seasons 1 and 2, and just really kind of see all the interactions that we were able to have early on and it was great, I did. I spent my hiatus watching all these episodes over and over again and it also inspired a lot of storylines.
For instance, watching the pilot, it talks a lot about the first book that Temperance, that the Brennan character writes and how it’s inspired by each one of the characters on the show and that led to a fun storyline that is coming up I think in Episode 4 where there’s a twist in Brennan’s latest novel that is a sharp departure, but it leads to some pretty good back and forth between Booth and Brennan as a result of it.
It’s been fun to re-discover those early seasons and then really having it reflect in this season.
Q: By the end of Episode 2 Brennan has seemed fine that Booth has basically lied, perhaps, to her, hidden his involvement with Jared’s group from her. Is that the end of that or will there be some ramifications to that secrecy later on?
Emily: Yes, that’s such a big thing. Michael you can probably answer that question better, though.
Michael: Well, we’ll go into it some, but last year was very specific, you know, Booth lying about gambling versus what happened this year and I think that if it had just been a one-parter and David was reunited with her after the first episode I think that Brennan would have hit him a lot harder as far as accusations, but through the course of the second episode, what we’re trying to get to is she understands who she is better through this case, that she belongs at the lab.
In discovering where she belongs she also understands Booth better, that Booth is this man of action. The way that we say it internally here is Booth is a little bit of a Superman and Superman can’t just sit by and watch as people suffer. There really is no retiring for him, so by the end of the second episode Brennan understands that she belongs in the lab and that her Superman, Booth, belongs out there in the field saving people.
She understands him in a way that probably nobody else could, so while a lot of people would yell at him saying you lied to me, she understands it’s just who he is and she wouldn’t want him to be any other way.
Q: Emily, it’s very clear that you and David have great chemistry. How long did it take for you both to build such a strong friendship that carried over on screen so well?
Emily: Well, ten years I guess. That’s always a focus of ours and for maybe six seasons would always work together on the weekend and building our chemistry has always been a focus of ours for our performances and I think that kind of commitment to the work in that way and to our characters and the relationship. We’ve made that a priority.
Onscreen and off, it’s been important for us to get along and build that chemistry on camera. If you see chemistry, that’s not just an accident. We’ve worked on that, but, you know, it’s not that hard to have chemistry with David Boreanaz, I’ll be honest with you.
Q: Will there be any stories kind of inspired by real events this season or any kind of news stories that have peaked your interest that you’d like to turn into something?
Michael: We’re always looking. Obviously, we read a ton and just look for inspiration anywhere we can. Hart Hanson actually e-mailed us recently asking whether or not we thought there was any kind of storyline with the young child in Texas who got arrested over building a clock. And that seems very much in the Bones wheelhouse.
We haven’t really developed a story yet for that, but it certainly could be a possibility down the line. We look everywhere. I’ve got all my Google alerts that are set up for body finds and stuff like that. It gets a little morbid sometimes. We also have the bad habit of, it seems like when we write something then it actually does happen in real life, so we had one episode where a person was canned and then shortly after we started writing somebody actually died, I think it was at the Bumble Bee Tuna factory and was canned.
Sometimes it goes the reverse of that and it’s horrifying, which led us to write a lottery episode hoping that if we write it and it happens, maybe we can win the lottery. Sadly, that did not happen.
Q: Do you find that your everyday life affects your character and do you find that you’re maybe inspired in your life by the character that you play?
Emily: I think absolutely. It’s hard to be on set for so many hours a day for ten months of the year or whatever we do and not have the actor leak into the character and vice versa. I think my husband will tell you that definitely I’ve taken on some qualities of Brennan, but then he didn’t really start dating me until after I started the show. Maybe he just thinks they’re from Brennan.
There are certain things, we have similarities. I take things literally, just like Brennan. I don’t follow metaphor very well. I like practical things, the tangibles, etc. Sometimes the way I’ll phrase things will sound like Brennan. You’ll see different sides of Brennan in me from day-to-day and vice versa.
I think definitely Brennan has softened a bit over the years and probably we’ve kind of met in the middle somewhere. I’ve hardened, she’s softened and now we’re kind of the same person, I don’t know; not quite that.
Q: How is Booth and Brennan’s life is going to change now that they have two children instead of one? Will we see anything that they’ll have to deal with given that now they have another little one running around?
Michael: Well, Emily and I, we were very smart in preparation for this as Emily, obviously, had her second child and I had mine also over the hiatus. We’re hoping that real life will inspire us. Yes, obviously, it’s totally different one versus two and right away we’re going to see some of that and there’s a sweetness that comes, especially I think it’s the third episode.
We see in the first two episodes the death of Jared and the things that you do when you have a little brother and now Christine has that little brother. There are some direct parallels and it works very well. It’s a nice little emotional conclusion to that. I’m hoping that my little one will inspire many great stories. Emily and I will be comparing notes all year and we’ll see what we come out of it.
Q: Could talk about how the way that we watch television now? Its changed so much even since Bones first began with streaming and on-demand and also social media, how that affects the way that the stories are being told now in this season.
Emily: That’s a story for Michael. I’m going to pass that over to you.
Michael: The biggest thing I think everything just, you know, the quality of TV is fantastic right now and you want to keep up with all the great shows, your Mad Mens, your Game of Thrones, I mean everybody since The Sopranos. The bar has been raised and you want to bring better and better work all the time.
That’s the first thing. Then, secondly, there are just subtle differences. We were cutting a show recently and the transitions between acts, I think, are, for instance, a little bit more subtle because many people now are going to watch things without commercials. You want to make sure that it plays well for those people as well as somebody who is watching with a three-minute interruption in between the show.
You want to cut the shows just slightly different so that it’s seamless, if you’re watching it streaming or if it works with a break in between it. And that’s probably been the biggest thing that I’ve noticed. I think we edit it just a little bit different because of that. Back in the day you’d almost have a recap to remind people what happened in between the three minutes of commercial airtime and now it’s got to be a lot more just continuous.