Interview with Hart Hanson & Stephen Nathan from Bones

In preparation for the Bones season premiere, the big cheeses behind the show, Hart Hanson & Stephen Nathan, spoke with the press. There ARE some slight spoilers for the end of the premiere and the season, so if you are adament about those, be aware. First up are two questions of mine.

Jenny: The Bones fandom went crazy after last season’s finale. I saw a lot of…almost harsh reactions toward Brennan on Twitter, which I was actually surprised about. Did you get much backlash about Brennan leaving with Christine at the end of last season, and if so, was it more, less, or about what you’d expected?

Hart Hanson: I was slightly surprised in that Brennan did what was best for everyone. She needed Booth to stay and clear her name so that she could come home and she knew that Pelant would like nothing more than to get her into the system and then wrench Christine away from Booth (they aren’t married). On the other hand, we wanted to set up a situation in which doing the right thing rationally still caused a lot of perturbations for our characters.
Jenny: Can you talk about your choice of Clark moving into Brennan’s office/position temporarily and then bringing him in as a second forensic anthropologist? Is he now a series regular in addition to the rotating squinterns?

Hart: Clark is not a regular; he’s just the most senior of our squinterns in that he has a doctorate and COULD be the forensic anthropologist if Brennan weren’t there … even though “crime” isn’t his first love. Is he working in the Jeffersonian? Yes, he is– but it’s a very large institution.
Jump with me to read more!

On Pelant’s role in season 8

Stephen Nathan: He’s going to be around all season. He’ll come and go, but Hart and I both hate serial killers as a rule; but we loved this guy, and he’s just the most interesting multiple murderer that we’ve ever had on the show. He’s going to kind of color Season 8 a bit.

Hart: Color it red.

Stephen: Yes, no one is going to be able to rest easy in Season 8, that’s it.

We’re going to be, we’re probably focusing more on kind of trying to do great murders this season than we have in the past. We just want to get the show back to the basics. However, all of their personal lives have been altered by what happened with Brennen being gone, and with sort of the honeymoon period of our series being over. Now they have to deal with the realities of their relationships and their lives, as well as Pelant, as well as this kind of dark cloud that hangs over them. But it won’t be dealt with in every episode, but Pelant is not going away.

On how long ago & why the end of season 8, episode 1 was planned

Hart: We know what happens, well, of course, it’s our job to know what happens, and that was the natural end for us of that episode of the first episode is to extend the Pelant story and raise another question. How’s that for obfuscation? But it’s like does he have help? We don’t know what the motive is of … to do what he did. It’s just it’s little—it’s a gulch hanger, not a cliff hanger just to keep that story alive in people’s minds.

Stephen: It’s just to raise questions.

On whether or not we’ll continue to see the revolving interns

Hart: We’re going to keep our revolving gang of interns. It just really works for us, and we always check on their availabilities, because these are very, very talented people; and they’re going to be sucked away into their own TV shows. But as long as we can have them, we’re going to hang on to them.

Stephen: Also we will be meeting new interns at some point this season and also revisiting interns that we haven’t seen as much as we want to, so we’re still open to that. We just love having that revolving door in the lab. It works very well for us.

On whether or not we’ll see some of the extended family this season

Stephen: Yes, definitely. Brennan’s dad will be back and we hope to have Booth’s grandfather, and maybe even meet a couple of other family members.

Hart: I hope Billy Gibbons will be back because that’s just total fun for us to play, Angela’s dad. Also we are looking at storylines that—still in nascent storylines we have a story for Hodgins’ brother that we may visit; and we’ve very interested in the back nine somewhere in meeting Booth’s mom and having Booth’s mom meet Brennan. But we haven’t figured out that story yet, but it’s in our bin. It’s about time to see Booth’s family a little bit.

Everybody always asks if we’re going to have Brennan’s cousin, Margaret, who is played by Zooey Deschanel back, but she seems very, very busy on her own show.

We have some ideas for Booth’s mom, so we’re investigating all that. We want to make it good.

On what they can say about Cam’s new love interest

Hart: Oh, nothing. That’s not quite true. It is not someone you won’t recognize. That’s about all we’re saying about it. It’s not a brand new person. It’s someone that the fans will recognize, and if we’re good, they didn’t see it coming. If we’re not, they’ll see it coming.

On the physicality of the reunion between Booth and Bones

Hart: They did have fun. In fact we had written one reunion, and they came and said can we go a little farther with this, and so we upped, let’s say, the energy of them seeing each other again. It’s one of those things that you discuss at great length is how mad is Booth at Brennan? How anxious are they to see each other, and how does all of this manifest in one split second?

So we ended up talking to them about it and to the director, Ian Toynton, who’s our directing producer, and that is where we got, and we were pretty pleased with—there’s nothing better than having actors come to you and say they want to do more and not less, especially going into the beginning of Season 8. So we were tickled with it.

On Booth’s reaction to Brennan about her leaving

Stephen: You know, initially you’re very happy to see somebody, but all of the three months of being abandoned essentially doesn’t go away. So that’s still kind of bubbling inside, and in the second episode we’ll see some evidence of that. There are things that they have to get past. Even though they understand what happened to each other, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to move on and to go back to what they had before. Everything will have changed a bit.

Hart: We loved the idea that just because a decision is right and good and the most sensible rational decision, that it’s still painful for people, and they have to get by that. Maybe it’s even tougher when no one was in the wrong. Yes, Stephen is right. The second episode addresses that head on.

On the rest of the cast’s reaction to Brennan about her leaving

Hart: Except for Angela, two of our people are not scientists. Angela and Sweets are not scientists and tend to recognize that people are more complex than simply rational; doing what’s right. So Sweets and Angela stand a little to the left of the others, who get it, who simply go that was the smartest thing to do. I would have done the same thing, meaning Hodgins and Cam especially as scientists. But yes, it splashes all over everybody, but mostly Booth, Sweets and Angela are the—for us it’s fun that her being away caused trouble between Booth and Angela as the two most I’m going to say humans.

Stephen is there a better word, the two most human I want to say emotional people. They actually end up being angry way at each other when the more rational people are going yes, that’s what had to happen … there.

Stephen: I think the other people who aren’t so intimately involved understand. They understand, and they’re just happy to have her back. As we deal with those issues in the first episode, you see how everyone is affected at the end.

Hart: I think that Hodgins, for example, thinks he’s okay with it, but if you’ve seen the first episode, he does something that is very un-Hodgins-like, the very, very aggressive, and we think it stems out of what happened to his friends.

On the biggest challenge of keeping the show & the characters fresh

Hart: Stephen and I spend every morning, we have a cup of coffee, and at first we argue about politics and our families and anything else and movies and books, because we don’t agree on everything. Then we segue from that life stuff into what we’re going to do on our show.

I like to think that out of that half hour every morning, a half hour or 45 minutes conversation that we have that stuff we send it up to a writers’ room that, oh my God, Stephen, would you like to rhapsodize a little about the writers’ room? They’re just so good this year.

Stephen: Yes, we have an extraordinary group of writers led by John Collier, who they just see the world in such a unique way. They’re giving us murders and body finds that we’ve never seen before. I think if the characters stay fresh, the show stays fresh, because they lead the way, and these writers understand that. We try to follow the characters’ leads. I think that’s the only way for it to stay fresh.

Hart: We listen to the actors, too, by the way. These people have been playing the face of these characters for seven seasons. Every hiatus, we meet with each one of them one-on-one and say who do you like being in scenes with and have a hanging and dreaming conversation. We get a lot of ideas from that, and we want them all connected, invested in what they’re doing. We’re very lucky to have that group of people on our show.

Stephen: You know what? I think Hart and I are both old married men. We’ve been married for so many years to our wives. Bones is another wife, and it’s a very, very, very good marriage. It’s not boring. It’s still alive. We still have sex and that’s …. These are the wives.

On episode 805

Hart: It’s crime scene clean-up.

Stephen: Yes, really good.

Hart: That’s where we find out who Cam is with.

Stephen: We’re going to find out who Cam is with, which will be a big, big surprise. Brennan and the squints go up against someone whose entire life is devoted to—

Hart: Wiping out evidence.

Stephen: Eliminating evidence and theirs is discovering it, so it’s really; it’s spy versus spy.

On if/how the twist with Pelant will affect Brennan’s ability to do her job

Hart: Well, Brennan has an ability that to put her head down and concentrate on what’s in front of her. Some would call it her retreat. When the world gets too complicated, she simply stares at what’s in front of her and works that, so she is not someone to brood and worry. That’s Booth’s area. He is the one who’s always looking around.

The most common visual on Bones when they’re standing over the body, and I have to give this to the actors again, when they’re standing over the human remains, Brennan is usually on the ground with her nose about an inch from something disgusting looking at details. He is flicking around; his eyes are flicking around looking around to see what’s out there, what threats are out there and what answers are out there. So the Pelant thing is more a haunting for Booth than it is for Brennan until it’s something that she has to face; until it’s put in front of her nose in other words.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that by the end of the season opener, Brennan is able to go back to work at the Jeffersonian.

Stephen: I think it’s important she’s able to go back to work. She’s back home, but nothing is safe. No one can rest easy.

Hart: Yes, yes. He’s still out there.

On the big 150th episode

Hart: Our 150th episode to air is kind of, yes, it’s a weird episode. It’s going to be an episode told where we see everything from the point of view of the victim. It’s been very tricky. It was very tricky to shoot, because it could be claustrophobic. We needed a very, very heart tugging story, so that the person who we are experiencing, whose death we are solving is an actual character, and it’s a boy.

We don’t usually use kids, because we can’t laugh, and it’s not a funny episode. It’s an outsider’s view, very single view of our team at work. In a way, it shows what the camera doesn’t usually show. It shows how each of our characters interacts with a victim when no one else is looking, but the victim. So it’s a little bit elegiac and melancholy.

Cyndi Lauper is in it as our resident psychic who knows that the victim is watching us and is trying to help find out what the victim needs, so that they can go on, move on. By the way, it’s not to solve the murder. The victim needs something else before he can move on.

Stephen: It’s a very unique episode both how it’s shot, the tone of it, and it’s been a real challenge to put together and a challenge like that always kind of gives you the most satisfaction. Everybody has come together for this one not only it was a great script, it was beautifully directed. The actors were terrific, and now our visual effects team is working on it, as well as the sound mixers. It’s really a very rich episode and should be unique for the 150th. Now, of course, now we’re planning the 300th.

Hart: It’s going to be a wild romp.

Stephen: Yes, it’ll be from Hart and my perspective.
Thank you to both Hart & Stephen for taking the time with the call. They are both so funny and really love working with the cast & the show.

Don’t miss the season premiere of Bones tonight on FOX at 8/7c.

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