When Bones returns tomorrow night (FOX, Thursdays, 8/7C), it brings the reappearance of Cyndi Lauper’s psychic Avalon Harmonia – though she’s not visiting the Jeffersonian to help with the (as usual) messy case of the week. Nor is she there with warnings of tough times ahead for Booth (David Boreanaz).
Last week, Emily Deschanel and series showrunner Stephen Nathan did touch on those topics – as well as the continuing excellence of the technicians who create all those icky bodies and more – during a conference all Q&A with a number of bloggers/journalists.
Stephen Nathan (following a longer than usual pause before the first question): I’ll ask you a question, Emily.
Emily Deschanel: What if no one wants to ask any questions?
Stephen: Then we’ll just talk.
Emily: We’ll just talk.
Stephen: We’ll just talk, find out how was your weekend?
Emily: Very fine.
Hello, guys, thanks so much for talking to us again.
Stephen: Hello, how are you doing?
Good, and I really enjoyed the first three episodes back we’ve seen so far. Can you start by talking a bit about how Brennan’s pregnancy is going to be handled this season like differently than before?
Stephen: How what, I’m sorry?
How Brennan’s pregnancy is going to be handled, obviously your real life pregnancy, too, congratulations by the way, but can you talk about how they’re going to handle that on the show?
Emily: How we’re going to handle the pregnancy on the show?
Emily: Stephen, do you want to talk about that?
Stephen: I’ll talk briefly and then since you’re really doing all the literally the heavy carrying I’ll pass it back to you. Really the pregnancy is just going to have a little bit more impact on them this season I think because Brennan now realizes what it is to have a child, having the family expand and grow and now she knows the tremendous risk that she and Booth’s job have in terms of how it affects their family. So, she’s going to have to deal with that, something that I think she was a bit oblivious to before, because she didn’t have the experience, so there are emotional considerations that surprise Brennan and will affect the pregnancy for the rest of the season.
Emily: Yes, you’ll see Brennan going through a whole thing. She doesn’t really accept her pregnancy for a period of time. I think that having a second pregnancy is different than having a first pregnancy and each one is different. Brennan is experiencing that and like Stephen said she realizes what it means and when you’re working in this kind of world, crime, putting yourself in danger what that is, so she’s out of the field a little bit more this time and you’ll see there’s a lot of emotional things that happen for Brennan because of this pregnancy. It’s been different for me, Emily too, the second time around let me tell you, so it’s interesting. Probably my naiveté was helpful last time, too, from Emily as well as Brennan.
Stephen: I have three kids, so I know the second one is not double. It’s usually quadruple or ten times the amount of children.
Emily: I thought it was smooth sailing after one. No one told me—
Stephen: But it’s smooth sailing when they’re all out of the house, but—
Emily: Then you got the grandkids in your house.
Stephen: That’s right. But really Brennan’s pregnancy will have a tremendous impact on this series certainly giving us a season finale that is deeply affected by it.
And then as a quick follow-up is there like a scene this back half that you can tease about this may be your favorite that hasn’t come up so far?
Stephen: A favorite scene?
Or part of the show, this back half that hasn’t aired yet that you can tease about.
Emily: That would require us remembering what we’ve done. We’ve done 11 episodes since that last one aired, so we’ve done so many. We’re even trying to remember what we’ve done. Stephen, do you have a favorite?
Stephen: You know it’s always hard for me to pick favorites, but I think the storyline that is kind of the most emotionally rich for us is Booth’s relapse into gambling and how it affects Brennan, the family and it just has the ripples go out from that and cause a lot of changes not only for Brennan and Booth, but for the other characters as well. But there are so many really, there’s great stuff between Cam and Arastoo, Arastoo going off to Iran and their relationship being in jeopardy and his life being in jeopardy. It’s hard to pick favorites. And, of course, there’s always all of the revolting bodies that delight us.
I have to just comment having just done a slide show on the grossest episodes ever, I’d forgotten how absolutely revolting they were and I think I lost five pounds that month.
Stephen: Thank you so much. I have to give props to the whole staff here that work so hard to revolt America and seems to successfully do it every week.
Emily: Especially the Yagher brothers are pretty amazing in making those disgusting dead bodies that we’ve become so accustomed to, they don’t disgust me while I’m working, but then if I watch an episode, they are actually horrifying.
Stephen: Every now and then it’ll be horrifying to me. It’s very, very rare, but if I watch another show that I’ve had nothing to do with, so I don’t know how those things are done, I can’t look. I absolutely can’t watch.
That’s fantastic. Well, I’ll tell you hands down, hands down, hands down the [indiscernible] fly was the number one worst ever. I remember that you referred to it, Stephen; you referred forward to it in one of our interviews back when.
Stephen: Yes, people didn’t quite believe that that could be so horrifying, but—
Emily: Yes, that is disgusting.
It’s real. I learned that it was real.
Stephen: It’s totally real, but it was also sweet.
It was disgusting.
Emily: I like your spin on it.
Okay, so here’s my question just getting a little bit more into the pregnancy this time, there’s been mention that there are going to be some complications and of course my mind goes to physical complications. So, I’m wondering if we can expect some medical complications or bed rest or perhaps a multiple pregnancy, meaning twins, triplets, blah, blah, blah, blah and what kind of things are we going to get to see this time that we didn’t last time like how Brennan finds out and Booth finds out or the team finds out and what everyone’s reactions are when that happens?
Emily: There’s not anything like so big medically that’s a huge problem or something. It’s more the emotional repercussions and the realization of Brennan having another child and then of course coupled with Booth’s relapse into gambling that makes things complicated I guess. I guess that’s why we’re using that word. At the same time it seems like Brennan is a little more delicate this pregnancy, but there’s nothing like major like that that she’s on bed rest necessarily or that she’s having many babies that we know of yet. Hey, I haven’t read the last episode yet, so.
Stephen: The baby/babies will not—possible babies will not appear this year.
Stephen: I know everyone kind of expects it, but we’ve had a lot of births on the show and we kind of know how—
Emily: I told them I’m not giving birth again.
Stephen: That’s right. Brennan will be four years pregnant.
Emily: Until we finish the show.
Stephen: That’s right.
Emily: And the series is done.
Stephen: But we’re just kind of trying to approach the whole thing a bit differently to see the emotional complications rather than the physical complications of this pregnancy. Because as we’ve said, this pregnancy is much more fraught emotionally for both of them for many, many reasons. There’s also the preponderance of cases that have affected their life over the past ten years of working together and how that affects their perception of their situation and their perception of the world and the world they want to bring their new child into and raise their family, so all of this has a tremendous impact on them. Do they want to keep getting shot at? That’s a real question.
Emily: They had their house blown up last season. It’s big risks in this job. Booth is in prison or jail, it’s a really dangerous, risky job to have especially the way they do it, so it’s something that they’re considering heavily.
Stephen: And we’ve never even seen them take a break. When they separated before, Booth went to war, so we’re going to be treading some new ground.
That’s what we look forward to from you guys. The follow-up question first of all, which comes first in—
Stephen: A chicken.
Yes, right, okay.
Emily: Or the egg?
The square chicken, right? Okay, so which comes first, do we find out about a pregnancy first or do we see signs or do we have an admission of or a view of Booth’s addiction re-emerging; and what is Booth’s response to the pregnancy?
Stephen: Well, all of those things I don’t want to give away anything, but they all kind of happen around the same time. That’s why it’s so fraught. All of these things they’re sort of simultaneous events.
Okay, now this is just you and me talking, Stephen, just you and me, no one else can hear.
Or maybe Emily, can you give us a number of an episode?
Emily: For what?
Stephen: You know what, I would love to be able to, but the episode list that I have in front of me does not have—oh, I think it’s episode 15.
Emily: Where we reveal the pregnancy?
Stephen: Yes. I think it’s episode—
Emily: I think people will be able to see that I’m pregnant before that.
Stephen: Well, I don’t know.
Emily: That’s the beauty of being publicly pregnant before—
Stephen: I don’t know, you like that vegan carrot cake.
So the same thing with pregnancies, are we going to see a time jump afterwards then closer to the baby’s birth whether that’s next season or any time jumps in the future then for the show?
Stephen: The plan is to see a time jump when we start Season 11.
After ten seasons and ten years, is there anything that the characters hadn’t gotten to do that you want them to do?
Stephen: Yes, absolutely, many, many things.
Stephen: I think in the same way that everyone’s life becomes surprising as they move through it and events change, the people’s reactions to those events evolve, so everything has the potential to always be new and surprising. Don’t you think, Emily?
Stephen: I have to say the fact that Emily comes to work everyday and her work is always so incredibly fresh and surprising and new and is a testament to the longevity of the show and it just seems like it could go on forever because of that.
Emily: That’s very, very kind, Stephen. I would argue that you guys keep it so interesting that it’s always, as an actor you can see other shows. I’m not going to name anything, but you could see how people could get bored after several years, but when I think about all the different things that I’ve been able to do on the show, it just keeps it so interesting. And between character dynamics, but also just working with snakes or working in the Everglades with an alligator right there and scuba diving into a tank in an aquarium and being weightless in the vomit comet at one point and tightrope walking and all the—
Stephen: You really have done a lot.
Emily: –the martial arts that I’ve done, I’m sure there’s something that’s going to happen and you’re like that’s awesome I get to do that now in my job. This is so fun.
Stephen: The show is easy for us to write tightrope walking. Emily has to do it.
Emily: I will give credit, I had a double who actually did tightrope walk high up, but I did get to learn how to do it lower to the ground, so that they could film me closer up actually tightrope walking, which was a lot of fun—you go to circus school for an hour or whatever, whatever time was permitted for me to do that and things like that are just a lot of fun. That’s why the writers are writers and they get to think of these amazing things and we just get to come to work and have so much fun doing them it’s really—
Stephen: You could bring back Circus of the Stars.
Emily: I don’t think I could do it now pregnant. My center of gravity is a little different.
Stephen: Your center of gravity is little off, but it makes it that much more interesting.
Emily: Yes, challenging.
I’m curious. I was going to ask a little bit about the pregnancy, but I’ll move us into a different direction. If there’s any new big bad or some sort of a recurring villain that we might be able to look forward to in addition to a lot of the emotional things that are going on for the rest of the season.
Stephen: Yes, we’re going to be dealing with more than one. We have an interesting new serial killer who appears and gets somewhat resolved in the second half of the season and is resolved when someone is on death row about to be executed. But at the very end someone resurfaces from beyond the grave and comes back to alter everybody’s life yet again. And I would imagine—
Emily: A ghost?
Stephen: No ghosts, but I would imagine people who have been committed to the show will know that our favorite serial killer was Pelant and although Pelant is in fact dead, Pelant himself does not resurface. The effects of Pelant’s life have not gone away.
Emily, I wanted to ask you doing this show for so long, it’s pretty impressive that you’ve been able to play Brennan in such a way that you’ve maintained how she’s been in Season 1 with her kind of standoffish and scientific talk and being very specific and yet over the years kind of opened up emotionally. So, I wanted to ask you as an actress how you’ve kind of done that, how you’ve accomplished that, how you kept her how she should be like yet have opened her up emotionally over the years?
Emily: Right, I think that’s one of the beautiful things about doing a television show for a long period of time, you really get to see people change slowly in a lot of ways. It’s something that even from the beginning Hart, who originally created the show, and I talked about from Season 1 about how the character would be changing and taking down the walls that she’s built up. I always looked at it as people change when somebody comes into their life that is important and meant to be there and a good match for you is that they help you be the best person you can be, not that Brennan wasn’t a best person, but she’s opened up emotionally over the period of time. So, I think that Booth has opened her up a lot or she’s opened herself up as a result of being involved with Booth in her life. It’s been a really lovely thing to explore this character in different ways and see how she is still her same self, but she is able to be more vulnerable and open. At the same time, she’ll say some things that are very kind of insensitive to people sometimes still and all of that, which is fun to play.
Stephen: We can’t have that go away. But anything we write Emily can do and it’s always remarkable to us, but the advantage of having a show go on for so long is that the changes that occur in the characters almost occur in real time as they do in life. Relationships between people in real life evolve slowly and incrementally and you become closer to those people through those changes. You go through it with them almost in real time.
When you go to a movie two hours somebody changes dramatically, you’re a bit outside of that story, but with a series with I think we’re on our episode 799 or something, you have felt the evolution of these characters. It seems natural, hopefully, if we have done our job properly, and the joy to us is seeing, honest to God there’s nothing we can’t throw Emily and David that they can’t work with and make better than we ever thought possible on the page.
Emily: I don’t think that’s true, but that’s very nice.
Stephen: No, no, it’s true I got the research back. We did some tests. We did tests. We got it from a medical lab said that you can make anything better than we write.
I was just wondering about Cyndi Lauper. How is she to work with and what went into casting her?
Emily: Cyndi, that’s like a dream come true… just growing up I’ve always been a huge fan of Cyndi Lauper, so she’s a dream to work with. She’s such an interesting, eccentric, lovely, talented person, so much fun and she does a good job as an actress as well. Obviously she’s an amazing singer, so we’re already fans of hers in that way and we loved having her on set. She brings such surprises; she’ll surprise you with choices she makes and just she’s so interesting to work with. She’s such a unique human being.
Stephen: I second that. She’s just fabulous to have around. She’s so much fun and it’s just such a wonderful character.
Emily: Very funny, too, she’s just a really funny person. She’s great. I’d have her all the time if we could have her.
Stephen: And she’s Cyndi Lauper!
Emily: And she’s Cyndi Lauper for God’s sake.
Stephen: Come on!
I was wondering one of the things I love best about Brennan is her skepticism and being an atheist and all that and I haven’t yet watched the upcoming episodes. Can you tell me does she still stay skeptical through the psychic episode? I hope.
Emily: Brennan is always skeptical.
Emily: She’s not going to start believing in God or things like that.
Stephen: Brennan is always looking—she’s always looking for a rational explanation for the inexplicable and will not be satisfied with the fact that there are things that we can’t ever understand. Her example would be they thought that about the eclipse, too, so I think she will be forever skeptical as any good scientist is.
So obviously you guys have had some amazing guest stars and you’ve already touched on Cyndi Lauper. I wonder if you could tell us a bit about other guest stars that you feel really excited to have on the show or that have been particularly fun with work with.
Emily: We have Linda Lavin coming up, which was a lot of fun to have on the show. She’s in—I don’t know what number episode or what the name is, but that was really great to have. She emailed me recently—she had a bone issue and she emailed me about it.
Stephen: That’s hilarious.
Emily: Yes. She sent me x-rays.
Stephen: Did she really?
Emily: She’s wonderful and Phyllis Logan, who I think has already aired, I can’t keep track. I can’t remember which one, but Phyllis Logan, I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan, so Mrs. Hughes—
Stephen: Yes, Linda was fun and also Ryan coming back to visit us frequently and Billy Gibbons, we’ve been very, very fortunate with guest stars.
In France we’ve only seen episode 1 and 2 of Season 10, so we just only met Agent Aubrey. What can you tell us about this new character and will he be the new partner for Booth?
Stephen: Well, he is going to be Booth’s new partner this year. Aubrey is a junior agent who Booth took under his wing and he’s just been a tremendous asset to the show. John Boyd who plays the character is just a fabulous wonderful actor and a terrific guy and he’s very different than anyone else we’ve had in that position because he’s un-intimidated by Booth. He’s respectful, but he’s not intimidated and he’s odd and he’s not—
Emily: He likes to eat a lot.
Stephen: Yes, he’s not apologetic about his eccentricities. Yes, and he does like to eat more than his fair share of whatever is in front of him.
I am personally I’m amazed because when we meet TV actors after like all these years all the times especially after ten years they would tell you it was great. Maybe it’s time to let it go. And when I met you again at the 200th episode when I asked you okay, so you think it’s time to let it go, you said of course not. I’m there. I hope it’s going to go on and go on. So can you really think about it, where does it come from all this joy and passion for this TV show?
Emily: I have to say with Stephen and all of the writers, they do a really wonderful job of keeping things interesting, changing dynamics of the characters, changing the characters with us and I love working with the actors. I love working with the writers. I love working with our crew. We have an amazing group of people. It feels like a family. We’ve worked together for ten years. There’s not weird—sometimes there are odd tensions and things like that on different TV shows. We don’t have that and David Boreanaz and I have always thought that it was very important to continue working on your acting and putting as much in to everything you’re doing as you can. Can I say that I always put everything I possibly can into things? Some days it’s really hard.
I’m not saying I’m so incredible that I’m always doing everything I can, but I think that in putting that investment into the show is important. Like I said they keep it interesting with such interesting plot twists and character developments and changes and different things to try, it really helps. I still love doing the show. It’s a really interesting character I love playing and I’m interested in continuing to see where—and it doesn’t feel like we’re at the end of the story yet. Maybe we will by the end of next season, if hopefully we do do another season, it’s not official, but I don’t know when that will be, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve ended.
Stephen: I just want to say that you will not be disappointed with the second half of this season. We’re going from death row to miniature golf to Tehran to yoga studios and I would strongly recommend you get a seat on the bus because it’s been a terrific year. We left off with the 200th episode. We’ve been gone for a long time, but we have been packing little surprises away in our little sack for you, and we’re really looking forward to the second half of this year and I can promise you won’t be disappointed.
Photos by Patrick McElhenny/Courtesy of FOX