BONES Scoopage Straight from Creator Hart Hanson - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Scoopage Straight from Creator Hart Hanson

October 31, 2008 by  


Hey, Bones lovers. It’s Seeleybaby here. Isn’t life interesting? One day I decide to watch an episode of Bones, and less than a year later, I’m participating in a conference call with the show creator, Hart Hanson. Yeah…I’m not complaining.

Well, there is a very, VERY exciting month of Bones episodes headed our way November 4th, 12th, 19th and 26th. Good, interesting cases, love triangles, sibling rivalry, and…gross disgusting dead bodies. Alrighty, then!

But the hardest part about being in the phone conference was that I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about what I was hearing. So I need to hear your thoughts!

So much to discuss (after the bump):

1. Possible return of Zack AND Gordon Gordon Wyatt!

2. Angela’s new love interest

3. Booth’s past and family

4. The revolving ‘grad students’

5. The “Moonlighting Curse” and more!

Here’s the transcript of the full call so you can enjoy the updates straight from the “Hanson’s” mouth.

Matt from TVGUIDE: Just wondering…Booth’s brother. Is that a card you’ve been wanting to play for awhile?

HH: Yeah, we were originally going to have Booth’s brother appear in the ill-fated season three, ill fated because of the writer’s strike. And we were looking forward to bringing Booth’s family more into the Bones season three, more toward the end of the season, but that was one of the decisions we made when we came back for such a short period of time we would let that play out better in season four. So yeah, we’re excited about it.

TVGUIDE: Now is Jared’s primary function to shed light on Booth’s murky background and just a side effect it might push Bones and Booth together finally?

HH: Yes, those two, and there’s a spark between Brennan and, you know, little brother Booth, sort of as way things go on Bones. Since she, in her own mind can’t have the older Booth, maybe this younger one is good. Turns out not to be true, but it gives us some fun with them. But mostly to shed some light on Booth, who is a guarded character, for all his affability, you don’t actually find out much about him, so it’s another way into that.

David from Hearst Newspaper:

I did an interview with Michaela a few days ago.

HH: Oh, good.

David: I thought I’d ask you, since you’ve been writing for her/working with her for several years now, what was it that made her stand out for you when you were casting the part, and does she still have the capacity to impress you as an actress today?

HH: Um, yes. The answer to part two is that I think, um, the first thing that appealed to me, and the rest of us, when we were casting was, her, she’s a very experience actress, she has great chops, but also, she is obviously extremely beautiful, but she’s also funny. She has a lot of range. We were looking initially for that ‘best friend’ who could be a sympathetic ear, and she’s got that in spades, that mainly warm side to her. We have found out that she is funnier than we thought as well, and not only has she still got what we were looking for in the first place, but now that we sort of, for the time being at least, have split her from Hodgins, she gets to be a little bit more of the free spirit, bohemian, that we were after in the first place. And she’s just even better at it. It’s funny you ask that, because in the last four episodes, in post, we’ve just been saying ‘wow, look at Michaela, look at Michaela go’, she’s just…I think she’s really come into her own in the fourth season.

David: Well, then what motivated you to give her an ex-girlfriend? Was it some kind of male fantasy on your part?

HH: (laughs, kind of): It could be that, couldn’t it? Hey, you get to watch Michaela kiss another really beautiful woman; that’s not the worst thing in the world. But…I don’t think that’s why we did it. We did it to…you want to shake up a series every once in awhile and remind people that anything can happen. We wanted to go back, a series of events happened, where she broke up with Hodgins, we met her ex-husband, she’s the daughter, she’s the offspring of a rock star, we just wanted to give a little jolt to the Michaela character, to the Angela character, to ‘reset’ that anything can go anywhere. It works quite well. The actress who is playing her ex-girlfriend, perhaps girlfriend in the future, is Nichole Hiltz, who is very funny, and very warm, and also if we do this right, and you’ll let us know, it’s not played very prurient. It’s pretty matter of fact. This is who she is, this is who she was for awhile, and who she could be again. It’s just tossing that salad a little bit.

Daniel from

Could you talk a little bit about what the revolving Zack replacements has done for you guys in the writer’s room this year? And how long you think you can play out that gambit?

HH: Well, you know…great question. It has been really fun for us, not withstanding everybody’s deep affection for Eric Millegan, and Zack. What it has done for us is we’ve gotten to invent a series of characters that make more stuff happen at the lab. Kind of give B stories to the B stories. To get some character and humor out of the lab. We found this growth of people; we’ve found actors that have just been delightful, it’s been amazing to me how good these people have been at coming in and integrating into kind of a revolving door. Initially, I thought, ‘oh, we’ll look at four to six people’, and pick someone who is great, and have them come in, but now we have a couple more ideas, now, that we’d like to pursue, with these grad students, and it’s no longer a case, at least in my mind of finding someone to replace Zack, but as you say, figuring out how long we can do this, how long it serves the show. Frankly, the biggest problem now is that some of these people are very good. We could lose them if we don’t book them as recurring characters. And so it’s a little scary. They’re very good, and people are going to see them and snap them up for pilots and things. But I think we’ll do this for awhile. I can’t say right now how long it will go on, but I think it will go on for awhile.

Daniel: Is there a danger to it becoming a sort of Murphy Brown secretary kind of thing, where even the writers are tired of it after awhile.

HH: Yeah, absolutely, and I think what we would do is, I mean, Murphy Brown did it every single week, and it was kind of a gag that they pursued. We’re actually not interested in having an infinite number, for example, a couple of times, very interesting casting ideas have come to me as to whom we might have come in as an intern, but no character suggests itself. They each have to be different. It can’t just be someone with a quirk each week. I think that would become very tiresome, but as long as we’re interested in looking at each one of these people as characters, then it will work for us, and hopefully, not become a gag that will annoy people. Um, there’s a lot of people watching, I don’t just mean audience, we will start to hear network studio, writers, directors, the other actors, when that feels old, and hopefully, it will be before the curve. But right now, it feels like something that everyone is into and interested by.

Daniel: Let me put you on the spot quickly…if you had to guess, where do you think you guys are airing, come January.

HH: OH! You know, I am NOT withholding any opinion from you at all and I can tell you I have no idea. Um, I don’t know what their plans are. I know anything is possible. I think not Friday. I’m pretty confident we won’t be on Friday. But I don’t know what they are going to do with Idol. I don’t know what they are going to do with Dollhouse, your guess is a good as mine. For awhile I thought Mondays, for awhile I thought, oh, my God, maybe they’ll, which I’d love, pair us with House on whichever night Idol isn’t on. But I don’t even know. I don’t think anyone does. They do at the network, when Idol is coming on, and that of course, will change everything.

Richard from TVSquad:

(makes a joke about the return of Bones in December after the World Series is finally over. Ha)

Let’s go back to the interns, actually. I see that Clark (Edison) is coming back for an episode. Is there any chance that Michael Badalucco will be coming back? He personally was my favorite intern.

HH: Oh, wasn’t he great? Yes, we’d like to have him back. He is on the list of people we would like to have back. He’s really fun. Every once in awhile, the feeling you get from the network, although they are pretty good about not jamming it down your throat, is they want youth. And then every once in awhile you get someone like Michael or Stephen Fry and it just turns everyone on their heads. And yes, we’d like to have him back. It’s a great character to have. The ‘ultimate dad’- the middle aged man who actually does know everything- that could be my own bias, there, as a middle aged man, but yes, we’d love to have him back.

Joshua from Niagara Frontier Publications: Speaking of Zack, it seems like you definitely left the door open for him to return. I’m just wondering, what are your plans for Zack for the rest of the season?

HH: Well, I don’t want to say too much about it. We’re not done with Zack. Zack is a fun character. And we left a big hanging chad with Sweets. Sweets knows that Zack didn’t do what he is thought to have done. And he (Sweets) has an ethical problem in how to deal with that. And we will deal with that. And that will be an ideal episode in which to have Millegan come back again and play Zack again. Also, I think it’s okay for me to say that I’m looking into Stephen Fry’s availability because I think he would be the ideal person to help Sweets figure out how to deal with that. But, Zack is still in our minds. His name is hanging up there on the boards in the writer’s rooms, as to what cases he would be useful in and he could organically fit into. And it’s funny how things come up. We realized when Zack wasn’t there that he and Hodgins are pretty good friends. They were a pretty good friendship, and ‘odd couple’ friendship on tv, that you miss, so there’s those things that mitigate toward Zack coming back.

April from Monsters and Critics:

This question dips into your crew and the craftspeople on the show. It’s such amazing hard work. I really notice it on the look of the show. And I was curious to know if you were ever tempted to have Caleb Deschanel was ever available to be a DP on one of your shows, or even direct.

HH: He has directed one show. And he was booked for another. First of all, thank you so much for asking about our crew. The show looks great. The show really looks wonderful and we are not one of the highest budgets on television, and we look as good as anything else. The difference in budget between us, and say, Fringe, is dramatic. And it’s because of the crew that we’ve amassed over the last three years. They are amazing. I am constantly astounded by the vigor and creativity of our crew. They have a lot of elements too. I hope it is kind of seamless to the audience, but there is a lot of elements in the show that have to be perfect. Just scheduling our show, because of the dead bodies, the dead bodies have to be made, that’s a real skill. And so they’re not available toward the beginning of our shoot, they’re available more toward the end. We’re constantly in shackles as to when we can shoot; we don’t have a lot of flexibility. The crew does an amazing job, and I think people don’t realize how amazing they are, because it just looks like good TV. But it is amazing. Thank you for asking that.

Um, we did ask Caleb Deschanel to direct the show. He did, once. It was the Glowing Bones episode, back in season two. He got bumped, during the strike. We are looking to get everyone who was bumped during the strike back on the show again. It was a lot of fun to have him around, and a lot of for our DP, Gordon Lonsdale. He was so happy to have Caleb Deschanel there. And he was so pleased that Caleb respected his work.

April: Follow up… What shop do you use? Who does the prosthetic body work.

HH: The bodies are done by the Yahgers, Chris and Kevin, who have been with us, oh boy, right from the beginning. I think we got them because Barry Josephson knew them from feature film world. They are amazing. They are also the sweetest, most innocent looking guys. They look like nice college boys, and they bring us the most horrific things. And our bodies are amazing. Really, last year, I told the story last year, we had a severed head, that they made to look just like the actress. And to be funny, I leaned over to pretend I was going to kiss the severed head, just to be funny, not that funny, and it made me barf a little. They are very, very good.

April: Thanks, and a shout out to your art department.

HH; Thanks. I’m going to tell them you said that.

Jim from ‘something’ (sorry, Jim): With Booth’s brother and Brennan’s father coming in, everytime we get a nugget of Booth’s past, or the Bones and Booth relationship, people seem to go crazy. How do you keep that from snowballing? How do you keep a rein on that, because isn’t there just a part of you that wants to kind of just blow it all out?

HH: Oh yeah! That whole…that whole dynamic is the trickiest thing about Bones (the show). And I guess the easiest way to say it is that you’re torn between the case and the characters. And if one or the other takes over, I mean, we cannot become a, just a soft soap opera, character based, and we can’t become a procedural, so you know, to varying degrees of success, I think, we bang back and forth between the riverbanks. It’s discussed at every single story, every outline, every draft, and when I’m doing my final pass on the draft, it’s always the thing that’s in my mind. And it’s on a per scene basis too, where it’s like ‘should we laugh in this scene or find out that it was a bronze bullet that killed this person’. It is the pain in the ass that is Bones. It’s there all the time.

Lynn from In August, I did an interview with your writing team, and at the time, they gave me a scoop that still hasn’t come to pass. They said, quote ‘Brennan would like Booth to be the father of her child’.

HH: That’s true. That’s true.

Lynn: Is it still in the works?

HH: That is still in the works. It’s exactly like the previous question. What case can we be in that resonates with Brennan suddenly deciding she wants to have a child, and that Booth would be the perfect father for it. And that has not come up yet. It will before the end of the season. There’s one that’s horribly obvious, but we don’t want to do that, we try not to do that in BONES, it concerns a group of you know, a little bit ripped from the headlines, a group of girls who decide to have children, I think it was Gloucester, MA, that actually happened in, 16 girls or something, so we’re doing our take on that, but that was just a little too on the nose for us. So it was in there for a bit, and then it’s come out, but it will happen.

Lynn: A lot of people have said that we don’t want to get Booth and Bones together because it would be the repeat of the Moonlighting debacle. What if we were to approach them as a Nick and Nora?

HH laughs: You know, we, around here, we’re very flattered, but the Moonlighting reference, but we actually look at it as the Nick and Nora thing. But of course, they’re not ‘together’ in that way, but very much of their relationship is seasoned. They have kind of a seasoned relationship. The fact is there’s a great engine, a great energy, that comes from two people who are not together, and people want them to be together romantically. When you take that engine away, you’d better have something else there to provide fuel. You can say it is, to grossly simplify, I hope, the scientist vs the humanist, but we have that and the, a relationship that is not brought to fruition. We have to have, again, when we make that change, we have to have the next thing between them, in place. And there’s a whole bunch of things we DON’T want it to be, and a couple of things that might work, but you know, we’re just going to be very certain of our decision to do that, because it’s a dangerous one.

Lynn remarks, how about a baby…just a thought..haha

HH: I read your site, I see that stuff.

Suzanne from the TV mega site?: talks about how she loves the show, and she started watching because of DB, but now she loves the show for itself. HH agrees, and says that is pretty common.

Suzanne: RE: the description of the November 12th episode talks about Brennan learning some stuff about Booth from his brother, and you’ve also mentioned that we get to meet his grandfather. I was wondering if you could tell us anything about what we might learn about Booth.

HH: Well, what we find out, I think it’s okay to say that what we find out in the NOV 12th episode is that Booth’s childhood was very tough. It was very tough, and it’s hard even for him to say it, or admit it. And the story with Jared makes them both confront what happened in their past. I think it’s also fair to say that Booth’s relationship with his dad is not good, but he has a very good relationship with his grandfather. And we always had in mind, since David is so much, in our mind, like James Garner, that that would be a very cool piece of casting, as his grandfather. But, I don’t yet know when we are going to see Booth’s grandfather. It will be this season. We’re coming into the last third, where we are, so it will be in the last third of the season, if all goes well. I will tell you we see Booth’s apartment, and there’s a wreckage, or part of the wreckage of Booth’s grandfather’s jet; he was a jet fighter, as kind of an homage to his grandfather.

Me (officially with Hi, There has been some discussion on GMMR, and on the BY, and some annoyance that FOX is changing the order of the episodes. What is your reaction to that, and what can fans do to keep that from happening and keep the consistency of the plotlines going.

HH: It’s a…you know, God Bless the Boneyard people. Those people watch with a detailed eye. We knew this was going to happen. So I have to give credit to the network for warning us, that this would happen. But it’s awful for us in a way. So what we had to do were four episodes that we call them around here, we call them the Limbo episodes, that were shot before the England episodes, but they had to air after, but not in any particular order. And not in the order with things we were shooting in new. Is that confusing enough for everyone? So kind of ‘time of series’ stood still for everyone, which is very hard for us, for the actors, and obviously noticeable to the audience. I think it’s a one-time thing. Because, again, it was trying to get as many episodes, out, the network wanted as many episodes as they could, after the strike. And not knowing when…we were actually shooting before we knew when we were going on the air, or if we were going to England, and what was going to air in season three and what was going to air in season four. So it was just a complicated dog’s breakfast, as mismatch of horror, and we’re almost through. We’re almost through. Done showing things out of their proper order. It happens all the time, by the way, the network will decide they like one episode better than another, and put it where they want. Last year, the worst example, I think was for awhile, they wanted to show our Christmas episode in February, and that was upsetting, but they went back on it, so they are doing the best they can, and I’m delighted that you noticed, by the way, but I don’t think it’s always going to be like that, but that’s a large number of episodes to be shown, written, shot and shown out of any order.

Me: That makes sense, and that was a good answer. Thank you very much.

HH: It went on a bit. It could have been edited.

Me: That’s our job.

HH: laughs, Yeah! Thank you! (In Vancouver…he and HH share some good Canada love)

Wondered if you could talk about casting Brendan for Jared. Why he was right for the role.

HH: Well, it was one of those things, it is so hard to find somebody who is in fact a leading man caliber who isn’t on a show. And we needed somebody we thought the character of Booth could care about deeply, but who had a dark side, and bore at least some physical resemblance to him. I said when we were doing it, ‘Oh, that’s it. I’m never doing any more family members, it’s too difficult’. And then walks in Brendan, who I knew from Roswell, and he’s also a nice Canadian boy, and he has grown up nicely. He’s got some wisdom on his face. Some experience on his face. And he’s a very good actor. And it didn’t hurt a bit that he and David have had conflicts on the ice. They both play hockey in the league. So they’ve had conflict on the ice that comes into their relationship in the show, and he just knocked it out. He came in, and I think it was two days before we were shooting, and we had to change some airdates because we just weren’t going to go with somebody who wasn’t right, and he was very good, very impressive to us.

Deadbolt: One more thing. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of the body in the passenger episode? Was that ripped from the headlines or anything?

HH: Oh yeah, in the airplane? That…the story of solving a crime, that’s a great question, solving a crime on a flight, where Brennan and Booth had to solve a crime on a flight before it landed, has been pitched every year. It’s something we wanted to do. And I think that it was our co-executive producer, who had the idea of cooking the body in a giant microwave, so it would be within Brennan’s field of expertise, finally gave us the way into the story. We just had failed, five or six times to make that story work. She came up with that, and the story fell into place. I have to give her credit for that.

Zack with TWOP:

Question, something about the December 3rd Episode: Is Double Trouble in the Panhandle where Booth and Brennan go undercover as a knife thrower and his assistant?

HH: That is correct, as ridiculous as it sounds.

Zack: It sounds like a fantastically hilarious episode. Is it more funny than the normal episodes?

HH: it is more funny than the average episode. And oddly, because it’s more funny, it’s more touching, for them. Andy Richter is in that as the ringmaster, and he is an incredibly good actor, so it’s one of those situations where we went for, you know, every once in a while, we do a …we go toward the comedy of our show, and the fun, and David and Emily are so willing to go there. In fact, they push for it constantly, and it was very funny, because in the end, I have to admit, it was more touching than I had foreseen. And it does sound like a whackadoodle, and it is one of our odder ones, but I hope the audience goes with us as to why they would go undercover in a circus. And it is one of my favorite episodes.

HH: Thank you so much, everyone, for your interest in BONES, I really appreciate it.

— posted by Seelebaby

Filed under Bones


4 Responses to “BONES Scoopage Straight from Creator Hart Hanson”

  1. bubblewrap on October 31st, 2008 4:23 pm

    I can’t wait for the show to come back next week! And thanks for all the insight- it sounds like there are some great episodes coming up soon- I’m particularly looking forward to the December 3rd episode

  2. Poetic_line on October 31st, 2008 8:25 pm

    I am so excited about the new episodes. I am dying for the romantic hookup of Booth and Bones.

    I can understand the hesitation by HH but love conquers all, doesn’t it? I have faith in the writers. They can make it work.

    Otherwise, I’ll probably continue to have chest pains between the laughter until the romance heats up. I do love this show and David and Emily and all the rest of the cast.

  3. Fred is My Homegirl on November 3rd, 2008 10:08 am

    I think Hart’s longest answer was to your question – you can really tell the episode switcheroos bother him like they do us. I imagine it’s really frustrating for the writers, who subtletly build things off each episode. I mean, how would an author feel if the publisher was like, I feel like putting chapter 15 as the first chapter, chapter 1 as chapter 12…etc.
    You made him laugh too.
    You’re my hero

  4. Donna Pandolfino on November 15th, 2008 12:57 am

    Bring Zack back. Bring Zack back! BRING ZACK BACK!…I love this show…but I miss, Miss, MISS seeing Eric Millegan as a regular in the cast…PLUEEEEZEEEEE…bring ‘im back!

    Oh, and BTW….Michaela’s story line complete with ex-girlfriends is a total hoot…and very hot. Good for Angela and Michaela. Good for the writers….

    just don’t forget the Zack…

    Long Live Bones!!