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Interview with Hart Hanson of "Bones"
on FOX 4/18/11.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I
was not able to make this call. I have spoken with Mr. Hanson before,
and he is very nice. I follow him on Twitter as well. He gave us lots of
good information here. I always love this show! It keeps getting better
FBC PUBLICITY: The Bones Conference Call with Hart
April 18, 2011/12:30 p.m. PDT
Kim Kurland – FBC Publicity
Hart Hanson – Executive Producer / Creator, Bones
Moderator Welcome to the Bones Conference call with Hart Hanson. I would
now like to turn the conference over to Kim Kurland.
K. Kurland I just wanted to thank everyone for participating in this
call today with Hart. As everyone knows, we have an episode airing on
Thursday called Finder with special guest stars Geoff Stults, Michael
Clarke Duncan, and Saffron Burrows. He will answer your questions about
that. Then, Paul, I think you can give your Q&A instructions, but if
anyone has anything beyond that or anything to follow up on feel free to
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moderator We’ll go first to the line of Matt Mitovich with TVLine.com.
M. Mitovich I’m looking at the title of the finale, “The Change in the
Game,” and I know there’s been some speculation that we’re finally going
to maybe take a big step forward with Booth and Brennan, but also see a
very bowling heavy storyline, and forgive me, bowling is not terribly
H. Hanson Wait until you see the way we do it.
M. Mitovich So what exactly is “The Change in the Game”? Well, not
exactly but what can you say about it?
H. Hanson The last two episodes of this season I think are going to run
the whole gamut of tone that Bones does from, I’m going to say A to Zed,
but I better say A to Z. A lot happens in those last two episodes, and I
think the title of the season finale, “The Change in the Game,” is about
as much as I want to say about it in any kind of detail. I just think
it’s going to be one of those shows that the Bones audience will talk
about and enjoy hugely. If anyone feels there’s an anticlimax to it,
then I totally failed in my job.
Moderator We have a question from Marisa Roffman with GiveMeMyRemote.com.
M. Roffman Because we just talked about the finale a little bit,
obviously one of the points of the season has been Booth’s emotional
journey, his dealing with the breakup and the anger, and it seemed like
there was a bit where he was kind of blaming all of the relationship
fails on everyone but himself. Is there going to be a point before the
end of the season where he kind of looks at himself and sees what he
might have done wrong in those past relationships?
H. Hanson If that moment happens to him then it happens in a flash of
light. How’s that? That’s about all I’m willing to say about it.
M. Roffman Oh.
H. Hanson Sorry for your disappointment. I’ll tell you this—we’ve been
building all year to something. I would hate to say what it was, but
we’ve been building all year and I’d hate to cheat the audience in any
way out of the experience that we’ve worked really hard to get them to.
That is in there.
M. Roffman Just as a quick follow up then, obviously the show has done a
lot of controversial finales and the title “The Change in the Game”
could be quite controversial if you don’t take that next step I would
imagine for some fans. Is there any concern on the writer’s part of uh
oh what if we kind of set the fans up for a step we’re not quite ready
H. Hanson Oh, I wouldn’t answer that in a million years, Marisa. Go
ahead and watch and then you can tell me afterwards what you think.
Moderator We have a question from Jim Halterman with JimHalterman.com.
J. Halterman Talk to me about the spin-off, and I know it’s based on
source material but what is that grabbed you that you wanted to make
another series about it?
H. Hanson Spin-off has always been a troublesome term to me. It’s more
like we did a crossover with a series that doesn’t exist yet and that we
hope it does come to exist. I have an overall deal at 20th. I either
write or work on a pilot each year, it’s part of my deal. This year I
was kind of laying low in a way and then Lisa Katz at 20th gave me The
Locator novel called The Knowland Retribution by Richard Greener and it
is such a good idea, a simple, clear good idea for a network series. A
guy who can find anything—find people or things. There’s a line that I
put in the Finder crossover/pilot episode where Walter says to Brennan,
“It’s amazing how many times people ask me to find something and the
real treasure is something else altogether.”
Good stories are generated by people after a tangible thing or outcome,
and then if what they really want or their desires are at odds with that
then you get a good story. It seemed to me that doing a series based on
a guy who could find things, both tangible and intangible, for people
would be a really good idea for a series. It just generates so many
Then—is this a longer answer then you wanted?—the idea that being a
crossover really appealed to me because last year when I went to do a
pilot I was away from Bones for weeks and weeks and this being a Bones
episode meant I didn’t have to leave home. That I could keep an eye on
getting through the end of the season on Bones while doing this spin-off
at the same time, so it just all came together. It’s a really good
financial model for the studio and the network. It just seemed like a
good thing to try. It turned out quite well and I have great hopes for
J. Halterman Talk about casting Geoff Stults and what did he bring to
the role that maybe another actor didn’t have that made you choose him.
H. Hanson Well, casting the Finder was hilarious. I mean the part played
by Michael Clarke Duncan was originally written for an old, skinny white
man, and instead we got Michael Clarke Duncan who is none of those
things, and Geoff—the role of Walter Sherman was a bit darker. He had
some brain damage in Iraq and had a darker side, and then this man came
in—Geoff Stults came in to talk to us and read the part and he was just
really funny. He feels to me like some—if we don’t make him a star on
Finder somebody else is going to grab this guy and make him a star.
I feel like it was akin to how they must have felt when they saw Tom
Selleck walk in the first time. A big handsome guy who’s very funny and
doesn’t seem to be at all vain about his looks and it really turned out.
Then the three of them—Saffron Burrows is in it as well—have a great
chemistry. It feels like a show to me but we did make some shifts as we
casted, which you always have to do, but it was a delightful shift, this
one, not ones that curtailed the project.
Moderator Question from Laurel Brown with BuddyTV.
L. Brown You were talking about it being a crossover with the Finder
series that may or may not exist and how much of the episode do you see
as a Finder episode and how much of it is a Bones episode, and which
characters are we going to be focusing on the most?
H. Hanson Well, my worry if that the Bones’ fans will feel away from
their Bones’ people more than they would be comfortable unless these
guys charm them instantly, which I hope happens. The only character from
Bones who doesn’t appear in it to work with Walter and Ike and Leo is
Sweets. Everyone else is in it and interacts with him. So I hope we’re
not away too much but at the same time, we had to make an episode that
showed what these other characters can do and show them together enough
that we would see what a series with them would look like. So it’s quite
an experiment. It’s a really good question. I guess we’ll know Friday
morning how the Bones’ fans took to Walter, Ike and Leo.
L. Brown To go back to Bones, if you could crossover Bones with any
other show other than Finder and when you did Family Guy back a couple
of seasons ago, what show would you want to crossover Bones with?
H. Hanson Oh, I think it would go really well with Treme, don’t you?
(Silence) Okay, not really. I guess I would like to do a crossover with
my pal David Shore’s show House because it’s already on the right
network although we’re different studios. I think there are a number of
shows that would be really fun to do crossovers with, but I always
thought a Fringe/Bones crossover could be a lot of fun too. I don’t know
how we’d do it. I think what we’d probably do is start with a crime or a
theme of some sort and then go off in two directions, but I’ve always
liked that idea.
Moderator We have a question from Alice Chapman-Nugent with The Times
A. Chapman-Nugent What do you find is the most gratifying working on
Bones each season?
H. Hanson Oh, there’s a lot of things. The Bones’ cast and crew are like
a theater company. We really enjoy each other. It was really fun to have
some outsiders come on to Bones for Finder and react to our cast and
crew. It was very gratifying to see people from the outside recognize
what it’s like to work on Bones. These are great people. I think as long
as people keep murdering people we’ll have stories, and the chemistry
between all the actors on Bones allows us to go in many, many
Bones is fun to work on. It’s a fun—I keep saying the word fun but it
is. Of all the shows I’ve ever worked on Bones is gratifying and fun to
work on, and it gives us a wide variety, wide range of tones that we can
do. We can make you cry. We can be odd. We can make you laugh and maybe
throw up a little bit and that’s a lot of fun to work on for all of us.
Moderator We have a question from Richard McClure with TV & Satellite
R. McClure I was just wondering how are you going to incorporate Emily’s
pregnancy into the series. I mean I’d like to see Brennan have a one
night stand with Stephen Fry’s character personally.
H. Hanson Who wouldn’t want to see that?
R. McClure Will it be difficult? Will she be covering up a bump or will
this be the game changing thing at the end of the series?
H. Hanson Well, those are big Season Seven questions, and I don’t want
to obstinate too much but we have a lot of decisions to make as we move
forward into Season Seven. Season Seven would probably be a curtailed
season in some respects. We don’t know how much yet. We have a lot of
things to figure out about how to deal with Emily’s pregnancy, never
mind anything we decide to do with Brennan and there are an infinite
number of ways we could deal with the pregnancy. We can hide it. We can
not hide it.
We have a plan right now. I’m going to be stubborn about saying what our
plan is going into Season Seven. We’re shooting the final episode of
Season Six right now and we’ve had no cause to show or hide much of
Emily. She’s not showing all that much yet. That will happen soon but if
I told you how we were going to proceed into Season Seven, it would give
you too much information on how we intend to get out of Season Six. Good
effort though and I love the Stephen Fry idea beyond all.
Moderator We have a question from Jenny Rarden from TVIsMyPacifier.com
J. Rarden I have two Angela and Hodgins baby questions to take the call
in a different direction. How will having a baby affect like the working
schedule of Angela and Hodgins or will the baby just become a member of
the lab too?
H. Hanson Well, the person question that’s most concerned about this is
Michaela saying, “Does this mean I’m staying home or anything,” and it’s
like as far as that baby goes it becomes—he or she because I don’t want
to give away to much—folds into the family. I think the Jeffersonian
probably has top notch daycare and it will become another source of
stories but I don’t expect it to diminish Michaela’s/Angela’s
participation in the show one jot, although we would like to show that
it’s not nothing to have a baby in your life. It changes your life to
have a baby; anyone who’s had a baby knows, and so we will make that
part of the story telling but we don’t want to in any way diminish one
of our most important character’s role in the show. Did that answer your
J. Rarden It did actually, yes, and then another baby question. Did you
always plan to have baby Hodgela have something wrong with it medically,
and how is that going to affect not only the parents but the rest of the
team at the Jeffersonian?
H. Hanson Well, we always wanted—I always think of Angela and Hodgins as
just the greatest couple in the world. They don’t have very many
internal problems so they have to go through obstacles that come at them
from the outside and watch them deal with it. As things stand now in our
Bones show, the baby has a 75% chance of being born fine—with the sight
absolutely fine—and a 25% chance of being born blind. We just want to
see how that looks to Hodgins and Angela, and I think it’s alright to
say that the season ender has a lot to do with the birth of Angela and
Hodgins’ baby. We’ll find out then how they are going to proceed in
their lives as a family.
Moderator We have a question from Matt Mitovich from TVLine.com.
M. Mitovich Hart, I was curious if the Finder does get picked up, what
sort of additional characters or cast members do you anticipate adding
to the mix.
H. Hanson Aside from the three central, the other main character will be
Isabelle who is attached probably to the Miami FBI. It could be Miami
field office of the FBI or the Miami Dade Police Force. She is Walter’s
main squeeze on and off. I’d like to really avoid doing another “will
they or won’t they” series. It’s more emotional than romantic. This is
his law enforcement connection with whom he sometimes has an on again /
off again affair. Those would be the four main recurring characters
right off the bat. It’s also possible that we need someone else in the
Ends of the Earth Bar where Ike runs the bar to help her there although
that would be down the line.
M. Mitovich You mentioned how Emily’s pregnancy might result in a
“curtailed” Season Seven. Do you mean it might start later? There might
be fewer episodes; Emily might be in fewer episodes? What were you
getting at there?
H. Hanson All of the above. We’re still contending with the effects of
Emily’s pregnancy on the show. For example, one possibility would have
been for us, if we had enough scripts in the pipeline, to keep going
through this summer instead of taking a hiatus and then take the hiatus
when Emily was unable to work and have her baby. We don’t have any
scripts in the pipeline because we haven’t been picked up for Season
Seven, but there’s any number of range of possibilities as to what we
would do. Do we do shows without Emily? Do we simply shutdown when
Emily’s not available and thus do 16 or 18 episodes or do we do a few
episodes without her? These are all choices that we have to make.
I’m ready to pitch a bunch of alternatives to the network but of course,
we haven’t had those conversations yet. We’ve had creative conversations
on how to get out of Season Six but we haven’t had any creative
conversations or production conversations with the network about how to
get in to Season Seven. We of course have had multiple production
conversations with the studio but in the end, the network will weigh in
heavily on—for example, were we to do four episodes without Emily, is
the network interested in that for Bones or does their testing show that
that would hurt the show? Those are all conversations we haven’t had yet
that I just have to be ready for any one of those contingencies, what
the Bones show will look like in Season Seven.
Moderator We have a question from Leslie Goldberg with Hollywood
L. Goldberg We obviously haven’t heard about the renewal yet. What’s the
latest with that status and what’s going on with your deal with 20th?
H. Hanson It’s just business stuff. It’s just a license fee negotiation.
They are talking like crazy over there, I know. In 2009, it wasn’t
settled until the weekend before Upfronts, so I imagine this could be
anywhere between now and May 15th we’ll come to a deal. I’m very
confident that we will, in fact, come to a deal but there’s all sorts of
hoops and hurdles to jump through and over.
L. Goldberg Would there be any option for a truncated season?
H. Hanson Those are part of the negotiations as everyone tries to figure
out what exactly it will look like. Are we going to make 16? Are we
going to make 18? Are we going to make 22? I guess those are all the
models they’re going through, although far be it for me to say how that
affects the license fee negotiations. We’re kind of used to that over
here right now because House is in the same—well, not quite the same
place but in a very similar place to us.
Moderator Question from Christine Peterson with TheVoiceofTV.com.
C. Peterson I have a question about whether or not there’s a chance of
the cast going to Comic-Con.
H. Hanson I think so. I have not heard details. Kim might be able to
tell you more. To be honest around here we look like the walking dead
getting through our 23rd episode including the spin-off. There will be a
presence I’m sure at Comic-Con. I just don’t know what it will look like
yet. I don’t know where—traditionally David and Emily go. I don’t know
if Emily will go this year or not. She understands how important
Comic-Con is but I can’t speak for her. We have not had a lot of
conversations about it.
K. Kurland Paul, we have time for one more question.
Moderator We’ll go to the line of Joe Hummel with PopCultureMadness.
J. Hummel I wanted to ask how you approach a season. I guess the first
step is how do I want the characters to develop, and the other part is
how do you come up with the individual episodes, the little puzzle
pieces, that make that season complete?
H. Hanson Well, you’re right the first thing we do is sketch out where
each of our main characters are going, what their arc is for the season
and sort of lay those out. Then, we start coming up with arenas … have a
very good story room. Carla Kettner runs the story room upstairs
directly over my head—I can hear them pounding their feet every once and
What they do is they come up with arenas, areas. One of the good
examples in the last year was the Jersey Shore episode, which I have
turned down every single time it’s come up. I’ve always said, “Look if
you can come up with a story that makes sense of it I’ll accept it,” but
mostly I say yes or no to arenas. Then they come back with a story that
fits into the arena—like who the victim is, who the murder was, and who
the suspects are and what the stakes are in that world.
Then, we go back and forth and back and forth and I say yes or no to
various things. It culminates in a writer who eventually gets that
story—because at the beginning it’s everybody—will pitch the six act
structure, and then we torture them more and then we go to outline and
then everyone tortures us once there’s an outline. There’s studio and
network chip in on it and generally we— I mean I’m working on double
golden rods right now on the season finale. We just keep changing things
and trying to improve them before we’re finished shooting it.
K. Kurland I think we can wrap up there, Paul.
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude your conference for
today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive
Teleconference. You may now disconnect.
H. Hanson Thank you.
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