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By Suzanne

Stephen Nathan

Interview with Stephen Nathan of "Bones" on FOX 9/30/14

This was a very enjoyable call. I love "Bones", and they sure do a great job with it. I was a little upset at this point because they'd just killed off Sweets, but I stayed professional with my questions.... I had hoped to ask him whether they would bring back Zack or not this season! That would almost make it worth losing Sweets. Almost!

Final Transcript
FBC Publicity: Bones Conference Call
September 30, 2014/10:00 a.m. PDT


Kim Kurland
Stephen Nathan


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Bones conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode and we will be conducting a question and answer session shortly. (Operator instructions.)

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Kim Kurland.

Kim: Hello, everyone, this is Kim Kurland with Fox. Iíd just wanted to thank you all for participating today. Hopefully everyone has seen our season premiere episode of Bones and weíre very excited for people to tune in this coming Thursday for the follow-up to that episode and Stephen will give you more about that on this call. So, Dan, I think we can take our first question.

Moderator: All right, our first question comes from Meredith Jacobs with Please go ahead.

Meredith: Good morning, thanks for taking the time to do this call.

Stephen: Hello, Meredith. How are you doing?

Meredith: Good, how are you?

Stephen: Good, thanks.

Meredith: So can you talk about having Booth and Brennan with Sweets when he died?

Stephen: The entire situation for us was very, very painful and we tried to treat it with as much respect and truth as we possibly could and really focus in on what was going to be the best for the show and most emotionally truthful for the characters. And it seemed that Sweets and Booth and Brennan had grown so close over the past three or four years especially that it seemed as if they were the people who should be there when he died. And it was also a very complicated situation because Booth was having a huge crisis himself and also Booth and Brennan as a couple with Booth coming out of prison; and it really was a testament to Sweets and to kind of the nobility of the character really that his last words were about Booth and Brennan. His last words were of concern for his friend, not in any way thinking of himself. He was concerned for Daisy and at that moment concerned for Booth, that Booth didnít lose faith, that Booth didnít lose hope in the world and that the world actually was a good place, even as he was dying.

I think it really encapsulated Sweets as a character as well as Sweetsí relationship to Booth and Brennan. And as I say it was very painful for us to lose John and to lose this character of Sweets, but this is what happens not only on a television show, but it happens in life. You get thrown a curve ball, you donít know whatís happening the next moment in anybodyís life and you just have to pick up and move on and try to learn from the experience and make the best of it and hopefully make everyoneís life a little bit richer and better for it.

That was really a long, long answer. Iím sorry.

Meredith: All right. And then when it came to [indiscernible] the funeral scene in the next episode, what did you want to make sure you did with it?

Stephen: Iím sorry?

Meredith: What did you want to make sure you did with the funeral scene in this weekís episode?

Stephen: Really this is a two parter in a very classic way, not only for the primary plot with the conspiracy, but more than that a two parter dealing with one of our most beloved characters leaving our family. So we wanted to send him off in a way that honored his memory and showed how much our characters have changed, grown because of their contact with Sweets, so we really wanted to show that and show what this family is made of and how they pulled together in the most horrible of circumstances and get through.

Meredith: All right, great, thank you.

Moderator: Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby with Please go ahead.

Stephen: Hello, Jamie, how are you doing?

Jamie: Good, how are you?

Stephen: Good, thanks.

Jamie: Great to talk to you again. I have to say I was really upset. I like Sweets. I know a lot of people do, but Iím sure the rest of the show will still be great. I want to know if you can talk about the 200th episode and anything that you have planned for that.

Stephen: Iím going to be very, very vague and circumspect. It will be an episode unlike any weíve ever done before. Weíre going to have as many people who have crossed our paths as we possibly can. There are limitations to that of course, some limitations that we canít possibly get around. But we wanted to give a little gift to the fans, to the people who have watched Bones for ten years or even three or five or six, give them a little gift showing our characters in a situation they would never normally find themselves in and just see our characters from a different perspective. Itís not a dream show, but it is unique. It is going to be visually something weíve never seen before on Bones and stylistically something weíve never seen on Bones before.

Jamie: Interesting.

Stephen: But thatís an answer to your question that itís far too vague for you Iím sure.

Jamie: Thatís okay. And then the follow-up, can you talk a bit about James Aubreyís character and how like continuing through the show heís going to be, because I assume eventually Booth is going to warm up to him I hope.

Stephen: Yes, as they recover from the end of season nine and the beginning of season ten really Booth and Brennan and the Squints life has to go on. But itís a very difficult hurdle for Booth especially, his foundation, his trust in the institutions that heís devoted his life to that heís risked his life for has been shaken, so he has some big trust issues moving forward and Aubrey is the focus of that initially. Now Booth will be getting over this in a way only he can with Brennan and Brennanís help and this will not drag on for a long time. Bones is not going to turn into a dark show where theyíre dealing with all of these demons all the time. But we have to deal with what has occurred, so within the first three or four episodes Booth is going to have to learn to trust Aubrey and Aubrey is going to have to earn Boothís trust. So itís really a two-way street and we will be doing that; and weíre going to be back on our traditional Bones footings very, very quickly.

Certainly episode three, episode four the show is back. Our show is yes, weíre procedural, yes, people get murdered, but itís funny. Itís romantic. Itís bizarre and all of that, the oddities and the unique nature of the show will return, but we will be getting to know Aubrey in these first five or six episodes because heís going to be a very valuable member of the team and slowly become a member of the family as well. Heís a strange guy, but heís a brilliant agent who is un-intimidated.

Sweets was very deferential to Booth. Sweets being so young when he started he wanted to fit in; he wanted to make sure he was doing the right thing. Aubrey is somebody who really has, socially, heíll just blunder into things, but at the same time Booth will learn to trust the fact that he is a great agent.

Jamie: Right. All right, thank you so much.

Stephen: Okay.

Moderator: Our next question comes from Sarah Curtis of Your line is open.

Sarah: Great, thanks.

Stephen: Hello, Sarah, how are you doing?

Sarah: Iím good. Iím filling in for Marissa today. She was sorry to miss it.

Stephen: All right.

Sarah: So Pelant gave way to the ghost killer, which then gave way to this FBI conspiracy. Is there anything else lurking out there in that connection train or are we really just going to see standalone cases/villains for the rest of the season?

Stephen: Thereís always something lurking out there. I can safely say that there is going to be something else lurking out there. I donít think the world ever exists with simple murders no matter how horrible. I think we need something a little more evil and that will be coming our way. They might be in the second half of the year when we come back in January, but weíll be getting involved in another case where thereís someone whoís not nice, not a good person.

Sarah: Okay, that kind of leads to my follow-up here, which is last season Max hinted to Brennan that he was involved in some things that she didnít know about and wouldnít like, so Iím just wondering if thatís coming up and where and when or if it was just a throw away.

Stephen: Again, this is something that itís not a throw away. We try not to throw anything away, but itís also something that weíre in the process of developing now more fully. And the first half of the season especially leading up to the 200th and finishing the conspiracy was something this story with Max is something that we wanted to devote a good amount of time to and again, thatís going to have to be in the second half of the season. We didnít want to go from a conspiracy into some other ďbig badĒ story, but Max will be back and weíll be back dealing with that issue.

Sarah: Okay, great, thanks.

Stephen: Okay, thank you.

Moderator: And the next question is from Colleen Pinto of Voice of TV. Please go ahead.

Stephen: Hello, Colleen, how are you?

Colleen: Hello, how are you?

Stephen: Hello.

Colleen: You sort of touched on this a little bit, but the whole government conspiracy affects Booth because heís sort of idealistic to a fault about the government and his time in the military, I know you said itís not going to go to a dark place, but how is that going to affect him for the rest of the season?

Stephen: How what, Iím sorry I couldnít hear the last part of what you said.

Colleen: How will the government conspiracy and Booth being shut out, how will that affect him in his job and the way that he thinks about the government?

Stephen: We will deal with that and initially it will be resolved reasonably quickly, but the residual elements of that will always be there. I think heís a very resilient guy. Heís been through war; heís been in covert operations. He was a ranger; heís seen a lot of stuff and he has bounced back from a lot of very difficult sometimes tragic circumstances and found a way to move on, and this will be no different. That doesnít mean there arenít some residual emotional issues that he will be confronted with really at a time when he thought everything was okay, so itís really going to ebb and flow through the season and we will see this initial issue of trust and idealism and challenged idealism be dealt with in the first few episodes and dealt with pretty successfully, but thereís a lot underneath that will keep bubbling to the surface throughout the season.

As I said itís not going to be some kind of weird dark season, but that doesnít mean that people donít have difficult things that they have to deal with that surface when they least expect them. So Brennan as well as Booth will be dealing with a lot of residual fall-out from whatís happened and what will happen in the future.

Colleen: Okay. And will we see more of Daisy on the series?

Stephen: Yes, definitely.

Colleen: Bearing his child.

Stephen: Daisy will be in the second episode clearly, we have to say good-bye to Sweets and send him off as only this group can, but Daisy is also pregnant and as we heard in that episode, sheís alone really. And I donít think people who have grown close to her and really grown to love her in their own way over these, I donít even know how many years, five, six years are not going to send her out into the world alone. When this baby is born, this baby will be born and cared for.

Colleen: Wonderful, thank you.
Moderator: And we have a question from Jenny Riordan from Please go ahead.

Jenny: Hello, Stephen.

Stephen: Hello, Jenny, how are you?

Jenny: Iím good. My phone is dying, so I hope to get through this all before it finally quits.

Stephen: Okay.

Jenny: I was extremely sad about Sweets, but I understand that his career is taking off, so thatís a big thing for the actor, too.

Stephen: Yes.

Jenny: But my question focuses more on the Squints, will we see the same rotating cast of characters; will we be introduced to anyone new? And [indiscernible]ó

Stephen: Yes, all of our regular Squints will be coming back to visit and work, so these are characters weíve grown to love and they have become such an integral part of the show that weíre able to really treat them as more than just functionaries within the lab. They really have full, rich lives of their own and thatís what weíre going to be contending with. Wendell is dealing with his cancer. Cam and Arastoo are dealing with their relationship. Daisy now is going to be dealing with a baby. Weíre bringing back Oliver Wells. Weíre bringing back Clark and all of these people have very rich lives that will be explored and since theyíve all become so close to the other Squints, everybody gets involved in each otherís lives as happens in most workplaces. And weíll be learning a lot more about these characters that initially were just temporary help in the lab. Theyíve become permanent members of the Bones family.

Jenny: Excellent. Thatís just want I wanted to hear, so thank you very much.

Stephen: Okay, thank you.

Moderator: We have a question from Suzanne Lanoue from The TV MegaSite. Your line is open.

Stephen: Okay, hello, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Hello. I was wondering youíve gotten rid of characters before and I was wondering if thereís ever concern when you get rid of someone who is so beloved like Sweets was if it might have an effect on the show that you didnít expect.

Stephen: Absolutely. We can only deal with the events that confront us and thatís what we had to do in this circumstance. Itís more than what is going to be good or bad for the show. Really it was the difficulty, the challenge, and to be honest, the pain of losing a character like Sweets and an actor like John. We love John and itís always difficult and you never really know how the audience is going to respond. We could only hope that by treating this in a realistic way, in a way that respects the character, that will also show how much we respect the audience. We did not do this in a cavalier or a callous way; we tried to do it and integrate it into the show and hopefully it makes the show better in a way.

If the show continually was running in place, I donít think weíd be on for ten years. I think a show has to change and evolve; sometimes the change is painful, but that doesnít mean itís not good or correct, so we have to trust that if we treat this situation truthfully, it will enhance the show no matter how difficult and painful it is. Thereís no way really ever of knowing how the audience is going to respond to any episode or any change. We didnít know how they were going to respond when Booth and Brennan got together. We didnít know how they were going to respond when they got married, when they had a child, when people leave the show. You just never know. You just hope that everybody is along for the ride and that the ride is satisfying and honest.

Suzanne: And will you be addressing this season the passing of Ralph Waite at all?

Stephen: You know, weíre still talking about that because we probably will and weíre trying to figure out how to do that without bringing it all up again and being exploitive. We donít want to be cheap about that, especially after dealing with such an enormous loss as the loss of Sweets, so weíre in a pickle there, but weíre dealing with it.

Suzanne: All right, thanks a lot.

Stephen: Thank you.

Moderator: (Operator instructions.) We have another question from Jamie Ruby of Please go ahead.

Jamie: Hello again, they took my questions, so I have to think up one here. Now that youíve going on for ten years now, I think a lot of this obviously gets easier, but what do you still find thatís most challenging even ten years later?

Stephen: Itís all a challenge ten years later. Going into our tenth year clearly the one of the most difficult things is finding cases that are new, clues that are new, worlds that are new and unique and ways of dealing with the science that are new and keep up with technology. This show technologically, the show has changed dramatically over ten years, but primarily itís where are these new body finds going to come from? What are the new murderers? What worlds can we go into that we havenít gone into before?

The miraculous thing is the writers keep coming up with new completely unique ways to kill people and locations and worlds in which to kill them that are constantly amazing. Weíre going to be doing a murder at a forensics convention filled with forensic experts. How did we not do that before, but really and over nine years that we never have, so weíve got a new one. Itís just really, as I said, a testament to the writers, Jon Collier, whoís an executive producer on the show, who runs the writersí room is just phenomenal and leads the writers through the dark forest and into the light; and what comes out of there is just amazing.

Jamie: Thanks. I hope it goes on for years more yet, soó

Stephen: We do, too.

Jamie: Okay. Thanks.

Stephen: Thank you.

Moderator: And we do have another question from Sarah Curtis from Please go ahead.

Sarah: Okay, great. Thereís been a lot on the Internet from Sunnie Pelant and then also Gavin MacIntosh maybe if you could answer some questions. I know Sunnie was in the show last year and she just is darling and Gavin I think seems to be cast as Parker and just maybe talk a little bit about what the casting process was for Gavin. He definitely looks like David Boreanaz and so just wondering what that was like.

Stephen: As the show evolves, especially with young actors, sometimes changes occur. Weíve been in this situation before. There was one actress initially who was playing Michelle, Camís adopted daughter, and that actress changed for that character. Christine also changed partly because of age. We wanted someone in that part who could do more, so Christineís age accelerated a touch, the maturity accelerated a touch, so we could have someone who could do dialogue and hopefully stay with the show for the long haul. And in terms of physical changes, I think there was a consideration with that as well as far as Parker is concerned, so again, itís kind of the evolution of the actors of the young people, who come through the show; and maybe itís in the long and wonderful tradition of Bewitched.

Sarah: Yes.

Stephen: We get a new Darren.

Sarah: Great.

Kim: Dan, I think if we donít have any more questions, thatís going to do it. Is anyone else in the queue?

Moderator: We have no further questions at this time.

Kim: Okay, perfect. I think we can wrap it up there.

Stephen: Okay, great. Thanks, everybody.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Weíd like to thank you for your participating and for using AT&T TeleConference. You may now disconnect.

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