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Interview with Stephen Nathan of
I love this show, and I've interviewed the creators and
producers of the show before. They're always very nice, and
grateful to hear from fans. However, I have to admit that
Mr. Nathan seemed kind of defensive during the interview.
Maybe he was just having a bad day or something!
FBC PUBLICITY: Bones
December 8, 2014/10:00 a.m. PST
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by,
and welcome to the Bones conference call with Stephen
Nathan. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only
mode. Later, thereíll be an opportunity for your questions.
(Operator instructions.) We ask that you limit yourself to
one question, one follow-up and then return to the queue.
Todayís conference is also being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Kim
Kurland. Please go ahead.
Kim: Hi, everyone. I just wanted to thank you for taking part
in the call today. We are super excited about Thursdayís
episode of Bones, as Stephen: will definitely elaborate on.
As you all know, itís our 200th episode of the show. It was
directed by David Boreanaz, who did an amazing job. I hope
all of you had a chance to see it; itís posted on the Fox
Paul, I think we can get started.
Moderator: (Operator instructions.) Our first question is
from Jamie Ruby with SciFiVision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie: Hi. Thank you so much for talking to us again. Itís
great to talk to you.
Stephen: Hi, how are you?
Jamie: Good, you?
Stephen: Good. Good, and very excited for Thursday.
Jamie: The episode was really awesome, I loved it. I know you
talked before about how you wanted to do something different
in tone and style and everything for the fans for the 200th
episode. But Iím curious, how did you come up with the idea
of what you did do with the film thing? Also, how did you
choose what character would play what kind of roles in it?
Stephen: Well, I think coming up conceptionally with this, we
wanted to go back to something that was classic because
after ten years, weíre moving into the classic category; not
many shows last for 200 episodes. I think there have only
been 24 dramas in the history of television from what Iíve
been told. We wanted to do a classic examination of the show
and of the romantic nature of the show. This style, this
time, really sets it apart and allows us to highlight that
aspect of our series in a way no other time really could.
We also got a chance to reintroduce Booth and Brennan, see
the initial attraction and the blossoming of their romance,
again, in new circumstances. In terms of which character
played which parts, Booth and Brennan, essentially, are the
Stephen: óin different specific roles, but Booth is still
this honorable man who had been through the war and who was
trying to right wrongs. Brennan is somebody who is
stubbornly holding onto a set of beliefs that no one can
shake from her, and she will be proven right in the end in
The other characters, we just had a great time with them. We
just tried to put them in similar roles, power structure
wise, if there is such a thing, and also to see which roles
would allow them to have simply the most fun. Whatís going
to be the most fun for all of these characters, some of whom
we can only see for a line or two, others we see for a
scene, but what was just going to be the most enjoyable
situation to put them in and thatís what we did. This was
really a labor of love, and we wanted the audience to share
the fun that we were all having doing it.
Jamie: Right. And putting Pelant in there was funny, too.
Stephen: Yes. What? Heís there?
Jamie: Alright. Thanks.
Stephen: Thank you.
Moderator: We have a question from Ashley Bissette with TV
Fanatic. Please go ahead.
Ashley: Hi. To follow up a little bit on the previous
question, I was wondering if you could speak a bit to any
films, in particular, that inspired you for the Albert
Hitchcock theme of this episode?
Stephen: Well, personally, Iíve always loved Hitchcock so
this was just a dream to do this style. What was the
Ashley: I was wondering if there were any specific films that
really inspired youó
Stephen: Well, the specific films, we reference them mostly
visually in this.
Stephen: It was To Catch a Thief; North by Northwest; bits of
Notorious were in here; The Man Who Knew Too Much. We just
really called the library of all these great Hitchcock
films, and also of the time to just drop those little things
in. What we didnít want to do, and hopefully we avoided was,
not to do an episode that was just a wink and a nod to those
things and also where the episode had to rely on costumes
and props and cars. What we tried to do was do another great
Bones mystery, a mystery and a story that existed and was
sustained on its own merits, and it was cloaked in this
style and I think we did that.
David did a remarkable job directing this, and really
carried forth this vision that the story was the most
important thing. We wanted the audience to go, who did it;
what are they doing now; oh my, God, thatís an interesting
twist rather than, oh, thereís another car and oh, look at
their clothes now. I think David really directed this
walking that fine line perfectly. Thatís the reason, I
think, that this worked so well.
Ashley: Right. Thank you.
Stephen: Thank you.
Moderator: A question from Suzanne Lanoue with TV MegaSite.
Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Hi. I enjoyed watching the episode last night, it
Stephen: Oh, great. Thank you so much.
Suzanne: I was wondering, I noticed that the characters were
drinking a lot as people did back then. Was there any idea
that you might have smoking or was that something the
network said no or you just decided not to do it?
Stephen: You know what? The network doesnít like smoking, and
certain things have changed since 1954. In 1954, there were
ads about the benefits of smoking where you saw doctors
telling you that it was good to smoke. I think we wanted to
get away from that. I mean, it wouldíve been nice to have
somebody smoking, but it really wasnít that necessary. I
think that time was really more about, at least for us,
knocking back some nice, dry martinis rather than trying to
contract lung cancer.
Suzanne: Right. Right. Well, it was really good, I enjoyed
it. Thanks a lot. [Indiscernible].
Stephen: Okay, thank you.
Moderator: Question from Sarah Curtis with GiveMeMyRemote.com.
Stephen: Hi, Sarah. How are you?
Sarah: Good, how are you?
Stephen: Good, thanks.
Sarah: Hi, two questions. You praised David Boreanaz, and it
was just excellent, but I wondered if you wanted to just
maybe take a minute to praise the wardrobe and set and music
and prop department. I just thought it was great. Do you
have anything to say about that?
Stephen: I can honestly say this was, by far, the most
difficult episode Bones has ever done; it was a massive,
massive undertaking. Weíve had earthquakes in the subway
system of Washington and tornadoes and shot up the house and
nothing, nothing compared with this episode. In the middle
of the season, to do an episode this enormous, this complex,
this exacting, requiring this much care and detail, itís
really just incomprehensible that it got done at all.
Every department on Bonesóthis episode shows how brilliant
this entire crew is, and cast, the cast and crew. The art
department, Valdar Wilt, whoís the production designer;
Megan, his art director; everybody; it was spot on;
wardrobe, Robin, every single person; props going all the
way down to Greg Collier, whoís our DP, who got the color
just right, who lit this in a different way and then going
into color timing; the people behind the scenes who do the
sound mix; Sean Callery, our brilliant, brilliant, brilliant
composer, who found a way to be true to the music of the
time and yet still have the style that is our show.
Itís just a remarkable achievement from every single
department because I think if you look at this, if you
didnít start in the beginning you could be looking at this
thinking, oh, Iíve never seen this movie before. What is
this movie? It is so precise and exacting, all the detail
work that went into this episode. I have nothing but the
highest praise, admiration and respect and really, awe for
the crew and how they pulled this off.
Sarah: Yes. I guess, as a follow-up then, the opening scene
combined with the credits, it was just so unique and I loved
it. It seemed like FoxóI thought they seemed kind of
generous in allowing you to do it that way, the opening and
then the credits. Can you maybe speak to the conversations
with the network and how that was approved and how that came
Stephen: Well, the truth is, the network and studio were just
fantastic; they were supportive. They were onboard for the
whole thing; they loved the concept and were as happy to be
a part of this as we were. The openingóI had always seen
this as really just trying to do a film from 1954, and part
of that was developing a new font, which was styled off of
the font that was used in the credit sequence in To Catch a
Thief, and also to do the actorsí, producersí and all of the
crewís credits in the way that those credit sequences were
done in old films. We actually had to get the studio and
network to sign off on, and all of the actors and producers,
writers, crew who were in the opening credits. Everybody had
to sign off on these new credits because people didnít have
individual cards. People were sharing cards; there were only
two that we were not allowed to share and that was because
of WGA and DGA rules that those had to be separate. I think
they might have had to be separate forever.
We really wanted the look and feel of this to be the same
look and feel thatówe wanted it to be accurate, and we were
given that latitude and support from the studio and network.
There was never a moment where we got any pushback from them
about style or the substance of what we were doing. They
Sarah: Okay, great. Well, like the narrator told Booth and
Brennan, we wish you luck, but you donít need it because it
Stephen: Thank you.
Moderator: Question from Colleen Pinto with Voice of TV.
Please go ahead.
Colleen: Hi, [indiscernible].
Stephen: Hi, Colleen.
Colleen: Hi. Can you talk a little bit about howóI guess was
it different writing this episode from a normal Bones
episode? Did you work with David at all because even the way
that the actors spoke the lines was very like a throwback to
the Hitchcock movies; it was almost affected. I guess, how
did you go about writing it?
Stephen: Well, we wrote it like those films. I know those
films quite well, and the style. You know what? Itís like
music; itís hearing a song, writing a song today and writing
a song that was written in the Ď40s or Ď50s.
Thereís a different music to it, thereís a different music
to the dialogue, to the rhythms, to the types of words, the
cadence, everything, and we just did our best to capture
that. David and I talked for quite a while, although David
got it right away that this couldnít be a Saturday Night
Live sketch of a Hitchcock movie, or any film from 1954,
because that would become tedious in about two minutes.
David understood that this had to be done with the same
sense of truth thatís required to do any Bones episode.
Really, just tried to write it so the rhythms were there,
the dialogue was there, the slang was appropriate and then
the actors just got it; Emilyís rhythms, the every so slight
turn of her accent; Tamaraís switch in the middle of the
episode. Everybody just found the same reality, and it just
Colleen: Yes, it was really fantastic. Can you talk a little
bit about howóI donít know if you can, of how the actors
approached their roles, because they were similar, but
obviously different and this was a very different episode.
How much fun did they have?
Stephen: Oh, they all had just a fabulous time. Theyíre
actors, they got to be in the same show, play different
characters with different clothes; it was just so much fun
for everybody. Everyone either knew it in theiróI hate to
say it, knew it in their bones, or had done research and
just relished playing this new style.
Sarah: Well, it was good [indiscernible].
Stephen: I think they all realized it was still in its
essence, in its very, very nature, it was Bones. What we
were celebrating after 200 episodes was Bones itself and the
200th still had, at its core, what Hart created, what makes
this show so enduring, which is its essence.
Sarah: Right. Well, thank you.
Stephen: Oh, thank you.
Moderator: We have a question from Monica Gleberman with
Cable TV. Please go ahead.
Monica: Hi, how are you?
Stephen: Hi, Monica, how are you doing?
Monica: Good. Glad to speak with you again. Thank you so much
for doing this conference call.
Stephen: Oh, my pleasure.
Monica: I just have two completely separate questions, the
first one related to the 200th episode. I feel like every
season you guys do either an undercover or itís a one-up
episode where, when David Booth was in a coma and we went
back in time; all those crazy ideas. For this episode,
because after ten seasons of playing the same role can get
tiresome, do you feel like doing these episodes keep them
fresh and refresh into playing the characters that theyíre
Stephen: You know what? I donít know if we have any ulterior
motive or anything like that. I think one of the things that
is Bones, which is the essence of the show, is that itís
difficult to pin it down; our style changes. This year we
did the human trafficking episode next to episodes that were
very funny and very lighthearted. We can send Booth to jail
and destroy the house and then we can do an episode about
vegetables singing in a childrenís show.
I think switching it up and, in a way, keeping the audience
a little bit off balance has always been a signature of the
show. When I say off balance I just mean that you never
quite know what world youíre stepping into. You know for a
fact somebodyís going to be dead, you know that weíre going
to find out who did it in some, hopefully, new and unique
way, but the worlds we go into; where weíre coming from;
where our characters are coming from in terms of their
personal lives is always going to be, if weíre doing our job
correctly, a bit of a surprise.
I think those other episodes, whether we do the one where we
see the entire show from the viewpoint of the skull, of a
dead person or whether itís the 200th episode where itís
1954, or we do dreams or Stewie is in an episode; I think
these are all part of this odd little Bones world that just
keeps going on and on and on and on. We donít really sit
down and say, oh, letís do a really weird one now because we
need to; we just go, hey, we got an idea for a weird one,
letís do it. We just do it.
Monica: Yes. Well, as follow-up, you guys are very, picking
up on what you said, unpredictable and every episode you
just never know whatís going to happen. For example, the
killing off of Sweets was a huge shocker, I know, for many
fans. I want to know, moving forward, what we can expect for
the rest of the season, and if you have any word of a
possible continuation to an 11th season yet, if you guys
have even come close to discussing that or where you stand
Stephen: Well, we certainly have been talking about an 11th
season. Weíre ready to do whatever the network tells us to
do. This is all up to the network. Network and studio have
to get together and decide whether there will be an 11th
All indications are that there probably will be, but you
never know until you know for a fact. Weíre just going to
keep moving forward. Hart and I have talked about this
before; if we have to end it weíll end it, but it doesnít
seem as if itís ready to end.
Sarah: Just really quick; how does that feel, though, to be
one of those rare shows that makes it to ten seasons and
still be going and still be going strong with such a huge
Stephen: Well, itís remarkable, itís one in a million; it
just doesnít happen. Iíve been doing this for a long, long,
long, long time and Iíve never ever, ever come close to ten
years. A 10th season, in the beginning, was an inconceivable
We certainly, when we started, in the first 13, didnít even
know if we could have enough stories where we could be
solving murders using bones, and here we are 200 episodes
later still doing it and still finding new things. I donít
even know how that happens, but the show has a lot of life
in it. Itís not boring for us to do. We donít come into work
and go, oh God, what now? We really come in going, hey, we
could do this or this or this or this. Weíre still excited
about doing the show, which is remarkable in and of itself.
Sarah: Well, thank you so much and congratulations because
the episodeís amazing.
Stephen: Alright. Thank you so much.
Moderator: We have a question from Suzanne Lanoue with TV
MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Hi, again. I was wondering if thereís been any
decision made yet about whether youíre going to write in
Emilyís pregnancy in the show.
Stephen: Weíre still talking about that, but itís very
difficult to hide a pregnancy. We could have her behind
desks and drawers and things like that, but I think people
know, and the show is as much about their relationship as it
is about solving crimes. This is what happens to people in
relationships, married people who have children; they
sometimes have more children. Itís served us very well
before, and I think it will be an interesting new wrinkle in
the show going forward.
I know there will be people who will violently disagree; oh
no, I didnít like when the baby before and everything [sic],
but there are people who always disagree and then others who
agree. Itís a lot like life; there are many, many different
twists and turns in peopleís lives and some people watching
those from the outside like some and dislike others, and the
ones that are disliked by them are loved by others and vice
versa. We just have to keep going forward in a way that
seems truthful to us and hopefully enticing and enjoyable
for the audience; thatís our job. As much as we listen to
the fans, we canít be ruled by the fans; we can only love
Suzanne: Well, thank you and congratulations again.
Stephen: Okay, thanks.
Moderator: Question from Colleen Pinto with Voice of TV.
Please go ahead.
Stephen: Hi, Colleen.
Colleen: Hi, again. This is another writing question. How is
the show different to write and produce in its 10th season
versus its first? How do you keep it fresh because youíve
never really had to recycle any story lines, and itís been a
long, long time?
Stephen: Well, I donít know. I donít have any idea. We just
keep finding worlds that we havenít explored before. We just
have a remarkable group of writers led by John Collier, who
continually come up with new and unique stories and worlds
and science. The one thing we have going for us is that, in
the past ten years, science has really done a lot of good,
new stuff and we get to take advantage of all of that.
The forensic world is changing and allowing us to look at
our crimes in a different way, and if weíre open to the
relationships as living, breathing things, the relationships
take us in new places that we havenít seen before and just
keep having a life of their own. Itís staying open and not
trying to keep this show in a box, and I think thatís why
often times you donít really know what the heck youíre going
to see on the show; you donít know whether youíre going to
be laughing or whether youíre going to need a box of
Kleenex. As long as we can keep that going, I think the show
has a tremendous amount of life still left in it.
Colleen: I agree. I would like to see it go on forever, but I
donít think my opinion counts.
Stephen: Oh, of course it does.
Colleen: Thank you so much.
Kim: I think thatís going to have to be our last question,
unfortunately, because we are out of time. Paul, do you want
to give any wrap-up instructions for anyone?
Moderator: Did you want me to give out the replay
Kim: Sure, thatíd be great.
Moderator: Yes. This call will be available for
replay after 11:30 a.m. Pacific time today through midnight
Pacific time on December 15th.
Any additional closing comments?
Stephen: No. Thank you very much to everyone. Enjoy the 200th
if you havenít seen it, and if you have seen it, watch it
again. Thank you.
Moderator: That does conclude our conference for today. Thank
you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive
TeleConference. You may now disconnect.
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