Interview with Stephen Nathan and Hart Hanson of "Bones" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Stephen Nathan and Hart Hanson

Interview with Stephen Nathan and Hart Hanson of "Bones" on FOX 3/28/12

I love the show "Bones", and it's always nice to chat with the people who star in the show as well as the people behind the scenes. This was a fun call!

FBC PUBLICITY: Bones Conference Call
March 28, 2012/10:30 a.m. PDT


Kim Kurland
Stephen Nathan
Hart Hanson


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. Later we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions) As a reminder this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Kim Kurland. Please go ahead.

K. Kurland: Hello, I just wanted to thank you for participating in the call today. We are very excited for the episode of Bones for their time period premier on Monday at 8 p.m., our first episode since November, so itís definitely been a while and weíre very excited to have it back on the air.

Moderator: (Instructions given.) Your first question comes from the line of Jenny Rardan from Please go ahead.

J. Rardan: Hello, guys, thanks for taking our calls.

S. Nathan: Hello, Jenny, thanks for calling.

J. Rardan: Iíve spoken with both of you a few times now and itís always a pleasure.

Man: Uh oh.

J. Rardan: I follow you guys both on Twitter, too, and thatís quite a bit of fun, actually.

H. Hanson: Who do you like better? You can start a fight between us now.

S. Nathan: I have a knife, by the way.

J. Rardan: I am certainly not taking sides. Okay, well, letís see. My first question is I donít know if Iíve ever heard a definitive answer you had on this. How is the number of episodes that weíre going to be getting going to play out?

S. Nathan: You havenít heard a definitive answer, because there isnít one yet. All we know is that we have a season ender, and that will leave us with four extra episodes that have to be able to be slotted anywhere at any time without notice. Thatís all we know.

H. Hanson: Thereís been no word from Fox when they want to air it, whether they want to air them in the summer, or whether they want to save them for next season or slot them in next season.

S. Nathan: We just donít know, so that actually made from some four kind of interesting episodes.

H. Hanson: Yes. I mean it might be that the executives at Fox just watch them at lunch just amongst themselves. We havenít been told.

J. Rardan: Fair enough. Okay, my follow-up is I got this on Twitter. Will the FBI become an obstacle for Booth and Brennan at work, especially now that theyíre going to have the baby, and theyíre living together, and all that?

H. Hanson: Weíre not planning a storyline in which the FBI says you canít be partners. We discussed it and then we thought, God, if we tell that story, there isnít a single audience member whoís going to go, oh my God, I wonder if theyíll never be allowed to work together again. So we just decided not to doóit may come up time to time, especially from Sweets that itís odd to have a couple working together, but itís not the oddest thing in the world. So, Stephen, you do you have anything more?

S. Nathan: No, I think the most important thing for us is to keep the show on the same footing itís been for seven years, which is this is a murder show, and Booth and Brennan are always going to be working together to solve these murders. So we donít ever intend to take that away. Thatís not to say that it wonít be incredibly difficult for them, but it wonít be because of any bureaucratic nonsense that it will make it difficult. Itíll just be them working together, the difficulties they have working together as they always have.

J. Rardan: Okay, great, thank you, guys, very much.

H. Hanson: Thanks, Jenny.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Kyle Nolan from Please go ahead.

K. Nolan: Hello, guys, thanks for taking time to talk to us.

H. Hanson: Hello, Kyle, how are you doing?

K. Nolan: Good. So in the spring premier Daisy is back and then the following episode, it looks like Finn Abernathy returns, when working on an episode, when in the process do you decide which intern is be used?

H. Hanson: Itís a twofold thing. One is we figure out who we havenít seen for a while. Two, we figure out who would best fit the story, and then three, we find out if that person is available. Usually all three of those things donít occur at the same time.

S. Nathan: Sometimes we have finished a script, are very, very excited that the intern of our choice is going to be in it, only to find out that theyíre unavailable, so we have to rewrite the script. But weíve been very fortunate, because these stories were very, very specific. We wanted Daisy, definitely wanted Daisy to be in the episode where the baby is born, and things are starting an arc in the episode following, so we were glad that worked out, too. Sheís just been a phenomenal addition to the show.

K. Nolan: With the arrival of the baby, can we still expect the same format of primarily focusing on that case of the week, or will there be more time spent on showing the new parents and what itís like at home for them?

S. Nathan: Thereís always been that balancing act in the show of their personal life and the cases, but weíre a murder show, so that will not change. But when we do go home, they have a new arrival, which changes their lives, so the baby will be a part of the show, because itís a part of their lives. But somebody is still going to be murdered in a heinous and cruel way, and we will be revolted at the beginning of the show as we always have been and hopefully weíll catch them.

H. Hanson: The balance wonít change, but the context will.

S. Nathan: Oh, that was great.

H. Hanson: I had the time to think up a succinct response while you were talking.

S. Nathan: No, that was one great sentence. Iím going to use that.

K. Nolan: Okay, thank you, guys.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Paulette Cohn from Xfinity TV. Please go ahead.

P. Cohn: Thank you.

H. Hanson: Hello, Paulette.

P. Cohn: Hello, guys. So the arrival of the baby has to change Brennan in some ways. Can you address that a little bit?

H. Hanson: Well, sure. Weíve always seen Brennan as a character who, because of her upbringing, was kind of afraid of life, did not want to engage with life, or had to be protected by a veneer of rationality and logic and science. The first thing to come and challenge to breech those walls was Booth who made her confront, lead a more dangerous life, at least emotionally in that her happiness is contingent upon another personís happiness. And now she has a child, and you might be able to avoid a lover as someone whose happiness, your happiness is contingent upon, but definitely not a child. So thatís what she is contending with, she is now a big open bruise because of another human being and she will find that very disorienting.

One sentence, Stephen. That was really good.

S. Nathan: Youíre on fire today. Brennan is so objective even about herself that she is caught off guard by all these new feelings. I think thatís whatís great for us in terms of writing the show. We get to see a character who is as astonished by these new feelings and this new behavior as the audience is. We saw that in the first six episodes when the hormones were going crazy and she was crying, which she had never done before. She has different emotions that sheís unaccustomed to, so all of that will continue.

H. Hanson: Thereís a story in one of our four hanging chad stories. One of the victims is a kid, and Brennan turns to Booth and says in a very shocked way, ďI find I have a great need to go see Christine,Ē and it makes no rational sense; and thatís sort of what Stephen is talking about is sheís just shocked that someone has gotten so deeply into her heart.

S. Nathan: Weíve done that actually in the second episode back. Itís the first time she is going back to work, and she has to deal with leaving Christine for the first time. Emily just did a wonderful job. Itís a great new area for us to explore.

P. Cohn: Booth has been a father before. He has a son, but he was really kind of chauvinistic in that he didnít want them to buy a house and use her money, so they found this house. Is the house going to be ready, and is he going to give at all on the issue of the fact that she makes more money, and she can do more for this child maybe financially?

S. Nathan: Theyíre dealing with it. Itís back and forth. Itís what happens in any couple. The need to compromise and the ability to do so are not always the same.

H. Hanson: Iím really glad you said that because a lot of feedback that we get is that Booth is perfect and Brennan isnít, and Booth is not perfect. Heís not perfect, and he has to, in his own way, has to give up as much as she does in this new life, and that is an ongoing, what is it, field between them that they have to plow. Itís like how much is she going to pay for and how much is he going to pay for? We get a lot of comedy out of it, as well as character stuff. Itís a good, fertile field for us. Iím going to leave the field metaphor alone now.

S. Nathan: But you got a plow, you got a field. The next answer has to with the harvest.

H. Hanson: I got to lay fallow for a month.

S. Nathan: But the house is not in the shape it was in the last episode.

P. Cohn: Because that could be comedy as well as they try to fix that, soó

S. Nathan: Yes, itís comedy, but itís a little too dangerous. It requires a tetanus shot.

P. Cohn: Thank you.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby from Please go ahead.

S. Nathan: Hello, Jamie.

J. Ruby: So can you talk about the decision to reveal Brennanís pregnancy before you kind of revealed that Booth and theó

S. Nathan: Are you on a speakerphone? Iím sorry, are you on a speakerphone, because itís really hard to hear you.

H. Hanson: I think I heard it.

J. Ruby: No, Iím not.

H. Hanson: I think I heard the question. It was the whole question of revealing that Brennan was pregnant before revealing that Booth and Brennan were lovers.

J. Ruby: Right.

H. Hanson: Or had ever had sex, I canít stand the word lovers. I canít stand it. I think only English people can say that.

We always knew that the end season six would be the reveal that Booth and Brennan had slept together. We knew that they were going to sleep together. What changed everything was when Emily confided in us that she was pregnant, and we decided to adjust the storyline for season seven accordingly. So season seven would have been the story of how Booth and Brennan come to grips with the fact that they are now intimate and sexually involved. We threw out probably a half a season there, perhaps more and inserted that they were going to have a child.

So really the only thing that changed in season six was the very last scene where she turns to Booth and says, ďIím pregnant and youíre the father.Ē That scene, of course, would not have existed. Otherwise mostly that season would have been intact as it was. What we have to do now is show the romance in a couple thatís been together and has a child. What America is going to miss is the unfolding courtship of Booth and Brennan and we could not be happier to avoid that.

J. Ruby: Okay. The other thing is you talk about Brennan going back to work and that. Is this going to be, though, like a big space of time, or does she not really want to take maternity leave once the baby is born?

S. Nathan: You mean is it going to be a lot of time before she goes back to work?

J. Ruby: Right.

H. Hanson: Itís actually a short amount of time.

S. Nathan: No, itís a short amount of time. Thereís probably six weeks or so, maybe eight weeks between the time the baby arrives and she goes back to work.

H. Hanson: She gets oddly about the same amount of time as Emily had.

S. Nathan: Yes.

H. Hanson: We did not want to do a story where our main crime solver was at home for a number of episodes. That seemed to us to be a really good way to lose a ton of viewers and momentum, so itís right back into the fray. Mind you, we do contend with, as Stephen said, we have to contend with whoís going to take care of the baby, and how is Brennan going to juggle her being a mom living with Booth, how is Booth going to juggle her and the baby and do their jobs. But theyíre still doing their jobs.

S. Nathan: Yes, we didnít want to turn the show into some sort of domestic show where the murder was a secondary aspect. The murder is still the primary focus of the show, and their domestic lives are crucial and important and what we love about the show, but people are still dead.

J. Ruby: Okay, thanks a lot, guys.

S. Nathan: Thank you.

H. Hanson: Thanks.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Vlada Gelman from TV Line. Please go ahead.

V. Gelman: Hello, guys.

S. Nathan: Hello.

H. Hanson: Hello.

V. Gelman: Thanks for chatting.

S. Nathan: Thank you.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

V. Gelman: I was wondering with the shortened season and the four episodes that have to stand alone, where there any character arcs or some more serialized storylines that you had to push off until next year?

S. Nathan: The four actual episodes will not be arc related. They have to be able to stand on their own, so those four episodes we were able to do stories that we wouldnít have normally done in a regular lineup ofó

H. Hanson: Very, very standalone and maybe even a bit odd with the gags to them, whatís the world they have conceits to them oró

S. Nathan: Yes, theyíre more stylized than we normally would do, and we were able to try to tackle stories that we might not normally have tackled, because we donít know how old the baby is going to be. We donít know whatís going to happen between relationships between people, so these really were standalone.

H. Hanson: We have to hope that Hodginsí hair doesnít change too much.

S. Nathan: Yes, thatís right and the baby could be in college.

H. Hanson: Were you asking also if we had to jettison any arcs because of a shorter season?

V. Gelman: Yes, were there any like more serialized or character heavy arcs that you had to push off?

H. Hanson: Yes, but we knew what was coming when we started the season, so itís not like we started some and then withdrew them; but we have many, many arcs and ideas, a bin-full of ideas for them that we simply didnít pull out, because it wasnít going to go in this year. Iím pretty sure the one that we wouldíve gotten to, had we had a normal length of a year would be some more Booth family stuff. I still want to do a Hodgins family surprise. But those just went away, because of the shortened season and because we had these strong B stories, character stories connected to the baby.

Did I interrupt you, Stephen?

S. Nathan: No, no, I was going to sayó

H. Hanson: I wasnít apologizing, I was gloating.

S. Nathan: I enjoyed it. There are five fewer episodes, so thatís a lot of missing arcs, but theyíll be back if weíre back.

V. Gelman: That kind of goes into my follow-up question when people have babies, usually it brings in extended family. Are we going to be seeing any of that on the show?

S. Nathan: Yes, yes, we will. Weíll certainly see some of the people, weíre going to see Brennanís dad. Heíll return. Weíve already seen Boothís grandfather this year under sad circumstances. Certainly going into next year, weíre going to see the extended families.

V. Gelman: Thanks, guys.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

S. Nathan: Okay.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Marisa Roffman,

H. Hanson: Marisa.

S. Nathan: Hello, Marisa.

M. Roffman: Okay, Ö at the June finale Pelant that is going to scare the crap out of people with the season finale, so can you guys ... it up.

H. Hanson: Pelant is going to scare the crap out of people in the season finale.

S. Nathan: Yes, there will be no crap in people anymore after Pelantís episode. He really is going to turn the series on its head for a little bit. He has much more power than any of our serial bad guys have had in the past.

M. Roffman: Interesting. I know obviously Cam has a storyline coming up. Her daughter is dating a Ö, but is there anything else aside from that in the last batch of episodes?

S. Nathan: Sheís been very heavily involved this season in the lab with our people kind of as the boss. Sheís sort of taken that role, that role has been expanded a bit, so youíll see that in subsequent episodes. We have a lot planned for Cam personally, but as Hart said earlier, our hands were a little bit tied this year because of the five fewer episodes, we werenít able to give some of the other characters that we love, Hodgins and Cam, more extensive arcs. We will be doing that if we get picked up.

H. Hanson: Weíll get picked up, Stephen.

S. Nathan: We will?

H. Hanson: Yes.

S. Nathan: And weíre so heavy.

M. Roffman: Thanks, guys.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

S. Nathan: Okay, thanks.

Moderator: The next question comes from Colleen Pinto the Voice of TV. Please go ahead.

S. Nathan: How are you doing?

H. Hanson: Iím not going to make a Voice of TV joke this time. Youíre tired of all my Voice of TV jokes.

C. Pinto: Oh, come on, thatís my favorite part.

H. Hanson: I have nothing prepared.

C. Pinto: Okay. Early seasons, seasons one and two, Angela and Brennan were very, very close, always had heart to hearts and fans really seemed to enjoy those. Are there going to be more now that theyíre both sort of in the same place in their life, new mothers in very strong relationships?

H. Hanson: Stephen, Iím looking at you with consternation in my face. There are two episodes that weíve done in the last month that have good Angela and Brennan stuff in them. Itís not all over the baby, by the way, not all over the fact that they are moms. Thatís certainly helps, butó

S. Nathan: But weíve had a few, especially one where Angela and Brennan kind of leave the lab and play hooky. We do have them, and Cam is also now involved in sort of that kind of relationship. Sheís become a bit closer to Angela and Brennan. But Angela and Brennan do, we do see them quite intimately in a few episodes.

H. Hanson: Angela has her own issues with how sheís changed, being a married woman with a child that we explore a little bit; and so she is better situated to understand what Brennan is going through feeling that sheís changed, although Angela is more nostalgic for who she used to be I think than Brennan is. Sheís more reflective. But yes, in my mind itís come up at least three times in the last six episodes and, in fact, at least one really strong storyline.

I think in the season ender the audience will get a very good feeling for how close Angela and Brennan are. In some ways Angela knows Brennan better than Booth does in that way that another friend of the same sex can understand you more than your partner.

S. Nathan: And she knows Brennan better than Brennan does.

H. Hanson: Thatís true, yes. Thatís a good line, Stephen.

S. Nathan: You can have that one. Iíll take that context one. I like the context one because it sounds smarter.

C. Pinto: Okay, great. Now in the episode coming up on April 2nd, we find out that Brennan gives in to Booth and allows the baby to be baptized. Are there going to be any other concessions, like willó

S. Nathan: The baby is not baptized in that episode.

C. Pinto: Well, yes, but she allows that it can happen.

H. Hanson: Yes, my glib response is every single episode where they have anything to do with home and kids is a constant trade-off between the two, as to what they are willing to give up for the other one for the other.

S. Nathan: Weíve seen seven years of these two people having such a different view of life and that will not change.

C. Pinto: Okay, and really quickly, is stapes a reference to the 100th episode?

H. Hanson: What, Ö

C. Pinto: Yes.

H. Hanson: Thatís very good. Itís a little echo. Itís a little hello and echo, very good.

C. Pinto: Oh, youíre lying. You just thought of that because I said it.

H. Hanson: No, we give little waves. We give tons of little waves, and I have to say a ton of them come down from the writersí room, and we donít even know theyíre there until theyíre there.

S. Nathan: The pause you heard was because there stapes does appear again, and weíre working on that actually as we speak as we were this morning.

H. Hanson: So we thought you knew something that wasnít yet out.

C. Pinto: No, Iím not that good. Iím not that privileged.

H. Hanson: No.

C. Pinto: Iím working on it.

H. Hanson: This is scary.

C. Pinto: Okay, well, thanks.

H. Hanson: Thank you.

S. Nathan: Okay, thank you.

Moderator: The next question comes from the Jenny Rardan Please go ahead.

J. Rardan: I didnít expect to get back in.

H. Hanson: Youíre back again. Everything we told you before, not true.

S. Nathan: It was just a big lie.

J. Rardan: Oh, okay, well darn. Now I just had a quick question. Who is the brilliant mind, Iíll let you two fight it out, who is the brilliant mind behind the storyline about where Brennan is giving birth? I donít want to give it away for the people who havenít watched the episode yet, but I watched it and it is pure brilliance.

H. Hanson: We had a discussion about it, but I think we got it handed, Stephen, am I wrong, that was your idea?

S. Nathan: You know what, to be perfectly honest, I donít know if it was. I think Jon might have had a hugeóI think Jon Collier I think came up with that. We had many, many, many discussions. There were so many things thrown into the hopper, and I think Jon Collier who wrote that episode, you know what, itís so funny after doing what weíve done now is 713 episodes and itís very difficult toó

H. Hanson: We donít always remember.

S. Nathan: Yes, sometimes I go home and I wake up. Iím in bed with Hartís wife, heís in bed with mine. I donít know. We donít know what the hell is going on anymore.

J. Rardan: Well, just tell everyone involved that it was like you said, it was just pure brilliance.

H. Hanson: Thereís a ton of, Jon Collier wrote that episode and heís a terrific writer and thereís a ton of my pal Stephen Nathan in there.

S. Nathan: It all runs together. The overlap is appreciated. Thank you.

J. Rardan: Thanks, guys.

Moderator: The next question comes from Emanuel Ducasse Tele 7. Go ahead.

E. Ducasse: Hello, a quick question for Hart Hanson. I guess your work or schedule, Ö and Bones because you have a new show The Finder. So my question is did the cast of Bones feel concerned that your attention would not be 100% focused on the original show?

H. Hanson: Yes. Bones is a pretty tight theatre company. Weíre a pretty tight bunch. Weíve been together a long time, and there was concern, but it was of that nature. I donít think they thought the show was going to fall apart. Stephen Nathan has been here since the first episode, and itís not like if I died, the show would go on. There might be more jokes in it and more references to bagels, but otherwise, Stephen is perfectly capable.

So they werenít worried on a professional level. Itís just like what is going to happen to our plucky gang. Itís mostly a pleasure to work on Bones and we like each other, so I think it was more like as if I was moving a block away or something.

But my office is in the same place. Both shows are shot on the lot. Stephen and I, we share a, what do you call this thing, Stephen, a porch? Our offices share this ugly little porch. We cannot get away from each other, and the actors are just a stage away, so they wander into my office. I think they mostly realized that since I wasnít physically going anywhere, that they had nothing to worry about.

And as I say, Stephen Nathan is a very confidence inspiring guy. He just stepped into the gap that I left. Now The Finder hasnít been shooting for how long now, Stephen, a month, maybe more. Weíre enjoying working more closely again, but did that answer your question?

E. Ducasse: Yes, perfectly. Why only John Francis Daley and TJ Thyne have been guest starred on The Finder, why only these two actors from the original show?

H. Hanson: We, being Bones, Bones shut down for a period of time and wasnít shooting. It was during that time that we could use Bones actors on The Finder, so we figured out very quickly, John was the first one, because the story of having someone down to look at Walterís mental competency was a good storyline for us and a really natural fit. And then the next story that suggested TJ was a conspiracy theorist story.

If it had been another kind of story, then we would have brought down Cam or Angela. Of course, Emily couldnít be in it because she was busy having a baby. David, we could have had him in an episode, but he very much wanted to direct an episode, so thatís when he directed was during that downtime. I hope, Iím knocking on wood, we have an uphill climb, but if The Finder comes back, then eventually everybody will be on it.

E. Ducasse: Okay, French director Francois Velle is back for the first time to direct episode 14 of that season, what does he bring to the show when heís directing?

S. Nathan: This is Stephen. Francois has been a fabulous addition to the show and heís perfect for the episode that heís directing now. Itís one of our most serious episodes, and he just has a tremendous sensitivity and a beautiful connection with the show and heís just a wonderful director.

H. Hanson: Also a French accent.

S. Nathan: Yes, and the French accent is very good. It make everybody hungry.

E. Ducasse: Okay, my last question, where does the station number 447 come from?

S. Nathan: We canít tell you.

H. Hanson: We canít tell you that yet.

S. Nathan: All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

K. Kurland: Okay, we have to wrap it there. Iím sorry, we have to wrap it there, everyone. Weíve gone a little bit over, so I apologize.

H. Hanson: Okay, well, thank you very much, everybody.

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