As any fan of BONES knows by now, the funny-bone that runs throughout the series is due to showrunners and executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan who not only passionately adore their show and the cast that star in it, they love poking fun at each other and everything else around them. It is that distinct comedic voice backdropping their warm familial writing style that has drawn fans from around the globe into the BONES world. In a recent conference call with press, Hart and Stephen candidly shared a few fun things to look forward to in the upcoming season.
How will the Booth-and-Brennan relationship change this upcoming season now that it has been revealed that Brennan is pregnant with Booth’s child? Can you talk about how the show is approaching that and how you made sure the balance of the show stayed intact?
STEPHEN: Well, really I think to us, it was somewhat organic. We just continued to write Booth and Brennan in the same way, which were two completely disparate characters who agreed on very little on the surface — only now, they’re dealing with a pregnancy and a relationship. So, it really seemed to be a natural extension of the previous six years of BONES.
HART: Our big worry—Stephen and I used to talk about this all the time — we knew that Booth and Brennan would get together euphemistically in Season 6—and we knew that it would be over the death of a beloved Squintern and then, we sort of got this big gift. Then Stephen and I had to talk all of the time: “Well what happens next? What does it look like? What replaces unrequited, sexual tension? What interesting dynamic replaces that?” And it’s a tough one. And we talked about it at great length and then, the gods intervened and Emily came and said, “I’m pregnant.” At that moment we knew what replaced sexual tension was an actual human being.
STEPHEN: Also, I think what we really wanted to avoid more than anything was to have a couple madly in love with each other, because it’s to me that’s always going out to dinner with a couple who have just met and make out all through dinner. And you want to kill them and never have dinner with them again. So we wanted to avoid that dinner. And we successfully did. We have a couple who we can invite over every week for dinner and they’re great company.
HART: They can never go out to dinner.
STEPHEN: Yes, they can’t go out. But, at least, make out while you’re eating.
Could you guys also talk about backstories of some of our supporting characters?
HART: TJ is angling to be the lead of the show. He had so many ideas. You may have seen he is a really good writer and director if you check out his work on YouTube. So he has tons of ideas and man, as an actor, he’s up for anything. But, well what do we want to admit to, Stephen?
STEPHEN: Well, we can admit to we’re going to hear a little bit about his grandfather and see him kind of dive-in in episode six with our new resident villain. Kind of dive-in as only Jack Hodgins can, and in adding a bit of conspiracy and a bit of code breaking.
HART: And we have a story in our pocket about TJ—Hodgins’ brother. But, it’s in my mind, and Stephen may talk me out of this, in my mind it’s attached to a piece of casting that I can’t imagine doing it without this piece of casting attached to it or my interest level drops. So, we have to wait and see if that happens and no, I would never admit who it is.
STEPHEN: But, as we will see, there’s a lot of Angela and Hodgins in the first six episodes actually. So we learn more about them than we ever have before as well. And Billy Gibbons returns.
HART: Stephen, you want to take an opportunity to talk a bit about the new Squintern?
STEPHEN: Well, I think everybody’s seen the new Squintern, Finn. Luke Kleintank plays him and he is somebody who will be recurring with us. He’s phenomenal.
HART: I really just want to hear you say, “Luke Kleintank.”
STEPHEN: I know. We’ve cast some actors just because of their names this year.
HART: Yes, I just want to say starring with Luke’s flying tank.
STEPHEN: And he is great. We are already writing him in—he’s already returning. And we’ll get into that in the last eleven, but I don’t want to give anything away, but he comes back and it’s quite a nice involvement with the other characters.
HART: And babies do tend to drag relatives out of the woodwork, so we have some. I think, actually the Booth and his grandfather and his father’s story in the first six is maybe one of the best episodes of BONES ever, certainly one—an amazing performances by David Boreanaz and I’m dying for everyone to see. And that has family attached. And also, Stephen, I don’t know if we should admit too, but we think we have a pretty good idea for who should take care of the baby.
STEPHEN: Yes, I think that’s something that we can keep to ourselves until the—because that’s after the first six. But it’ll be a lot of fun, yes.
Can you talk about the amnesia aspects within the premiere and how that concept came about?
HART: The amnesia aspects? I’ve totally forgotten what they are.
STEPHEN: That’s a good joke.
HART: I’ve totally forgotten what the amnesia aspect is. I have. I have.
STEPHEN: The first murder, the woman had amnesia. We just kind of wanted to—
HART: Oh, okay, I instantly go to our main characters and go “Who the hell had amnesia?”
STEPHEN: The amnesia episode obviously was based on Hart.
HART: Ask me which episode of THE FINDER is shooting behind me right now. I don’t know. God, when did those discussions first start, Stephen?
STEPHEN: Well, it was—yes, it was last year when we were planning the new season. We really wanted to have an episode that would kind of resonate with what Booth and Brennan where going through. What you bring to a new relationship, and how it’s been formed completely by your past and whether you can make remake those memories and what it is to make new memories. So, we were just kind of playing with that concept. And then, we also thought it was a cool murder. I want to make it deeper than that, but a cool murder usually wins out.
HART: We always start with a cool murder or a cool corpse, I should say.
Can you talk about how you keep up with changes in real forensics and investigation techniques between seasons and how they impact the writers?
HART: Oh well, we have quite a few. There’s a writer’s room full of smart writers who are digging through stuff all the time and most of the time, there’s—who comes in with technology Stephen? I have a bin full of technological ideas — one of the writers seems to come in with cool technology.
STEPHEN: There’s a group of them. They come in with new equipment that has just been developed and new investigatory techniques. It’s a remarkable group of people, because they will come to us and say, “Well, you know, this person could have been murdered, actually in another galaxy. It’s totally real at this point and wind up in somebody’s ‘Soup for One’ can.” It’s crazy.
HART: Yes, I have to credit that to the writer’s room, because I don’t know about you, Stephen, but I’m certainly not looking for new forensics techniques in my down time.
STEPHEN: No. I would say that 90% of the stuff that we do in the show is completely real and scientifically accurate. We might stretch or shrink the time as necessary, but the science is correct and usually is mind boggling to us.
HART: Yes, and people do send us [ideas]. I mean, we get links all of the time to journals and new forensic techniques and scientific techniques. I happen to send them immediately up to the writing room. I don’t even read them because it makes my head hurt, but now I just send them up to the writer’s room and they churn those things out. They’re an amazing group of people.
What can you share about what’s going on with Cam this upcoming season besides hiring the new Squintern?
STEPHEN: Well, so far in the first six episodes, a lot has to do with the new intern and her juggling the lab with this new dynamic. You know with Brennan being pregnant and still trying to maintain a functioning lab.
HART: And she still has daughter problems.
STEPHEN: Yes, and though the remainder of the episode — we can’t mention that storyline — but there’s going to be a lot more for Cam in the second half of the year. We have all of that planned out now. A lot of stuff with her daughter. She also is going out with a doctor still. So, all of that is going to be explored in the second half of the season when we come back, but we just had so much to do with Booth and Brennan that it was very, very difficult to service everybody as much as we would like. We keep asking the network, but the network will only give us an hour. I don’t know why.
HART: And imagine what it’s like to be the only woman in a work place who hasn’t had a baby.
Can tease how long we might have to wait for a marriage proposal, and will it be initiated by Booth or Brennan?
HART: That was Stephen Nathan’s idea. That was a really great idea. I remember Stephen coming running into my office to say, “Here’s—” because, of course, our first questions were how are we going to deal with this? And Stephen came in. Stephen does run. He runs like a duck, but he runs, and he came in running into my office to say, “I want to do it this way!” And I thought it was a brilliant idea. I think the theme of this year is there and I wouldn’t in a million years want to say how long it would take to—to unroll itself.
STEPHEN: Yeah, we have to find out how they’re dealing with it first, too. You know, how Booth and Brennan are dealing with it. That’ll be the surprise.
Stephen, you’ve recently mentioned on Twitter something about a BONES case of something being even too gross for you and I was wondering what that was.
HART: This is my main question these days.
STEPHEN: Really? That? It was in episode six with our new villain and there was actually—it was just something that I’m sure will appear on the DVD so the fans will be able to see it. But it was just a little bit too disgusting even for me. And I love disgusting, but it’s got to be a little bit funny.
HART: Listen, Stephen is the gross one of us. He just took those opening sequences with the bodies and he just with great glee, he makes things horrible, and for him to say “that was too gross” is amazing. Can I also say that I saw—Stephen, I’m not going to blow what this is, but there was—we were looking at a rendering of remains in the lab when something happened that I physically ran away from the monitor as did one of the characters in the lab.
STEPHEN: Oh, yes, oh, yes, yes. That’s great, and that’s horrifying, but fun. You laugh a little bit.
HART: Not so much me. . . .Well, I did come back and say, “Do it again! Do it again! Show me again!” And it never, oh just so horrible, but—
STEPHEN: I think what happened is that the thing that got me this time is that it was a fresh body, which we don’t normally do and the people who do the bodies are so brilliant. The Yeagers. Chris Yeager—they are so brilliant and they are so realistic that when it was kind of fresh and newly killed, it was too—it was just too horrible. It wasn’t… To the BONES fans, it was me. It wouldn’t have been right.
HART: We learned a little bit of a lesson from the Gravedigger’s head exploding about fresh, fresh murders.
STEPHEN: Yes, yes that was a you know—that was a little bit fun, but not, not—
HART: Yes, no I don’t like it.
Can you talk about the challenges of filming while Emily was pregnant?
HART: Tell them, Stephen. Tell the story about the stunt double in the first shot and the whole ….
STEPHEN: I just want to say one thing that Emily—we actually scheduled the shooting of episodes five and six so that we were shooting them at the same time — all I can say is Emily was so pregnant that she finished on Monday and had the baby the next day. So, she was working until—she basically was in the good earth. She was unbelievable, but she refused to have stunt people and there’s a scene that you’ll see in I think it’s the second episode, where she just has at some 350 pound man, and that was her.
HART: Well, Stephen I was thinking that we hired a stunt double, remember? It was a story point that Booth was concerned about Brennan getting to across some broken ground to a crime scene and we told Emily, “Well, you know what Brennan would do—she’d run across there, but we’ll have a stunt double for that.” And she said, “No, I want to do it.” And we had to physically tell her “No. You’re not going to run across that to get to the body. We’ve got a stunt double for that.” She’s just been totally game.
STEPHEN: She just did absolutely everything. I mean, you know, there were a couple of times that the days were long, and we sent her home. But, honestly, she is built from iron. She is unbelievable.
HART: Sadly, she is going to say it’s because she is a vegan, so I’m going to lose that war.
It still feels unforgivable that you killed off Mr. Nigel-Murray.
STEPHEN: You know what? That was horrible for us. We hated that. We love him so much.
HART: The reason he got killed is very simple—someone was going to die this year and we waited until we knew each of our Squinterns, what they were going to be doing the following seasons. And he got a series, 13, on the air, on the Syfy network so he was the one to be killed. Also, I’ve always thought in the back of my mind that should the Syfy series go away, I wish it only ill, that is one of the few characters that you could conceivably bring back as a relative or where you can laughingly say, Vincent Nigel-Murray is dead but Nigel Vincent Murray is still alive. And because he can do a million accents; he is such a chameleon and we actually had a good little weep. I think that’s what everyone did when he left.
STEPHEN: Oh, it was terrible. We called the other show and told them he stunk and they shouldn’t hire him. We did everything we possibly could, but they just ….
HART: We are doomed with these Squinterns. Every single one of them could go get a recurring new job—a starring job in another series any day.
STEPHEN: Don’t say that.
HART: We have to be prepared for it.
STEPHEN: You’re just going to encourage them.
HART: …To become a huge star now?
STEPHEN: I know. I know. It’s a remarkable group. It really is.
What’s coming up with Patricia Belcher, who plays Caroline, for this season?
STEPHEN: She is going to make at least four appearances this season even in the shortened season. We love that. She just does an incredible, incredible job.
STEPHEN: Every scene she’s in, it just lights up. And David loves working with her, and they’re just a great couple.
HART: Can I point out that Patty Belcher is probably the actor who is least like her character than any actor I have ever worked with? She is not that woman, so she is an amazing actress.
With the show has juxtaposed religion and science, will that be an issue with Booth and Brennan having the baby together?
HART: Oh, I would say so. Wouldn’t you, Stephen?
STEPHEN: Oh, yes, we’re still playing that. They’re going through all of those huge issues that any couple goes through when they’re having a baby.
HART: And the stakes are raised. They used to have these kind of theoretical arguments about God versus science. Well, now the stakes are raised. It has to do with the upbringing and shaping of a human being. So, it only makes it—that’s what I mean about it being such a gift to us. It’s like, “Oh wow! This brings a whole new level to the disagreements these two radically different people have about the way the world works and where people fit in the world.”
STEPHEN: And you will see that in the first episodes and also I can, without telling you anything at all, episode seven is that big time. Yes, they’re dealing with that issue in a pretty intense way, yes.
To supplement this somewhat abbreviated season, there was talk of getting a four episode mini season, maybe during this summer. Do you have any updates on that?
STEPHEN: Well, we have no idea what the scheduling is. We don’t have any idea of what the scheduling will be. They do want to do ultimately seventeen episodes. How it airs is really up to Fox. We’re kind of at this point, going along with the premise that we’ll do a season of thirteen episodes and the remaining four episodes are still up in the air where they will air, or how they will air. They could air before what we consider our last episode even. So, that’s a long way of saying we have no idea of when those four episodes will play out.
HART: It’s a real pickle for us because we don’t quite know where to place these four stories in our universe and it’s tough if they air all in a row, they would be odd because they don’t—they would not contain any meaningful character arts. So, it’s a pickle. We’re hoping we can get some guidance, perhaps after we air for a while and perhaps, after we see how the rest of the Fox show does.
Will there be any new FINDER crossovers?
HART: I’m crossing my fingers right now, but we shot a episode in which Sweets came down to take part in an investigation and evaluate Walter through the FBI and right now, we’re closing in on having a conspiracy theory episode in which the ideal character, of course, is Jack Hodgins to come down and be dueling conspiracy theorists with Walter. The idea is really funny. We just have to make sure that TJ is available and that it fits into his schedule, but it’s looking pretty good for that, and we want to do one more. We want to do one more. We don’t know what it is yet. By the way, we’re also looking to see if there is a place and a room for Stephen Fry to appear in a FINDER episode as Gordon Gordon Wyatt.
To see exactly how Booth and Brennan deal with the impending arrival of their little bundle of joy and how it rocks the BONES world, as well as the new crazy cases and villains looming on the horizon, be sure to tune in for the seventh season premiere of BONES on Thursday, November 3rd at 9PM on Fox (Global TV in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv