Bones EPs Stephen Nathan and Hart Hanson Talk Season Eight Surprises To Come
Having been preempted for three weeks Bones is finally back on Monday November 5 with a collection of new and diverse episodes. So what’s new? Screen Spy and assorted members of the Press spoke to show Creators/Writers/Executive Producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan this week to talk serial killers, near-death experiences, Angela’s roller derby experience, ballroom dancing, guest stars, interns and that secret season finale episode.
Speaking of persistent menace Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds), the serial killer who cast such a long shadow last season, Nathan was quick to assure us of his return. “The Pelant story will reappear in January,” he confirmed. “Pelant is always going to be hanging over their heads in all of the episodes, but he comes back in earnest—we’re actually shooting the episode now and it will air in January.”
“It’s being directed by Rob Hardy and it’s one of the biggest episodes we’ve ever shot; very exciting,” added Hanson. “He [Hardy] will probably make another—two more—and perhaps we’re starting to talk about what our season ender will look like. He [Pelant] may or may not be a part of that.”
And as for our favorite characters? Both Hanson and Nathan were happy to share some deets on Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Sweets (John Francis Daley), Angela (Michaela Conlin) and David Boreanaz’ uncanny Rumba skills.
Episode 5 ‘The Method in the Madness’ will see Sweets essentially homeless and living out of his office. Booth takes pity on him and invites him to stay with him and Brennan while he finds a suitable new apartment. However it isn’t long before Sweets, Brennan and Booth begin acting like the odd-triplets. How tempting will it be to keep this particular storyline going? Very, according to Hanson.
“You know what, it started out as something that we were going to play out through one episode. When Sweets busted up with Daisy, he let her have the apartment,” he explained. “So he’s been kind of a bit of a nomad since then, and they say come on in and you can stay with us for a few days. We were going to do that for one episode, but it was just too much fun. If Stephen and I have one fault out of many, it is that if something’s fun we’re going to stick there for a little while.”
“It’s so rich,” said Nathan, “because you have Sweets who’s the psychologist, Brennan who disdains psychology now in a house together where Brennan can kind of use psychology against her guest, which is—”
“She keeps reading his books,” put in Hanson.
“She keeps reading his books which he leaves in the bathroom and then comes out armed with all this new information, which drives him insane,” Nathan laughed.
However, the comedic moments are set to be tempered by some more serious subject matters, including an episode which will feature a 9/11 themed story involving only the Squints (‘The Patriot in Purgatory’) and another, as yet unnamed episode, involving a near-death experience for Brennan.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in the country who doesn’t have a very, very personal story about 9/11 and what happened on that day and how they were affected. I think we’ve been trying for a long time to do an episode that revolved around that event,” Nathan told Screen Spy. “We haven’t really found a way to do it up until this point and partly because the reality of that event should be revisited, and also, our characters were there. Brennan, in the first season we had heard that she was one of the forensic anthropologists on the scene and worked there for two weeks identifying remains as did Cam as a coroner in New York.
“So we just wanted to try to approach this subject from a completely different point of view and from a very personal point of view rather than a political point of view. Also to deal with really not only the civilians that died but since that point, all of the service men and women who have been deeply affected by the events of that day and those people who had sacrificed their lives. The ones that we know of and the ones we still don’t know who they are.”
“Stephen had a great way into the story,” Hanson revealed. “It’s one of my favorite scripts that Stephen wrote, and his way into the story was to make the memories of 9/11 come from our squinterns. Where were they and what happened to them? That finally gave us a way into the story that didn’t seem exploitative or goofy. Really, every single year we’ve talked about what is the 9/11 episode that we can do this year from the first year. We started in 2005 and finally here in the eighth season Stephen found a way to get in. I think it’s just super.”
“Also what I think we found in that is that from the interns’ point of view, they were all very young,” said Nathan. “You don’t usually hear that and we do hear it from Cam and from everyone else and clearly it changes Brennan in a very, very significant way at the end of that episode, but it was really hearing what kids went through as well as adults. Of course we touch on religion a bit as we always do. It was a very important episode for all of us.”
“We also have an episode coming up where Brennan has a near death experience,” teased Nathan. “Which really kind of causes her to reevaluate her life and see everything a little bit differently. So we’re just trying to move them along and have these characters evolve and not stay in the same place. So hopefully it will be surprising for everybody.”
Speaking of surprises, Nathan and Hanson divulged some spoilers for upcoming episodes including an Angela-centric episode involving a murder at a roller derby and a ballroom dancing episode which will see Booth and Brennan take to the dance floor.
“There’s murder at a roller derby team,” explains Nathan. “It’s just another world that we’re entering into that we’ve never been in before. It should be fun. Angela’s been roller skating a lot more than anybody knew. So she’s helping out in a case in a way that she wouldn’t normally otherwise. This is somebody who’s been a little frustrated with her job. She feels that she’s lived her life a little too safely lately and she wants to kind of break out a little bit. So getting slammed into a wall in roller derby seemed a good way to let that happen for her.”
Both EPs admit to a love of these types of undercover episodes, which Nathan describes as “gifts to the hardcore fans where we all get goofy.”
“It’s sort of like doing shots every time somebody says something. That’s what our undercover episodes are. We just have a good time and David and Emily just love doing them. This one’s no exception,” he says of the upcoming dance episode. “It’s a murder at a ballroom dancing competition and we find out in this that Booth actually taught ballroom dance when he was in college to make money.”
“Well, that’s what he thinks he was doing,” says Hanson.
“Yes,” says Nathan. “He thought he was doing that. Sweets points out that he was probably just a gigolo for old women. But we have that from Booth’s standpoint. From Brennan’s standpoint, because of her phenomenal knowledge of kinesiology and anatomy, she believes that as long as she can look at someone dance, she can replicate that exactly. I can just tell you that’s not true.”
“I’ll tell you something weird about that episode,” Hanson divulges. “I watched David Boreanaz learn how to rumba in five minutes. He’s gifted. He’s a physically gifted guy.”
“Seeing them move is really funny,” admitted Nathan. “And then we also have populated the episode with tons of winners and runners up from ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ so the dancing is really kind of remarkable.”
Apart from murder, mayhem and dancing, Bones fans can also expect to see a new intern join the ranks this season.”We’re developing another intern now as well,” confirmed Nathan. “That script is being written so we have to see how that turns out. But we definitely do want to add another face on the show. Then we also have some people who we haven’t seen in a while who we might want to bring back too.”
The season is also set to see the return of some familiar faces with guest stars including Ryan O’Neal, Reed Diamond, Billy Gibbons and Cyndi Lauper.
“We’re also having some fun talking about who might play Booth’s mom and David is very, very interested in that too,” laughed Hanson.