BONES Star Emily Deschanel & E.P. Michael Peterson Tease Season 11
With Bones’ eleventh season just around the corner (the show returns tonight on FOX), the thoughts of many fans are already turning to the what lies ahead.
What new challenges will face Brennan and Booth this year? How will an expanded family affect their dynamic and the kinds of stories the writers will set out to tell over the course of the season? Will we see the emergence of a new ‘Big Bad’ like Pelant, and what guest stars are lined up to make an appearance in the Jeffersonian lab this year?
Luckily ScreenSpy had the opportunity to sit down with Bones star Emily Deschanel and Executive Producer Michael Peterson this week to talk about these and other key developments on the slate this season.
Read on for full highlights of our call. (Please be aware there is a minor spoiler in this article for the season premiere “The Loyalty in the Lie.” We’ve done our best to soften it by concealing the identity of a character with a spoiler tag, but we fully appreciate how smart Bones fans are, and know you will work out who we’re referring to anyway.)
Where are Booth and Brennan at this season? Will we see them spending more time together?
Michael Peterson: That was definitely our focus coming into this season. When John Collier and I met with and talked to David and Emily, we agreed our focus was 100% making sure to have as much time as possible with Booth and Brennan. That is the heart of the show. We will challenge ourselves to make sure they get as much screen time as possible.
David gave us a note early on which said go back and watch early seasons, like seasons one and two, and just really see all of those interactions we were able to have early on. So I did. I spent my hiatus watching all these episodes over and over again. And it inspired a lot of storylines. For instance, watching the pilot, it talks a lot about the first book that Temperance Brennan writes, and how it’s inspired by each one of the characters on the show, and that led to a fun storyline that is coming up in episode 4. There’s a twist in Brennan’s latest novel that marks a sharp departure and offers a really good back and forth between Booth and Brennan as a result of it. It’s been fun to rediscover those early seasons and having them reflect in this season.
The first two episodes of season 11 see fallout from Booth’s lying to Brennan. Will we continue to see those ripples in later episodes, or will they manage to put the events of the two episode season opener behind them?
Emily Deschanel: That is such a big thing. Michael you can probably answer that better than I can.
Michael Peterson: Throughout the course of the second episode what we’re trying to get to is a sense that she understands who she is better through this case. She belongs at the lab. And in discovering where she belongs, she also understands Booth better. He is a man of action. The way we say it here internally is he’s a little bit of a superman. He can’t just sit by and watch as people suffer. So there really is no retiring for him. So by the end of the second episode, Brennan understands that she belongs in the lab, and her superman Booth belongs out there in the field saving people. She understands him in a way nobody else can. Where someone else would yell at him “You lied to me!” she understands that it’s just who he is, and she wouldn’t want him to be any other way.
What was it like working with Kim Raver on these first two episodes of the season?
Emily Deschanel: I’ve been a fan of her work for some time. She also went to the same university as I did, so I was following her. I was very excited to work with her personally, and she’s a delight. It was cool to have a character who challenges Booth and his motives, and her suspicions of him are interesting to come up against because all of our characters recognize Booth as the good man that he is, and the hero at times. It was interesting to have a dynamic like that with someone who comes from a totally different perspective, and we’re having to defend him and what he’s done and the choices he’s made. It definitely added an interesting dynamic to the beginning of the season.
Are there any season-long or multi-episodic story arcs in the pipeline?
Michael Peterson: There will be quite a few. We will be following Cam and Arastoo closely after what goes down in the first couple of episodes this season. Also Hodgins and Angela? There will be a major shakeup for them in episode 10. It’s also going to be related to Aubrey. That’s going to be our mid-season finale. We were originally considering it for our season opener. It literally opens with a bang. That episode is going to be interesting in how it changes the trajectory for the rest of the season.
When John Collier and I were handed this gift of being able to work on this show as showrunners we wanted to make sure we shook things up this year. There are going to be many many major arcs. We don’t want to get complacent in the fact that Booth and Brennan are married, and everyone’s coupled up. We want to challenge them, but not in any artificial way. We want it to be character led. We’re going to have lots of character arcs for each of the characters this season.
Can you talk about any new ‘Big Bads’ Brennan and Booth may face this season?
Michael Peterson: Obviously there’s the Sleepy Hollow episode which is a really interesting version of a Big Bad. In this episode we’re going to find two sets of remains, and one of them is going to be very very old. That’s going to be more of a Big Bad from the Sleepy Hollow universe. That’s going to be interesting in itself.
Also, season 11 is probably going to have the biggest bad that we’ve come across. I really don’t want to give too much away there but it’s going to be something that impacts Hodgins, Angela and Aubrey directly.
Emily, How long did it take for you to build such a strong friendship with David Boreanaz for it to carry over onto the screen so well?
Emily Deschanel: Well, 10 years I guess! [laughing] For the first six seasons we worked together, even on the weekends, building our chemistry was always a focus of ours. I think that kind of commitment to the work, and to our characters and their relationship, we made that a priority. On screen and off, it’s been important for us to get along, and to build that chemistry on camera. If you see chemistry, that’s not just an accident. We worked on that. Also, It’s not that hard to have chemistry with David Boreanaz. I’ll be honest. [Laughing] I had to work really hard!
Will Brennan and Booth go undercover again this year?
Michael Peterson: Yes. We’ve got a good one. One of our former writers Karine Rosenthal is coming in to do one for us. She’s fantastic. It’s going to be a different version of undercover than we’ve ever done before. It’s going to be very playful and competitive. It’s unlike any undercover we’ve done before, so we’re very excited. I believe that’s going to be episode 11×09.
What was it like to work with Betty White this season?
Emily Deschanel: She’s amazing. I mean she’s 93 years old, and she came in and was so professional. She’s so funny, and so lovely to talk to. She’s such a jokester. It was a dream come true to work with her. We’ve had Cyndi Lauper and Betty White – people who I have adored from when I was younger. It’s so much fun to get to meet these people in person and experience their kindness and fascinating personalities. It’s been a great joy to have her on set. It was also fun to have a rivalry with her character.
How will Booth and Brennan’s life change now they have another child in the mix?
Michael Peterson: Emily and I were very smart in preparation for this. Emily had her second child and I also had mine over the hiatus, so we’re hoping that real life will inspire us!
Emily Deschanel: [Laughing]
Michael Peterson: But obviously it’s very different – one versus two – and right away you’re going to see some of that sweetness that comes. I think it’s in the third episode. In the first two episodes you see the death of [spoiler] and the things that you do when you have a little brother. Now Christine has that little brother. There are some direct parallels. It works very well. It’s a nice emotional conclusion to that.
The eleventh season of BONES premieres Thursday, Oct. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.