BWW Interview - Emily Deschanel Opens Up About BONES, Booth, & More

Emily Deschanel has become one of television's most recognizable faces in recent years, starring as Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan on FOX's long-running series BONES.

The poised & talented actress has many big-screen credits to her name as well, including THE PERFECT FAMILY, MY SISTER's KEEPER, Jerry Bruckheimer's GLORY ROAD, COLD MOUNTAIN, SPIDER-MAN 2, and more.

On television, aside from her iconic role, she has appeared on CROSSING JORDAN, PROVIDENCE, LAW & ORDER: SVU, and the Stephen King miniseries, ROSE RED.

In anticipation of tomorrow's episode, in which some emotional and startling events occur, Deschanel sat down with reporters to discuss her character's upcoming revelations, relationship with Special Agent Steeley Booth (David Boreanez), and what it's like sharing a network with her sister, Zooey Deschanel of NEW GIRL.

Also, take note: there are most definitely Bones spoilers ahead.

Hi, Emily. Thanks so much for talking to us today. Can you maybe talk about some of how the changes Bones will change over the season after this episode?

ED: Yes. I think that after watching the episode, I think that viewers will have a better idea of why Brennan behaves in the way that she does, is kind of hyper rational and has cut off her emotions in many ways, even though she's over the last few years opened up after knowing Booth. As the season goes on it's kind of a subtle change. It's not like it's dealt with when people are discussing it or something right afterwards, but I think it will be addressed in later episodes this season. It is a more subtle change. I think that Brennan feels like the way she's behaved as-it's shined a light on her behavior and maybe encourages her to change a bit.

Do you ever get grossed out by any of the bodies and everything on the show?

ED: Yes. I mean not as much as I should at this point. I've become a bit desensitized honestly, but yes, I do get grossed out for sure by things. I'm trying to think of the last one- I mean the one we're working on right now is a burnt one, which is gross, but it's not icky, gooey or something, but once you start thinking about how someone dies by being burned; that's kind of horrible. So, you don't let yourself think about it too much. I guess that's why Brennan behaves the way she does in some ways.

Obviously you've been playing Brennan for eight seasons, so what kind of difference does it make to finally have this insight into the relationship with her mother (in the upcoming episode) - because in the past you've only gotten little bits and pieces?

ED: Yes. It's an interesting thing to do a series for this long and to play a character that things are revealed at eight years in. I felt like it was in line with things that I had in mind, and it didn't contradict anything that I had kind of imagined for her past, just for myself. When playing the character, I like to build a past for the character and kind of decide why she behaves the way she does, what her experiences are and things that can remind her of things from her childhood, etc. etc.

This doesn't contradict anything, but it's certainly new information to me, and I really enjoyed doing the episode because it shed light on Brennan and her past. I also really enjoyed having the interaction with her mother. You know, what other kind of episode can you have interaction with somebody who is dead, and that's always been kind of a huge missing piece for Brennan; was her mother being gone and being able to talk to her mother about how she Disappeared before she died and all of that.

Brooke Langton, who plays my mother in this episode, did such a great job, and I really enjoyed working with her. She's just very inventive as an actor, very giving, and it was a really good experience working together. It felt right to have her play my mother, and I really enjoyed that.

Do you think that there's a chance that Booth and Brennan will ever get married? I think there was a scene that I'm remembering where Booth can't take confession because he's living in sin.

ED: Right.

Could this experience maybe change her into thinking that she needs to get married for him?

ED: Yes, I think something like this always makes you kind of question all-or not question, but look at every situation in your life and think is this how I want it to be, and I think we are moving towards some kind of answers on that. We do discuss it in an episode that we're about to shoot next week; there's not necessarily a resolution, but it is discussed again. I think if you remember-Booth is not going to ask Brennan to marry her again. He's already said it. He said, "You have to ask me."<

She's also always said that she's not getting married. So far, having a child hasn't changed that or at least changed her stubbornness about asking him. So, we'll see. I love that and I look forward to if this happens. I imagine at some point it will. I look forward to seeing what Brennan's proposal to Booth is like, but so far, I can't say I know definitively if that's happening yet.

Okay. The episode [might be emotional] for anyone. Was it emotional for you guys to shoot?

ED: Absolutely. It was very emotional, especially with scenes between the mother. I have played this character for a long time. I've Built in my mind who my mother is and was to me. It was quite emotional to do these scenes and to shed light on Brennan as a teenager and her relationship with her mother. I think anyone who's human who's lost somebody that they love, or even hasn't, but can imagine that, I think it's kind of a universal thing that you just want to see that person one more time and here, Brennan has that chance.

You know, she doesn't want it to end, at first doesn't believe it, etc. It's something that you always wish for when you've lost somebody. She gets this opportunity and that's so incredible -if we've done it right, hopefully people will be affected by it. Maybe it doesn't affect everyone, but that's okay. I'm glad that it affected you, hopefully, not too badly.

I can't think of many siblings over the years that have starred in hit shows at the same time on prime time TV and certainly, not playing characters as diametrically different as you two - how different are you and your sister [Zooey Deschanel] in real life?

ED: It's so hard for me from the inside to kind of analyze, but the way we think is completely different. We're very different in many ways. There are also similarities having grown up in the same household and having similarities for that reason. I don't know, we have lots of things in common, but we kind of view the world in different ways and have different ways of doing things. ... we end up doing things in a way, but yes, we have lots of things in common as well. We're different, but the same; is that a good answer?

I'm very impressed with how the tension on this series between them has kept up. Is it because we have other relationships to watch or is it even that logical?

ED: It's impossible to give the complete answer, but I think maybe one part is the fact that-I think Hart Hanson (BONES' creator) would say, because we've discussed this. I think that Hart Hanson created this show and is the show owner, and I think that one part is that we didn't spend-there was no courtship, and I think courtship can be kind of boring to watch sometimes for people. I think our dynamic shifted, but there's still that core relationship that's the same.

I know you obviously have a lot on your plate, but are you still interested directing an episode of the show?

ED: I do hope so. I would just have to wait until my son was big enough that I didn't feel like I had to be with him as much. Right now, I take him with me every day. I see him during my breaks, and I'm still practicing as much attachment parenting as possible. I really want that to be in place before I would do something like direct, which definitely is more challenging while I'm also acting on the show.

I definitely want to, but I made a choice in life and got pregnant and had a child, and I want to put my child first. It is a goal for me, and I hope to do that. Possibly next season, maybe after Henry's two, or if we have a tenth season, maybe then or both, we'll see.

Just as a final question, can you talk a little bit about your physical comedy chops. I think one of the best scenes that I can remember was the dance competition.

ED: Yes. Watching that episode is like watching-I don't know, I was embarrassed for myself. Even though I chose to do all of those things on purpose, it was just embarrassing. I like doing the comedic episodes because it's just refreshing and I enjoy doing comedic things and physical comedy; it's fun.

I kind of go to the place of-you know it's like Brennan thought she could sing, and her mom told her she could sing. Then, she sings and it's okay, but like Brennan thinks, she can dance. So she's committed to dancing, but I kind of go back to the child in the character and think like, okay this is Brennan as a child, thinking she can dance and just committing completely to this dance competition and loving it so much, but having no clue of how bad she is. It's just so fun for me; I loved it.

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Tyler Peterson Tyler is one of BroadwayWorld's lead News Desk Editors, covering breaking Broadway and theatre news daily. He studied Public Relations and Creative Writing at Loyola University Chicago while working part-time for BWW on evenings, weekends, and occasionally during classes. He has also been involved in the Chicago theatre industry, working in media relations and publicity with Margie Korshak, Inc.