On the Fox drama series Bones, now in its eighth season, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is shot while working late at the Jeffersonian lab and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. While at the hospital, she struggles with visions of her mother (played by Brooke Langton) that defy her usual logic. Meanwhile, all evidence suggests that Brennan’s attacker may be linked to the Jeffersonian.
During this recent interview, actress Emily Deschanel talked about how getting shot will change Brennan, what it was like to get new insight about her character after eight seasons, how emotional the episode was to shoot, whether Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan might ever get married, how there will be a new squintern coming up, that Pelant (Andrew Leeds) will still return this season, and that she still hopes to direct an episode of the show, in the future. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Question: How will Brennan change, after this next episode?
EMILY DESCHANEL: After watching the episode, I think that viewers will have a better idea of why Brennan behaves in the way that she does, is hyper-rational and has cut off her emotions in many ways, even though she’s opened up after knowing Booth (David Boreanaz) for the last few years. As the season goes on, it’s a subtle change. It’s not like it’s dealt with by people discussing it, but it will be addressed in later episodes this season. It is a more subtle change. I think that Brennan feels like it’s shined a light on her behavior and maybe encourages her to change a bit. It’s a big encounter. My character is shot, and then she has an encounter, which she believes is a hallucination, at least at first, where she is transported to her childhood home, and she sees her mother. She interacts with her mother, who is dead, and she believes it’s a hallucination. She has flat-lined. So, many people will interpret it to be that she’s gone to heaven. Her interactions with her mother reveal things from her past, and it also effects Brennan now. It encourages her to have a different perspective on her behavior, and possibly encourages her to change it.
After playing Brennan for eight seasons, what’s it like to have this insight with her mother, after all these years?
DESCHANEL: It’s an interesting thing to do a series for this long and to play a character where things are revealed, 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 imagined for her past, just for myself. When playing a character, I like to build a past and decide why she behaves the way she does, what her experiences are and the things that can remind her of her childhood, etc. This doesn’t contradict anything, but it’s certainly new information to me. 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. What other kind of episode can you have interaction with somebody who is dead? That’s always been a huge missing piece for Brennan, with her mother being gone, and being able to talk to her mother about how she disappeared before she died. 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, and very giving. It was a really good experience, working together. It felt right to have her play my mother, and I really enjoyed that.
Had you told the producers that you wanted to find out more about Brennan and how she turned out this way, or did this just all come organically and you were just excited when you read the script?
DESCHANEL: No, it was never a specific point of conversation. We’ve discussed it, over the years, but I was more or less surprised by the episode. David has also had conversations about his family and his mother, and I believe, at some point, his mother is going to show up, as well. It’s just something that, as an actor, you’re always curious about because that shapes the character. You have your own ideas, and then they reveal more. What’s wonderful is when information is revealed, when you’re working on a TV show, and it’s not contradictory from what you had decided, in your head. It was nice to read, and it didn’t mess with my brain and my concept of the character, too much.
One of the reasons that Brennan was in a place where she could be shot was because she had this fight with Booth that was really emotional, about her being a bad mother. And just being a mother has already changed Brennan. Does the fact that you’re also a mother affect any of that?
DESCHANEL: Yes. If I wasn’t a mother and I was playing a character as a mother, which I did before I was a mother, you use your imagination. But, it’s certainly an easier thing to do now. Brennan is a different mother than I am, but you have that biological response. You know what some of the things that you go through are like, even with the hormonal changes. The minute you become a parent, you’re always going to wonder if you’re doing something wrong, and I certainly experience that on a daily basis. It’s a big challenge, and you can’t help wondering if you’re doing anything wrong. You have to trust your instincts and do what feels right for you.
Brennan is going through that, in the beginning of this episode. Booth and Brennan have a fight. Brennan believes that Booth is criticizing her parenting style, and runs out and ends up in the lab at night, to go finish working on this case, and that’s when she gets shot. Hopefully, I’m not revealing too much, because that happens in the beginning, but it’s quite fitting that Brennan is dealing with her own issue of being a mother herself and, at the core of that, is missing her own mother.
When you’ve lost a parent, you just want to be able to call them up on the phone and say, “How do I cook that thing you used to make for me? What did you do with me, when I was a child? How am I supposed to do this, as a parent?” Especially, when you have a child yourself, you go back and think about how you were parented, how you were mothered and what your parents did for you, and you just want to be able to call and ask them. That’s a huge thing that Brennan is not talking about. It also brings back so many memories and makes her miss her mother. So, it’s quite fitting that this issue that she’s dealing with causes her to see her mother again, in a way, and hopefully helps ease those pains that she’s dealing with because doesn’t have her mother around.
This is an emotional episode, but was it also emotional for you guys to shoot?
DESCHANEL: Absolutely! It was very emotional, especially with scenes between me and my 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 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, it’s a universal thing that you just want to see that person, one more time. Here, Brennan has that chance. She doesn’t want it to end. 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.
DESCHANEL: I think it brings up a lot of emotions for everybody. Booth and my father believe that they are losing me. I’ve been shot, and I flat-lined. He gives a wonderful performance, in the scenes together. Then, there’s something revealed from my mother to my father, through me, that’s a breakthrough for him. It’s an emotional episode for his character. He does a beautiful job.
Everybody always loves the scenes with Brennan and either Cam (Tamara Taylor) or Angela (Michaela Conlin). Will there be more of that, coming up?
DESCHANEL: Yes. I can’t quite get through my brain what’s aired and what hasn’t aired. I can’t tell you what episodes, but there are definitely some heart-to-hearts. We’re overdue for even more connection between Angela and Brennan, I believe. And Cam’s romance is revealed, and Brennan and Cam interact about that.
Is there a chance that Booth and Brennan will ever get married?
DESCHANEL: I think something like this always makes you 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 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. Booth is not going to ask Brennan to marry him again. He’s already said, “You have to ask me.” And 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 look forward to if that will happen. 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.
Will there continue to be some tension between Booth and Brennan?
DESCHANEL: There’s not any blatant tension that I can speak of. I have reason to believe that it will happen later in the season again, but I can’t confirm that. We still have several episodes to shoot for this season, and a couple of them might be delayed until next season. We have seven or eight more to do, and then I think a couple will be moved to next season, so five or six total.
Do you enjoy doing physical comedy, especially doing something like the dance competition?
DESCHANEL: Yes. Watching that episode, 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 refreshing. I enjoy doing comedic things and physical comedy. It’s fun. Brennan thought she could sing, and her mom told her she could sing. Then, she sings and it’s okay. And Brennan thought she could dance. She was so committed to dancing. It was more like Brennan, as a child, thinking she could dance, and just committing completely to this dance competition and loving it so much, but having no clue of how bad she is. I loved that.
When is the new squintern going to appear and how will he fit into the groove of things?
DESCHANEL: I think that’s in the February 25th episode, “The Fact in the Fiction.” Oliver Wells, played by Brian Klugman, is a very interesting intern. Oliver Wells comes in, and he is an out-of-the-box thinker. He has multiple degrees. He challenges Brennan, like nobody has challenged her before. He challenges her to think outside the box. He’s a really fun character, and he’s super smart. Brennan questions whether he’s smarter than she is, which is new and different, as well. Most of the interns are all so different, but they all defer to Brennan and respect her. Not that he doesn’t, but they defer to Brennan and give her that authority while he challenges everything. He doesn’t need this job. He questions everything, and that’s a refreshing character to have in the lab. And Brian does a great job playing it. He’s fun to have onset. It’s very fun to see Brennan challenged, in that way, and you see that very rarely. I think it’s going to be a real exciting episode to see. The case is a twenty-something guy who dabbles in time travel, or attempted space travel. We then find another body and question whether it’s actually him, from the future. Because of this new intern, Brennan almost opens her mind to the idea of time travel.
What can you say about what’s coming with Pelant (Andrew Leeds)?
DESCHANEL: Well, obviously, Pelant is one of the first thoughts everybody has when Brennan is shot. I’m not going to tell you if he’s involved or not. I haven’t read any episodes yet that involve Pelant, but I know that Pelant is coming back this season. I don’t have more information than that because I think they’re breaking those stories right now. I wish I had more information for you, but I don’t.
Are you still interested in or have plans to direct an episode of the show?
DESCHANEL: 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 to get pregnant and have 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. We’ll see.
Bones airs on Monday nights on Fox.