He Knows 'Bones': Executive Producer Hart Hanson Speaks
Today's cuppa: Darjeeling tea, chased with Dublin Morning tea (have to go the dentist, need maximum fortification)
After failing to realize early dreams of being either a heavy-metal guitar god or a physicist, writer/producer Hart Hanson decided to take up writing, and many years later, "Bones" fans are happy he did.
Currently in its fourth season, "Bones," which airs Thursdays on Fox, stars David Boreanaz as FBI Agent Seeley Booth, a man of action who finds himself partnered with cerebral forensic anthropologist -- and successful mystery author -- Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel).
He does people; she does bones; together -- with the help of Brennan's team of scientific "Squints" back at the lab at the fictional Jeffersonian Institution -- they solve crimes.
Their partnership is platonic, but is there sexual tension? Please, this is TV.
Q: We hear that the big consummation moment for Booth and Brennan is coming in the season finale, and perhaps reproduction. I could see Brennan being clinical about it, but Booth? What was your thinking leading up to this?
A: Well, that's totally and completely the story engine driving this entire moment. Brennan is clinical, and Booth is anything but clinical. Merry mix-ups ensue.
But if I tell you the thinking that led to it, I might as well tell you the story, which means I'd be smarter to wait and have you watch it on television.
Can I tell you we thought about it a lot and a lot? That we had buckets and buckets of network and studio input and, despite that, we still got to a story that worked for us?
The general idea is an adage that TV writers and producers ignore at their peril: Give the audience what they expect, in a way they don't expect it.
Q: For such a bright woman, Brennan doesn't seem to be evolving much in her social skills. It is a source of comedy, but will she ever get significantly better?
A: What, you want to end the series? If you do, just say so.
Q: Is there an undercover scenario for Bones and Booth in the back of your mind that's still waiting for the right plot?
A: There are about six. "The World's Strongest Man" competition. Everybody here (but me) is fascinated by reality cooking and fashion shows, so when I die or move on, they can do that. Same with musicals. We want to go to an architectural dig and onto an Indian reservation...
Q: Might romance ever flare up again among the Squints?
A: Definitely. And perhaps even lust.
Q: How has your philosophy of the show changed over four seasons -- or has it?
A: It has not, alas. Find the balance between cases and personal stories, character and humor, and stay interested. The question is, are we successful at it enough of the time to keep our loyal audience?
Q: Will the economic downturn have an effect in the future on the budget at the Jeffersonian?
A: Definitely. I don't know how yet.
Q: Will Angela's dad (played by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top) reappear?
Q: Are there other celebrities who'd like to be on the show,just waiting for the right script?
A: Yes, we've actually gotten to the point where people are asking to be on the show, who love the show and think it would be cool to come aboard. Perhaps because of Billy Gibbons, these include a number of rock stars. We will find ways to use the ones we like and dodge the ones we don't.
Q: How'd you manage to get the peripatetic Stephen Fry -- a prolific Twitterer and blogger -- to stand still long enough to do another "Bones"? What's he doing, and when should that air?
A: Stephen Fry loves doing "Bones." We found his availability months ago, within a four-day window, and confirmed with him that he'd be in the episode then. At that time, we had no idea what the story would be, but we knew it would be intermingled with a Sweets story. He did not disappoint.
He remains one of our favourite ([sic] Hart's from Canada.) recurring guest stars, and we (and he) hope to see more of him in the future. The episode he shot for us is called "Mayhem on the Cross" and should air in April. (HCTV: Perhaps April 2) All of England is on alert.
Q: Now that your dad has been on the show -- he played the cranky vending-machine man in last Thursday's episode, from whom Booth (Boreanaz also directed the episode) snatched a free snack -- are there any other Hansons out there that we might see soon?
A: No more Hansons. Dad was enough, thank you, and he's old and fairly easy to handle compared to the rest.
Q: Without giving away the farm, what's up in the season finale?
A: Sorry, if I give you a hint (and I know you), you'll guess the whole thing. Tune in.
Thanks, Hart. Now get back to work.