Interview with David Boreanaz from Bones

Much to my fangirl’s delight, I got the chance to be in on a conference call earlier this week with David Boreanaz, who plays Agent Seeley Booth on Bones (& was Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel years ago). He talks a lot about the upcoming 99th & 100th episodes, the first of which airs tonight on FOX at 8/7c. David was great to talk to and seemed like he really enjoyed talking about this great show. Check it out below, and don’t miss the return of Bones tonight!

What was it like to shoot that long-awaited and highly built-up and two kissing scenes in the hundredth episode?

D. Boreanaz – I didn’t necessarily look at it like a hundredth episode. I looked at it as an episode that I was really fortunate to, again, be able to direct like I did last year. To me it’s just the work in taking care of that as best as I possibly could and as creatively as I could. The insight that I had going into it, knowing the storyline and knowing exactly how I wanted to do those two moments, I think that the audience is going to be really pleased. I certainly was for both those moments, and I think we see both those characters grow in a way from the past where they came from, some insight, and also in the future to see what’s going to happen with them next. It was entertaining and a lot of fun and I enjoyed the challenges.

Read more of the interview after the jump!

I wanted to ask a question for all the Bones trivia lovers out there. In one of the promotional video clips, you gave us a list of items that Booth carries in his pockets. I was wondering, could you please review the list and give us your explanation why each of those items is significant to Booth?

D. Boreanaz – Sure. I think I’ll keep some as a mystery as well, since a lot of things have not been seen yet. I carry a gold Zippo lighter, which is reminiscent of his training days in the Army as a ranger; he’s got a poker chip to remind him of his gambling issues that we never really tapped into with Booth; some dice in his pocket, in his right pocket, that he likes to fiddle around with if he’s interrogating people, again a reference to his gambling days; a St. Christopher medal that he keeps on him, again, because he’s a religious kind of a guy so he keeps St. Christopher to protect him. And let’s see, what else do I have in my arsenal? I wear a Wittnauer watch on my left wrist. I can’t tell you what’s inscribed because maybe that will come out in an episode one day. And, that’s pretty much it.

Do you think there’s another 100 episodes in the show and in you?

D. Boreanaz – Wow, that’s an interesting question. I think that there are plenty more episodes. It doesn’t matter if it’s – I started this venture with the pilot and didn’t even think about where it was going to go and just take it show-to-show, episode-to-episode. The future’s very bright for the show. I see it as a show that’s really found its legs and can really go to some really unique places. We’re now actually shooting the season finale, so I take it episode-to-episode, show-to-show, and don’t set myself up too much for discouragement if it were to end tomorrow.

I would like to know how it came about that you are directing the 100th episode, which is the flashback. Which order did these things come in? Did you say, “I’d like to direct the flashback,” and they decided, well let’s move that to the 100th episode. Or did they have you directing the 100th episode, or did you say, “I’d like to direct an episode,” and this is how it worked out in the rotation?

D. Boreanaz – It pretty much worked out in rotation, and at the time, we didn’t necessarily know if it was going to be a flashback. I wasn’t privy to know what the episode was going to be about until about six episodes into the start of the season, so luck of the draw, just wanted to be pushed back as far as the episodes and rotations were concerned. I knew the 100th episode was coming up and I graciously talked to Hart about it and it just so happened to be this is the way it happened. I fell in a good spot.

You’ve directed a couple episodes of TV before, so I was wondering, how does the process change with practice? Does it get easier?

D. Boreanaz – It doesn’t really get any easier. I think it’s always challenging to look at a script and make it your own while maintaining the sense of what the style of the show is. It’s a challenge whether depending upon the genre and what it’s all about. Each has its challenges and what you bring to it is your touch and what you see as far as your vision is concerned. You do the homework and you prepare. I have a very clear vision as to what I want at the end of my prep, and then I throw it out and let the creative process take over.

It was recently reported in a publication that you don’t want Booth and Brennan together, and obviously that got the fans all riled up, and Hart tweeted out, don’t worry, you’re just joking. So, would you like to clarify that? Do you think Booth and Brennan should be together eventually? Never? ASAP?

D. Boreanaz – Right. I see the two characters and they really pretty much are together, and how you want to see them and how the fans want to see the two of them together, I have my views on it. I think that the two of them worked really great off of each other and I’m not saying that I didn’t want to see them together. I just don’t think – I think everybody wants to see them together in a different way, whether that’s as a couple, in a relationship. They work very well together and it’s great to see them solve these crimes. It’s also great to see them get into their personal lives, but for right now, I think I still maintain that they should be partners and let’s see what happens after this season, where they go, because it’s a pretty good season ender.

Was there a particular scene in the 100th episode that you directed that came off better than you had anticipated, and if so, can you elaborate on that?

D. Boreanaz – You know, I was excited for a lot of the scenes that I took on, as the 100th evolved and I was shooting it. We actually were supposed to shoot a few scenes outside of the location that we picked for one specific, a couple/few scenes, and we had to move inside because the weather was pretty bad. So we had to think on our toes where to put it, and we found a better place inside the location that we were using, which was an old theater building downtown that really was a beautiful place. It was a scene that we shot coming up the stairs. We bust this guy and she punches him, and it was a location that we got more valuable out of with the backdrop. That scene came out great, and also the end scene where I walk away from the rain, where the cab drives off, I’m there by myself, there’s a nice, real low angle wide shot I set up, which pleasingly surprised me and worked out to be one of my better shots.

How was it having Eric back on for this episode and is there was any chance that he’d come back, maybe to help you guys solve something from jail?

D. Boreanaz – Yes, he was great. He worked out really wonderful. It was great to have him back, and he had to be wearing that suit for quite some time, and took a couple blows with a baseball bat. He was a real trooper. I think his character is very valuable, was and has been since the beginning. As the story has evolved, unfortunately he went his own particular way, as far as what the writers wanted to do with him. But he was a great addition to have in the 100th, and going back and seeing his relationship, how that evolved with Hodgins was a lot of fun. I thought he did a great job and it was great to see him back in his scrubs.

[Note from me: Now it was time for my question. I was definitely fangirly as I told him before my question how much of a fan of his I was and how excited I was to learn I got to speak with him again. lol]

Jenny: I know – and this is more of a “you” question than a show question – I know for a long time after Buffy and Angel ended, fans saw and heard about you, and their first thought was of the Angel character. It wasn’t surprising, I guess, because the show’s had such a cult following. In my opinion, Bones has slowly grown into that similar type of fan reaction, where they’re quite vocal and rabid. After five seasons, do you get recognized, as you rightly should now, as Seeley Booth more than you do as Angel?

D. Boreanaz – I think you get recognized as whatever you put out there. It’s funny, we were at an event Saturday and everybody was screaming Bones at me. Well, I don’t play Bones, I play Booth so you know, you recognize what you’re doing and that show, Buffy was so long ago, as well as Angel so it was a great time on all those shows and I seem to be recognized for David as an actor, and they particularly say, yes, you do great work in Bones we’d loved you in Angel, or we loved you in Buffy. It’s a blessing to be a part of such great shows that they’re so recognizable. They’re definitely historic. I love the following of the fans and they’ve supported me for a long time and I continue to, hopefully, give them back more of Bones and I’ve got a lot more up my sleeve, so I look forward to giving them even possibly maybe another show down the line, and more characters for them to love. I really appreciate their support.

How’s Booth going to react to the fact that both Sweets and Jared are going to get married before him, basically? Won’t that – isn’t that kind of one of his life goals, and I think – what do you think?

D. Boreanaz – I don’t know. Booth is who he is, and I think after the 100th, we’ll see that he’s got to make some changes internally, which is fine for him. He doesn’t see anything as a loss. He’s very optimistic, always has been. I don’t think one of his main goals is to get married. I think Booth is a pretty simple, blue collar kind of a guy, and he loves the simple things in life. If he were to find somebody that is a fit for him and she’s also in the same boat, then he’ll possibly entertain those thoughts, but you never know with his character. He’s got a lot of demons that we’ve never really tapped into, and we look forward to diving into a little bit of his past for next season, as well as trying to figure out his past and how that works with Bones, we’ll see what happens.

In the 99th episode, it was a really clever way of analyzing the structure of Bones via that interviewer who came in an analyzed her book. What do you think is the balance of what’s important between the case, as Bones would say, and the characters, as everyone else seems to say?

D. Boreanaz – We thrive ourselves, really, on the relationship, having the two of them drive it, and the balance is very – as far as the stories are concerned, are you asking me? Or just balance of how the two of them could get intimate? What, exactly, are you asking?

I guess I’m asking what you consider to be important, since that was a fun little … argument they had in that episode.

D. Boreanaz – Oh, yes, we did have an argument. God, it was so long ago. The balance between the two of them personally?

What’s important – the case or the character?

D. Boreanaz – Oh, I see what you’re saying. For the characters, they’re there to solve the case, obviously, and it’s very important, and it’s also important for their characters to grow. For me, personally, I’m more into the relationship, making the show about the relationship about the two of them, that’s what intrigues me. But as far as the character is concerned, they want to solve the case. Does that help?

This show has been one of those show building shows. It didn’t start out as a major, major hit, and yet it somehow kept getting renewed and then it went to Thursday nights and people said, “Oh my God, look, it’s beating things!” What has patience meant to this show? Fox’s patience, your patience, everybody’s patience in terms of building this.

D. Boreanaz – It’s one of the biggest things you have to have, especially when you start a show off, is patience. And you have to pray and hope that the studio and the network have the same patience as you would. The development of the show has spanned from trying to make it procedural, which they wanted in the beginning, and … saying that we wanted it to be a relationship-driven show. I think in the long run, you can see that the relationship part of the show won out more over the procedural, dark procedural, that they had in mind. And that just developed. And that was the work that myself and Emily did to develop these characters and the hard work we do for each scene and for each moment and for each episode, that we don’t take it for granted. Whether it’s the first show, the 50th or the 100th, it’s really about making the show better by making the relationship better, and then always going back to the relationship. Patience, very much so. We needed a lot of patience, and we need more patience to see this show grow.

Where it’s at now, I think it is at a great place and can even get better and bigger. The characters have all developed and they’re in a good place right now and it’s going to be fun to shake a few things up at the end of this season. You can only hope that the characters grow, which I think that they will, and you have to have patience with that as well. We take it one step at a time. We’re the little show that could, and the little show that has, and we’re very fortunate to have succeeded on Thursday nights. It’s a tough lineup. For me, I think one of the pleasing things about it is, we’re able to take out some of these comedies and look at Bones as almost a dramadie. It would be nice if the show was recognized a bit more in the categories of the Emmys or the Golden Globes or the People’s Choice, but again, I say that only for the hard work of the people in the crew that have worked so hard on this. We value ourselves as a strong relationship show that gets better and better, and you have to have a lot of patience with everything.

Without blowing smoke up your butt or being flippant about it in any way, you have had several shows here in a row that have had nice long runs, have been slow built but have all done very well. You’ve been on TV for a long time. Are you the type of guy who, as busy as you are, can take a step back and maybe say, “My God, look at what has happened to me here, and for quite a long time!” Do you ever have those Sally Field moments looking in the mirror saying, “My God, they like me, they really like me!”

D. Boreanaz – I don’t know, that’s pretty hard to do. I take the work for what it is, and always have. As a kid, my parents always installed that it’s good that you have a job and you’re working, and God, I’m so fortunate. Hart always says, “David, you really should just take a moment to be proud of what you’ve accomplished and be proud of the show. Take five minutes.” And I’m always, like, “Yes, okay, I’ll take five minutes.” And then after 30 seconds, I think, “How can we make this show better? How can we make these characters better?” The bar usually is set pretty high for me in terms of some things. I’ll walk away from the show very happy, and I’ll set the bar for the next level pretty high.

I think it’s pretty much just in my competitive nature to be like that and set the bar so high. Sure, there are some disappointments along the way, but I think through that, you become a stronger person in the long run in doing so. And in becoming a stronger person, you find your soul and that creative moment to pop in a way that’s going to. Yes, I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I’m proud that I’ve been able to be so successful in this arena. I’m glad that I’m able to entertain and be a part of people watching shows and enjoying the work. It just feels, to me, like I’m always striving to do more and get better. To be able to sit back and smell the roses, I can do that but it’s difficult. Maybe someday I’ll be able to sit back and look back and say, “Wow, this is pretty amazing.” But for right now, I just keep going forward and keep pushing myself. I do enjoy it, but I tend not to listen to all the other stuff. I just do my work and see what happens.

I apologize that this isn’t a Bones question, but today is the first anniversary of Andy Hallet’s (Lorne on Angel) death. I was wondering if you had any reminiscence of him.

D. Boreanaz – Yes, Andy was – thanks for telling me that, I didn’t know that – a great spirit, a great person who brought a great character to a Joss Whedon universe. When I found the news, I gave his parents a phone call and just wanted to pass on my condolences and recognize his talent as what he brought to the table for that show. It’s always a shame when a great spirit like that, a great talent, is taken from the world. Nobody wants to hear that news, and if you’re close enough to that person, it was obviously a big shock when it happened. God will rest his soul, and that’s really all I have to say about that.

You said that you didn’t watch the first episode before directing the 100th episode. Would you suggest that fans don’t watch the first episode before watching the 100th episode?

D. Boreanaz – No, I wouldn’t suggest that or say that they have to do anything. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. I didn’t watch it because I didn’t – you know, I shot it and I knew about it. I didn’t want to really study anything that was already done by the director who did that, Greg …, who did a great job directing that. I just wanted to see the script for what it was and bring the characters to a place that my vision was with it. But for fans out there, you can either watch the pilot episode to get an idea or not, it’s really up to them.

You were talking a little bit earlier about how important relationships are on the show, that it be more of a relationship-driven show than procedural. I wondered if you could talk to us a little bit about how bringing in the family members of the various characters has spoken to that desire of, apparently, both you and Emily wanting to do that, and what family members we might be seeing soon.

D. Boreanaz – We’ll kind of tap into Booth’s family members a little bit more, maybe, in the next season. We got a good insight and more into Bones’ family characters in the past three seasons. It’s nice that we’ve been able to see Booth’s grandfather. That would be great to tap into his world a little bit with maybe his mom, and his relationship that he had with his dad, even if his dad’s around. That’s stuff that we’re probably going to move into, but I think it adds. It definitely gives some nice flavor to the relationship and understanding the relationship, and then bringing those two closer together. I think that’s a great opportunity to see their family and their lives and how the two relate to each other.

I know that one of the great things about Bones is how, with each case, different guest stars get to come in, and you’ve had a lot of really wonderful guest stars on the show over the season. If you had your choice, who would be your ideal guest star for the show that hasn’t appeared yet, and why?

D. Boreanaz – I always wanted James Garner. It was a nice correlation between what he could bring to the table, obviously, and how it could relate to Booth’s character. It would be nice to have him onboard. Brian Dennehy would be a really great choice, too. It would be fun to see him make a mark in through Booth’s family somehow. Also, Elaine Stritch, Broadway actress, she would be great. I’m open to anyone, pretty much. Stephen Fry, I loved having him. Let’s see who else I’d love to have on – I guess off the top of my head, that’s about it.

As we’re celebrating the 100th episode, I was wondering if you had a particular favorite episode or favorite moment from all the past seasons.

D. Boreanaz – I’ve had that question a few times. It’s tough to say what exactly, what moment, that I really enjoyed. There are so many over the 100 episodes that I really enjoyed. We had fun doing the Halloween episode. That was great. I loved shooting the pilot because it was new and challenging and everybody was like, is this show going to go? I kind of love that fear aspect. Other than that, I loved shooting the 100th. I thought it was great. It was fun to go back in time. That was a lot of fun. There are so many moments, I don’t even know how I can even remember most of them. I’d have to really sit and focus on that one.

What more can you tell us about the high school reunion episode coming up?

D. Boreanaz – Just that it was great to go back to her space and see the reunion and see how Booth reacted to some of these people that she was in high school with. It was great getting insight into her high school and her early years and how she developed as Bones. Other than that, it was a nice high school moment. Maybe there’s a nice dance between me and her that happens, but I don’t want to spoil anything else.

Is there a little tidbit of information that you can talk about in regards to one of the characters in an upcoming episode that the viewers can look forward to seeing?

D. Boreanaz – You’re reaching to see who gets married, aren’t you?

I’m trying.

D. Boreanaz – Obviously the disappointment from Sweets will be … in the 100th episode because all of his findings are going to be unrealistic. But in the season finale, there’ll be a big shift, change, not only for the two characters here, but with everybody. I think it’s a really great season finale. We shot the last scene last week, at the end of the episode, and it was very moving. It was hard to get through, but I think that it’s going to elevate these characters even more so for the next seasons to come.

[David had time for one last comment, after he spent an extra 5 minutes taking questions. 🙂 ]

D. Boreanaz – I just really appreciate all the love and the support, especially from the fans that have tapped into Bones from the beginning. It’s hard to believe when you say you’ve reached the 100th episode. Me, personally, I’ve taken it always one episode at a time, one scene at a time, and I just want to thank everybody for being a part of 100 episodes, and especially all the reporters and the media staff that have taken their time to spend either being on the set or coming to the upfronts or taking interviews and time in helping the show grow, whether they were episodes you loved or episodes that you didn’t like. We look forward to entertaining the fans, first and foremost, with great shows and great episodes. We look forward to doing that for quite some time here, so enjoy the 100th episode and enjoy the many shows that come after that.

Again, thank you to David for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us! Check out the new episode of Bones tonight on FOX at 8/7c!

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