Emily Deschanel (Bones)

Emily Deschanel: The Interview (Bones)
Interesting Tidbits

Emily Deschanel is a vegan and she grew up in Italy, Canada, France, Yugoslavia, England, and South Africa.

Emily Deschanel is a talented actress that has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows. She is also the older sister of Zooey Deschanel (Jess from the other hit Fox TV Show “New Girl”). However, she is best known these days as the witty and attractive forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan on the show “Bones,” which is shown on Fox every Monday at 8pm. The show revolves around Dr. Brennan and her FBI Agent partner/ love interest Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) as they solve murder cases and mysteries. Shakefire had a chance to talk to Emily about the show and a bit about her sister Zooey.

: Hi Emily!

SF: Out of curiosity, 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, but yes, I do get grossed out for sure by things. I'm trying to think of the last one. I mean the episode we’re working on right now is a burnt one, which is gross, but it's not icky, gooey or something. However, 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.

Yes, I do get grossed out, but the ones that mostly have really affected me were earlier on in the series. I think I really have become desensitized, which I don't think is necessarily a good thing, but it happens. I, for research on the show, have gone to the coroner’s office and that was much more disturbing to me than what we do on our show because I know it's fake, and it doesn't stink like it does there, but yes, it can be definitely disgusting.

SF: Last week’s episode (“The Shot in the Dark”) was a great episode and after those events, can you talk about how she will change over the season after this particular 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. She is kind of hyper rational and has cut off her emotions in many ways, even though, over the last few years, she has 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. I think that Brennan feels like the way she's behaved, and after these events, has shined a light on her behavior and maybe encourages her to change a bit.

It's a big encounter.  Basically, my character is shot, and then I have an encounter. She believes it 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 then flat lines.

So many people will interpret it to be that she's gone to heaven. Her interactions with her mother reveal things from her past. Also it effects Brennan now and encourages her to have a different perspective on her behavior and possibly encourage her to change it.

SF: What kind of a difference is it to have this insight with these things with her mother, because in the past seasons, you’ve only gotten little bits and pieces of what their relationship was like?
ED: 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.  
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.  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, which 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 actress, 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.

SF: What can you say about the scenes with Brennan’s dad (Ryan O’ Neal)?
ED: 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 that makes him emotional. It is kind of a breakthrough in a way for him and an emotional episode for his character. He does a beautiful job and there's a communication between my mother and my father through my character.

SF: Can you talk about how being a mother has changed Brennan?
ED: Yes.  If I wasn't a mother, and I was playing a character as a mother, and I've done that before I was a mother, you use your imagination, but it’s certainly an easier thing to do. Of course, Brennan is a different mother than I am, but you have that kind of biological response. For instance, with some of the things that you go through are like and even the hormonal changes.

The minute you become a parent, I think that 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 I just think that it’s probably a bad thing for a parent to do, because you don’t want your child picking up on that, but 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, obviously, 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 again at night to go finish working on this case, and that’s when she gets shot. Basically, it’s quite fitting, of course, that Brennan is dealing with her own issue of being a mother herself and, at the core of that, is missing her own mother.

I think that’s also something that, 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, how do I do this, what did you do with me when I was a child, how am I supposed to do this as a parent and just life skills? Especially, when you have a child yourself, you go back and think about how you were parented, how you were mothered, what your parents did for you, and you just want to be able to call them and ask them.

I think that’s a huge thing that Brennan is not talking about, but it’s got to bring up so much for her when she’s giving birth and she’s lost her mother and just trying to figure out how to be a good parent, how to be a good mother and not having that resource of her mother. 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, in a way, causes her to see her mother again and hopefully helps ease those pains that she’s dealing with because doesn’t have her mother around.

SF: Now my last question is about you and your sister Zooey. Two siblings being on hit TV shows on the same network with two totally different characters and shows is unheard of. How similar or different are you and your sister?
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?

SF: That makes sense. Well, thank you for talking us today Emily. I cannot wait to see the rest of the season and the future episodes. Good luck!
ED: Thank you!

Paul Arca
Interview by Paul Arca
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