Interview: Scott Williams from Bones

A darkly amusing procedural with humor, heart and character, featuring Dr. Temperance Brennan, a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who works with FBI Agent Seeley Booth on murder investigations when the standard methods of identifying a body are useless. Brennan’s special expertise lies in her uncanny ability to read clues left behind in the victim’s bones. The series is inspired by real-life forensic anthropologist and best-selling novelist Kathy Reichs.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Williams who is not only a writer for the series, but also a co-executive producer for the hit series. He talked with us about the series, the writers’ strike, and the famous Moonlighting curse.

Not a lot of people really know exactly what the writers’ strike is about. Can you explain exactly what is that the writers are wanting and who they dealing with?

Foremost among my union’s very reasonable demands, or basically “the real issue”, is what’s being called New Media, i.e. the Internet. What’s “new” about the Internet? Not much, especially since the companies we’re striking against have been making money off it for some time. Companies presently re-run episodes of the shows we write on their websites, which earn them money through download costs and advertising. We’re paid nothing for those downloads and they want to keep it that way. This is the most critical negotiation since the dawn of television, since the Internet represents a new dawn, a radical change in the way people watch shows and movies. In the next ten years, your TV at home will be a computer screen. If the companies get their way, writers, directors and actors will no longer be making residuals on reruns of their material. This is the same as a rock band not being paid when the label sells their CD or an author not being paid when the publisher sells his/her book. At present, the companies have made a deal with the Director’s Guild, so it appears they now at least admit that we’re due compensation for re-use of our material. The question is: Will it be a fair share? The companies will make many billions on the Internet in the next few years. We’re asking 2.5% for having created the work that makes those billions. Hopefully, they’ll realize that’s not asking too much and we can all (writers, actors, directors and crew) go back to work.

Do you provide any insight into how much longer we can expect the strike to last? Do you believe the networks will have to cave at some point?

I have to hope and pray that the companies will do the right thing before the Oscars. If not, this could drag on for many months, which no one wants at all. It would so be devastating to so many people, I don’t know how the economy would recover.

After the strike does end, how long will it take for new episodes to be written and how long before they air?

We have a few scripts that aren’t far from being ready to shoot. Best case scenario, we could be ready to resume shooting two weeks after we return to work.

Will there be any more insight into Dr. Addy’s (Eric Millegan) personal life? Some fans have commented that they feel that it kind of left off in “The Boy in the Tree” with slight details about Naomi.

We’ve talked about all sorts of scenarios for all our characters’ personal lives, but ultimately, the final decisions lay with the show’s creator and my boss Hart Hanson. With Brennan and Booth (Emily Deschanel & David Boreanaz) commanding so much storytelling “space” if you will, and now with the relationship between Hodgins and Angela (TJ Thyne & Michaela Conlin) taking off, not to mention Cam’s rise to prominence, we’ve had limited opportunities to dig into Zack’s personal life. So far.

Fans have commented that they love the Parker and Booth scenes!! Are there going to see more of Booth’s family and their background shown in the future?

We had some fun with Booth and Parker in the Christmas episode that aired before the strike. The challenge is to not “hit the same bell” too often. We’ve covered Booth’s strained relationship to his ex and his feelings about sharing custody of Parker. Until we can find new ground to cover, which we undoubtedly will at some point, we’ll probably maintain our focus on Booth’s relationship to Brennan and out other characters.

The writers have masterfully been able to have the Booth and Bones relationship grow little by little. At one point they will have to put them together. I believe Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz have a truly unique chemistry that can be successful. They are in a league of their own. Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers of Hart to Hart are a close second…and they portrayed a married couple! I wish they would stop comparing Bones to Moonlighting. Why do you fear the Moonlighting curse?

The Moonlighting curse isn’t a curse at all. The fact is with Bruce hooked up with Cybil, viewers found their relationship less interesting. Ratings went down. The unburst bubble, if you will, goes further with audiences than you think.

In movies, our heroes get together at the end. It’s left to the audience’s imaginations what happens next. On TV, your left with two characters in a whole new relationship than the one you’ve come to love and appreciate.

We did finally let Booth and Brennan kiss in that Christmas episode I mentioned before. And Emily and David played the hell out of it. All the feelings, the denial, the suppressed attraction, it was all right there in their eyes. But we left it unrequited, where it belonged. To paraphrase Hart, until their current relationship starts boring people, why mess with it? But he always smiles when he says it. So you never know. At any moment, we could surprise you.

What do the ”Bones” fans mean to you? Do you have had any fan encounters?

Bones has the best fans I’ve ever been around. They tend to be smart and funny. It’s a lot of fun to know that what you write is appreciated by audiences. Their praise for our actors and their characters is praise for us, since we put the words in their mouths and craft the mysteries their solving.

What has been your favorite scene so far with the series?

Picking one would be impossible. I really love our scenes between Booth, Brennan and Dr. Sweets (played by John Francis Daly) the therapist. Same with last year’s scenes with Dr. Wyatt (the incomparable Stephen Fry). Also, our Squints really make the medical banter sing on a regular basis.

Do you have anyone you would like to see guest star on ”Bones”?

Sure, Daniel Day Lewis, Javier Bardem, Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, shall I go on? But if they’re unavailable, we’d love to have Stephen Fry back when his schedule allows.

Interview By: Emma Loggins

– Bones Official Site


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