DOWN TO THE BONES. Getting ready for Bones season 8, actor David Boreanaz spoke to DA MAN about last season’s cliffhanger finale, the vampire craze spawned by Angel and his journey from struggling actor to leading man.
We caught David Boreanaz during a brief interlude in his very busy schedule. He had just returned from Comic-Con, America’s biggest comic book and pop culture convention, where he is worshipped by legions of fans for his role as a heroic vampire with a soul on the cult hit TV shows Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel. And the very next day after our interview, production officially began on the eighth season of Bones, the incredibly popular crime drama in which Boreanaz plays Seeley Booth, a special agent for the FBI, who partners up with a brilliant and acerbic forensic anthropologist to solve the murders others can’t.
Bones, which can be seen regionally on Fox TV Asia, has amassed a huge following thanks to its clever plotting, inventively grim murder mysteries and, perhaps most importantly of all, the will-they-or-won’t-they romantic tension that has played out between Boreanaz’s Special Agent Booth and Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, played by Emily Deschanel.
In the last season, Booth and Brennan’s relationship reached a new milestone with the birth of their baby daughter. But the show’s writers didn’t give the new parents much respite. In the tense season finale, directed by Boreanaz himself, Brennan is forced to go on the run with her child after a brilliant serial killer manages to frame her for murder.
As big Bones fans, we had to see if we could get any hints from Boreanaz about how the cliffhanger gets resolved. He said, “The script of the first episode is actually sitting on my desk right now and I’ve got to read it tonight.”
Without getting into details, he did reveal, “The cliffhanger will definitely not get wrapped up in one episode. Pelant [the killer who framed Brennan] will continue to be a threat. So I don’t think things will get back to normal for them that quickly.”
Even though he had not read the scripts for the new season yet, Boreanaz knows the storylines intimately due to his creative involvement in the show, both in front of and behind the camera. He helmed last season’s finale episode, and several others including the series’ 100th episode. Due to the real-life pregnancy of his co-star Deschanel, Bones last season was a little shorter than usual. This gave Boreanaz the freedom to take on some other projects, including directing an of Bones’ spinoff The Finder. “I like directing because it’s creative. I like working with the writers and breaking down a script and putting it all together.”
“But it can also be intense, especially if you’re acting as well. They asked if I wanted to direct the premiere but I think I’ll wait till later this season. Directing is definitely something I want to do more of in the future though.”
Boreanaz knew he wanted to be an actor since the age of seven, inspired by Yul Brynner’s performance in The King and I. After college, he decided to pursue acting seriously in California. He made ends meet by parking cars and handing out towels at a sports club until 1993, when he got his first TV gig as a guest appearance on the wildly popular at the time sitcom Married With Children, playing the teenage daughter’s burly biker boyfriend. But his big breakthrough came a few years later when he was cast as Angel on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.
Angel was originally meant to be a single story arc character on the show, not a member of the regular cast. But series’ showrunner Joss Whedon, who went on to direct this year’s mega-blockbuster The Avengers, decided to change his plans.
“When Angel first appeared, he was a pretty mysterious guy. He barely said anything in the first few episodes. But there was definitely something about the chemistry between Sarah [Michelle Gellar] and I, that Joss could see and the fans definitely responded to also. I’m happy they did, of course,” Boreanaz said.
The love story between Gellar’s undead hunter Buffy Summers and Angel, the vampire with a soul of gold, would, of course, become a template for Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood and dozens of other vampiric tales of romance that have seen a serious uptick in popularity in just the last few years. Angel appeared in Buffy’s first episode, which aired in 1997. While refusing to say he was the proto-Robert Pattinson, Boreanaz said, “It’s crazy all the vampire stuff now. I definitely think Joss and the writers definitely tapped into something there, because you can see it everywhere now and I think what they’re doing with it is great.”
The character of Angel proved so popular that a spin-off of the same name, involving him going to LA to start a detective agency. Over that show’s beloved five season run, Boreanaz proved his dramatic range and his ability to anchor a hit TV show. After Angel ended in 2004, he quickly landed his role on Bones, which has been a ratings winner for Fox television for the last seven years.
In addition to his work on Bones, Boreanaz has gotten a number of big screen credits under his belt as well, including turns in Valentine and The Mighty Macs. His last film role was in Officer Down, in which he stars opposite veteran actor James Woods. Officer Down is scheduled for release later this year.
Like his character Booth, Boreanaz is a huge hockey fan, especially of his hometown team, the Philadelphia Flyers. But he’s not just a spectator, he’s an avid player himself who continues to play to this day. “I work out and hit the gym throughout the week, but on weekend I’ll still play pick-up hockey games too.”
At 43, Boreanaz since that it is indeed getting a little harder to maintain his impressive physique. “Fortunately I have a really great physical trainer who keeps me on my toes and I do a good mix of cardio and weight training throughout the week, so I usually just get one day off from working out.”
Although he’s come a long way since his days as a struggling actor, Boreanaz remains remarkably modest, never failing to site the excellent creative teams he has worked as the ones responsible for his success. ”I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been able to work with some amazing people, and I never take that for granted.”
Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling: Jeff K. Kim