John Francis Daley on co-writing tonight's episode of 'Bones' and sharing a scene with his dad for the first time. (Awww.)
You probably didn’t need another reason to watch Bones tonight, but here’s one anyway: The hour, which took Bones and Booth into the world of myths, was penned by none other than Bones cast member John Francis Daley.
In a chat with EW, Daly, whose name also earns a writing credit on Horrible Bosses, out July 8, breaks down his first experience writing an episode of Bones, the “nerve-wracking” scene he shared with his father (who guest stars in the ep), and the season finale of Bones. (Preview: “…they are not renewing my contract.” By the way, I’m totally throwing you off with that snippet.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me how this episode fell into your lap?
JOHN FRANCIS DALEY: [Showrunner] Hart [Hanson] asked if I was interested in writing an episode, and I said, “Of course.” And so when we went to meet with them, Jonathan Goldstein, my writing partner, and I came up with about eight different ideas for worlds to set the episode in. And when we got there, seven of them they had already done, or [they] were doing. That’s the problem with doing an episode of the sixth season of a show — it’s difficult to find something that hasn’t been done on it already. But fortunately, the myth-busting episode was not one that they had done yet, and they were interested. So we were able to use an idea of our own.
How did you come up with this idea?
It’s funny; we had an idea for an animated movie awhile back that would star mythological creatures, like the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti and all that. And we didn’t really pursue it for a long time and found out after the fact that [someone] was doing exactly that, an animated movie with those creatures — we missed it. So we still thought that the world of mythological creatures is fun and hasn’t really been tapped into a lot. And I figured out a way to incorporate it into a crime-solving show.
So the episode is about busting myths, but not like Mythbusters, right?
Oh, yeah, and that’s something that might be misconstrued. It’s more things like finding Jesus’s face on a piece of toast — figuring out how that could happen. Or a crying religious statue, or a Yeti, or Bigfoot. It’s a different look on what myth-busting is. [But] I watched the show that you’re talking about for many seasons.
What was it like having to write Sweets, who you’ve — in a way — gotten to know all these years by playing him? Was that weird? Did Jonathan help you with that?
We pretty much did half and half on Sweets’s voice. Obviously, I had been doing the show long enough that I pretty much have my finger on the Sweets’s pulse, but Jonathan has seen many episodes and my scenes in them, so he sort of has an idea of Sweets’s voice as well. But, obviously, that was the easiest voice to write in.
Who was the hardest?
The hardest would have had to be either Angela or Cam, Michaela Conlin’s character or Tamara Taylor’s.
Really? I was expecting you to say Brennan.
Honestly, I don’t know. I think Brennan was actually more easy to write for because we figured out how she says things in the most difficult to understand way. So you kind of keep that in mind when you write for her and you’re generally on point.
You told me previously that you hadn’t wanted to make the episode Sweet-heavy because that felt weird to you. Yet, because Emily and David were filming the spin-off, you had to include yourself a lot more. How is the Brennan-Booth absence dealt with story-wise?
In the original draft, they were going to be in a lot of the interrogation room scenes. And, fortunately, they had started to put Sweets into a lot more of those scenes in the place of Booth, anyway. So it wasn’t that difficult of an adjustment to take them out of those scenes and put Sweets in it. But that is how it became so Sweets-heavy, because all the interrogation room scenes that were supposed to have Booth and Brennan in them now have Sweets.
How is it explained that they’re not there?
It’s never really explained. [Laughs] We have enough scenes with Booth and Brennan riffing on each other and being the ones to solve the crime, for the most part. I don’t think that the fan universe is going to be too upset — at least I hope. I haven’t got any death threats yet.
Don’t worry, I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like Sweets.
But in moderation. It’s like with any good alcohol: You have too much, and you’ll be sick.
Yeah. Shoot for a happy drunkenness.
I give people a good buzz.
In the episode, is Sweets excited about taking on the interrogation role?
Absolutely. And the best part was, when we were writing it, there was a role in the show that I thought would be great for my dad. There had been talk of bringing him on for an episode for awhile now, and this was fortunately the episode where we got to bring him in. He plays someone I’m interrogating in one of the scenes, which is great. I learned a lot of my technique from him, so it’s a funny bit of trivia there. I look nothing like him. No one will know that he’s my dad until they look at the credits and see “R. F. Daley.” Otherwise, we do not look at all alike. But I do look like the mailman in our hometown, so I don’t understand why that is.
[Laughs] How was filming that scene?
It was kind of nerve-wracking. It was actually one of the most nervous moments I’ve ever had on the show, because I knew that he was probably nervous as well. So I had nerves of my own and sympathy nerves. So it was just double the nerves. But we were able to get through it, and it ended up being a really good scene.
Sympathy nerves? That’s cute.
I have sympathy nerves for everyone. I think it’s the half-Jew in me.
It’s better than Catholic guilt. I have that.
I do as well! Double the shame.
Are there any great Sweets and Daisy moments?
Unfortunately not. In this episode, they wanted to alternate through the interns. So we got Vincent Nigel-Murray, played by Ryan Cartwright, who I think is hilarious. So he’s the intern they’re enlisting to help them with the case in this one. And because it is a pretty comedic episode, I think that he’s great for it. He’s got very good comic timing. That said, obviously, Carla as Daisy is also fantastic and would have been great on the episode as well. But I’m hearing that she’s going to be coming up soon in another episode, so it’s always nice to bond with her.
So in this episode, are we going to learn anything surprising about Sweets?
In this one, it’s pretty much straightforward Sweets. We don’t really explore any of his dark past in this. It would have been interesting, though, if something happened to him with a Yeti back in the day, and he’s still going through the traumatic consequences of that. [Laughs] But no, he’s actually pretty happy in this one. I think there has been talk of exploring more of his childhood in some upcoming episodes, so it’s always nice to change it up a bit and be able to do some dramatic moments as well.
Last time I spoke with Stephen Nathan, he teased a tragedy at the end of the season. Please tell me Sweets is not involved.
I just know that they are not renewing my contract, so I don’t know what that means — I’m kidding. I don’t know. I have no idea. I feel like the cast is usually the last to know if something horrible is going to happen. But my answer is I have no idea.
Bones airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET
(Hillary Busis contributed to this report.)