@HartHanson @SquareChicken With the frenzy building before the seventh season of Bones airs this Thursday night at 8pm et/pt on Fox (can you believe the wait is almost over?!), I figured it was time to check in again with actor TJ Thyne, who we all know and love whether it’s guesting on Fox’s MasterChef, as he did this summer, in an exciting new movie he had a hand in bringing to screens called Shuffle or, of course, as Jack Hodgins, husband to Angela (Michaela Conlin) and new father to Baby Hodgins on Bones.
Having already seen the first two episodes of the new season, I had a slew of questions for Thyne and he obliged them though it’s very clear that he (as well as all the Bones cast) have been taught too well by creator Hart Hanson the fine art of teasing just enough without giving too much away.
Jim Halterman: So, I’ve had a chance to see the first two Bones episodes…
TJ Thyne: Did you see my baby boy?
JH: I did! Hart had told me they had cast the most beautiful baby and I’ve gotta say that baby is adorable!
TJ: Oh my God! So cute and amazing! His name is Noah and he is so precious and adorable. It’s very hard knowing there are days when I’m going to go and work with him and not have a smile on my face. Michaela and I really do seem like new parents. We go bouncing across the soundstage going ‘Where is he?!’ We just can’t wait to get our hands on him!
JH: Has having a baby on the set changed the atmosphere?
TJ: That’s the funny thing that this group already…we’re all so playful and it’s really a loving environment …we haven’t had kids from the start but we’ve been acting like big kids the whole time but it just seems fitting that there are now babies around. You know how it goes with TV and film, you gotta have a baby and you say, ‘We’ll just mention the kid in conversation once in awhile but you won’t see him much’ but these kids are so wonderful and Noah is such a well-behaved baby we keep saying, ‘Bring him in more! Bring him in more!’ so we’re writing him in more and more and more. I haven’t heard him cry yet! He’s the happiest, happiest little baby! In a show surrounded by death it’s so incredible to have this new life and he has such a beautiful spirit. I think we’ll actually have something good that didn’t take a major struggle. These guys have been through so much together and it’s taken them so long to get to where they are and the fears during the pregnancy now is something good.
JH: Now, what’s the full name of Baby Hodgins?
TJ: Michael Staccato Vincent Hodgins. It’s Michael Staccato because of Angela’s Dad wanted to name him ‘Staccato Mambo’ and I was absolutely opposed to that but I somehow got talked into it from Angela in including Staccato. Then Vincent, of course, honoring our friend that is gone and then Hodgins.
JH: I’ve seen how the baby pops up on the new episodes but I’m curious what are we going to see with Jack and Angela? Does that relationship stay as is and they’re just focusing on the baby because, you know, new babies can be stressful.
TJ: Yes, it’s very stressful but I think that’s the thing. Jack is going to be an amazing Dad. He’s going to mess up a lot, of course, but it will be for all the right reasons. And Angela is going to be the really strong Mom that makes sure things goes well and then when no one is looking is crying in the corner going ‘What am I doing? I have no idea what I’m doing?’ They’re going to be this perfect young couple that have a baby and I think in the beginning you’re going to see them struggling with that very real struggle that every parent goes through like the not sleeping thing and ‘What do we do? Why is our kid not doing this or that? What are doing wrong?’ Her Dad comes back, Billy Gibbons comes back, which is always a really fun relationship for me. He comes back, Angela and I have to run off to a case and Angela says ‘We need Dad to babysit’ and I so don’t want to leave Michael with her Dad! So, it’s the two of them struggling in those early stages but what I love about that is that there’s so much material in there. There have been show after show and movie after movie on that same subject matter and we’re in that same boat. She and I have got a plethora of different storylines now that all revolve around the baby. I should say right now, absolutely, it’s focused entirely on the baby but I think Angela and Jack are going to get an easy ride now. Hopefully, I’m crossing my fingers, that for the next season, or two, or three – wink wink – we get to see them have lots of love, enjoying life…and otherwise bringing up baby.
JH: I personally think the show is as strong as ever and having Booth and Brennan together isn’t taking anything away. But were you trepidatious about them being together?
TJ: The one thing about the show that amazes all of us in the cast and the crew is that it just has a new life every new season. There’s something new happening to us, in a way. If you and I had sat down in Season One, after the pilot even, and said ‘Where is the show going to be in its seventh season?’ I never would’ve expected there would be two babies on the way, marriages…I just wouldn’t have thought it. But why I think it works still and why I think the combination of all this newness and relationships and babies and thing works is that it’s a dark show. We have a dark show and, again, because our show runners and writers are so light in real life and that talent, that perfectly balanced, in-between land of quirky and serious and being playfully funny…Hart has found that balance in-between so now to have a show going into its seventh year that focuses on death but has all this life surrounding it, let alone new life surrounding it, it’s still just as engaging and interesting and the relationships are still growing. I mean, Booth and Brennan’s relationship is far from set, you know? We still don’t know what’s really going to be going on and happening so I think it was an interesting way that they revealed their relationship. It’s still in that very serious place but it’s really exciting to think ‘Wow, there really is love being shared between them.’ I think there’s a lot more to tell. Once you get them together, the real drama is going to start. That’s when we’re really going to see the show Bones. It’s going to be a fun ride in season seven and we’re just crossing our fingers that we’ll continue into an eighth.
JH: One of my Twitter followers asked if there are any story lines that you’d liked to see come back on the show?
TJ: I have never gotten my strong desire from Hart Hanson to show Jack’s past. I still feel like this guy, Jack Hodgins, all we know about his early days is that he had a family but he’s now the sole heir of the Cantilever Group and he’s worth billions of dollars [but] we don’t know what happened to his parents or family and he lives in this mansion that we can’t even see because it’s too big for television. Now that we’ve seen Angela’s Dad and Brennan’s Dad has come in and Booth’s Dad has come in and we’ve heard about Sweets’ family, Cam’s daughter…but we haven’t seen what really happened to this guy…we do have a new serial killer that’s really challenging because this guy – or girl – is very smart. I don’t think Jack would admit to what I’m about to say, this is TJ speaking, but he may be smarter than the team. [The serial killer] pisses Jack off because you get Brennan and Booth and Hodgins and Angela and Cam and Sweets together, let alone the Interns mixed in, and there’s going to be very few people on the planet that can outthink these guys but yet this person seems to be doing that and it’s really frustrating them so that will be interesting.
JH: And this is a story that goes on throughout the season, not just a one-episode show, right?
TJ: I hope it will be an arc. I know he may have thrown us into confusion already and we are far from finding him so it will probably be around for awhile.
JH: When are we going to see you on The Finder?
TJ: I keep bugging Hart to get me over there…I keep poking and prodding to get Jack over there. We had fun on the pilot…it feels like we have this new family member. The Finder is there and we have the same parents but it’s like having a brother and sister you didn’t have before. We’re big fans of the show and we’re hoping and crossing our fingers that good things happen for it.
JH: I just feel bad that Geoff Stults is just so unfortunate looking!
TJ: [laughs] And funny and down to earth and cool. The guy’s got it all. He makes guys like me go, ‘Really? Really?’ No bad qualities? Not even one? He is the perfect leading man.
JH: Talk to me about your movie, Shuffle!
TJ: This is a great little project. My friend and I went to USC together, he was in the School of Cinema while I was in the School of Theater – his name is Kurt Kuenne – and we had gotten together after school. We used to always do projects with all our friends and then we graduated and while we were struggling and had no cash and living in our cars and all those things, we put together a little movie, a short film, Validation and we really set out to say ‘Is there anyway we can make a movie that could make the world smile’ and that was a goal of mine. It was a short and it just had that old school kind of charm to it and it did so well. It won, like, 20 film festival awards and it was on YouTube and had this huge following and we just had a blast so after we got 6 million views we thought maybe we should make another project. We have a whole series of black and white short films that are in that realm of romantic comedy and that’s really fun but then he had written a script and was so Twilight Zone and so different and I love that. I used to sit up with my brother and watch Twilight Zone episodes. It has this Twilight Zone-y feel but it has got the heart of Frank Capra. My favorite film of all time is It’s A Wonderful Life so it has a little bit of Validation, a whole lot of Twilight Zone and Frank Capra thrown into one. We got together a team of people, which includes Tamara Taylor and Patricia Belcher and a bunch of crew members from Bones and we made this movie that we’re all proud of. It’s very stylized so it’s probably not going to be for everyone but we had a blast doing it and it was kind of our throwback to days gone by.
JH: What is Tamara’s part in the movie? Can you tell me?
TJ: No, I can’t tell you. When you see the movie you’ll know why I can’t tell you.
JH: Gotcha. I did see her in the trailer.
TJ: She’s in it and she’s great but…that just right there goes to show you what the Bones set is all about. Here we are we shoot with each other every day, five days a week, for 14 hours and then as soon as we get a hiatus we’re all like ‘What are you working on? Do you want to work me? I have this project, let’s do it!’ It just goes to show you what a blessing it is to go to work at the Fox Stage 6 everyday.
JH: You have over 62,000 followers on Twitter, which is about 57,000 more than me! Do I have to get on a Fox show to get that many followers?
TJ: [laughs] I don’t know where it came from but I love that they’re there. I really get Twitter. I think social media in general is a fascinating thing. It’s changed our industry, as you know, that you can just reach out and be talking with fans and I think Twitter is such an amazing place. You are limited to what you can say, it forces people to be witty and quick and I like that. I don’t know, I have a lot of fun with the fans that are on there. Some funny people, too! You just post anything and people’s responses just cracks me up! I’m a big fan of my Twitter fans and of Twitter. It’s a great thing.
Bones season premiere is Thursday at 9/8c on Fox. The Finder premieres in January on Fox. For more on Shuffle visit www.ShuffleTheMovie.com.