‘Devil in Ohio’ Star Emily Deschanel on Her ‘Bones’ Trip to Netflix

Emily Deschanel doesn’t know why Hollywood has continued to cast her as doctors, but she’s not going to start protesting now.

“I don’t know what screams ‘science’ about me, but I’ll take it,” he tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed over Zoom with a laugh. “When I got the part Bones, a friend of mine was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that must be your dream role,’ knowing how much I loved learning about forensic science. … Science was my favorite subject growing up, so I’m not going to argue with that. I also enjoy it.”

More than five years after ending her 12-season run as forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan on Fox’s beloved trial drama. BonesDeschanel is back on TV at Netflix’s Devil in Ohioplaying a hospital psychiatrist whose world falls apart when she decides to shelter a troubled teen on the run from a satanic cult.

The role is a departure from the crime/procedural genre that has defined most of Deschanel’s career, which, after Boneshas included a guest role as Nathan Fillion’s ex-wife on ABC The noob and a 12-episode arc as a recovering junkie on TNT animal Kingdom.

For Deschanel, things have a funny way of coming full circle. He first met Daria Polatin, the author, creator and showrunner of Devil in Ohio—in the mid-’90s, when they were both studying acting at Boston University. They kept in touch after graduating, but eventually lost touch, even if they continued to check on each other’s work from afar.

So when he was pitched the idea of ​​starring in an eight-episode adaptation of Devil in Ohio Last summer, Deschanel was intrigued by both the prospect of reuniting with her former college classmate and exploring what would compel her character, Dr. Suzanne Mathis, to commit “a major ethical violation” with a patient named Mae. (Madeleine Arthur) who puts the rest of her family at risk.

“Suzanne has some things that happened in her past that make her more susceptible to wanting to save someone like Mae,” explains Deschanel. “I think investigating where Mae came from comes from Suzanne’s past and the trauma that she herself experienced, and the fact that she never fully faced what she experienced. … It’s almost as if Suzanne is trying to save herself through Mae, save her younger self than she [had once] experienced.”

Deschanel was always one of Polatin’s first choices to play Suzanne. “Emily has an incredible emotional and intellectual intelligence that she brings to her roles, as well as warmth and depth,” says Polatin. “Suzanne’s character is a doctor, a mother, a daughter and a survivor. Emily’s talent and variety as an actress allow her to be all these parts of Suzanne.”

Polatin, whose other screenwriting credits include Jack Ryan Y Heelsfirst started working on Devil in Ohio eight years ago, after hearing the true story of a psychiatrist in the Buckeye state who once took in a devil-worshipping teen. “I was fascinated by the idea of ​​someone trying to escape from a cult,” says the author-turned-showrunner. “I also love the dynamic of the micro-communities. How do other people influence the way we speak, dress and think? And when you’ve grown up in an island community, can you ever escape your past?

The isolated nature of Mae’s upbringing was of particular interest to Deschanel, who jokes that she has “seen every documentary about cults” she can find, because she finds the psychology of these groups “really fascinating.” For the show, Polatin and her writers room used countless hours of research to create their own cult, down to inventing their history and ideology, even writing a manifesto to deliver to their department heads.

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Even as a self-proclaimed skeptic who doesn’t believe in the devil, Deschanel couldn’t help but feel “a little scared on set.” The fictional cult is unique because “they don’t have to recruit new members,” he explains. “They just breed them. They just give birth to new members, so it’s harder to get information about those kinds of cults…because they’re less integrated into our daily lives, even less so than other cults. They really stand on their own; they don’t have that outside interaction.”

Regular viewers of Deschanel’s work may notice that some mannerisms have carried over to her performance in Devil in Ohio of certain characters from the past. For example, when your character says something assertive in a professional setting (at the Bones‘ Dr. Brennan), will often tilt her head slightly to the left with wide eyes, almost daring her counterpart to disagree with her in a non-combative manner.

While acknowledging that Dr. Mathis shares some professional similarities with Dr. Brennan, Deschanel says that she chose to play the former because she felt “different enough” from the latter. “Once you do a character that you’re known for, you’re going to be considered that way. I think there are probably actors who want to be considered doctors and people don’t think of them as doctors, and now I want people to think of me as [something] different from a doctor.”

However, in one conversation, Deschanel lights up at the first mention of Boneswhich he fondly describes as “the show that launched a thousand friendships.”

For 12 years, the actress played TV’s favorite forensic anthropologist, who teams up with FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to help the Bureau investigate homicides by identifying human remains too far away. With their literal, empirical view of the world complementing their deeply emotional and instinctive nature, Brennan and Booth became one of television’s all-time slow-burn romantic couples, so much so that the actors who played them worked with a fitness trainer. acting every weekend for the first six seasons to develop the dynamic of the characters will or not.

I miss him a lot. I text him here and there, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him.

Deschanel believes that mutual respect on and off screen was the key to building her association with Boreanaz, who taught her the importance of setting a tone on set as the lead of a show. “He always treated me like an equal. he he he was a big star [on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel]and I was coming from some independent movies when we started doing the show, [but] He always treated me as if we were from the same place and with a lot of respect, and over time we made a great friendship,” he says. “I miss him so much. I text him here and there, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him.”

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What do you miss most about working with Boreanaz? “Our inside jokes,” Deschanel says before exclusively revealing one of his many inside jokes to The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “He would put a coffee stirrer into the foam in the interrogation room,” he recalls with a laugh, “so it was always known as ‘the coffee corner.’ There are just different things that are really hard to translate… but I guess [I miss] laughing with him on set and maybe making fun of me. I enjoyed it all.”

Aside from Boreanaz, Deschanel says she’s still “texting with different Bones people every week.” She remains close to Michaela Conlin and Tamara Taylor (“We did some incredible Zooms cocktail during the pandemic, and we’re trying to get together,” he reveals with a smile), and recently met with some of the actors who played a rotating group of interns at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute (Pej Vahdat, Eugene Byrd, Carla Gallo , Ignacio Serricchio). The former castmates continue to marvel at how Bones has, in the 17 years since the series’ premiere, inspired a generation of young women (and men!) to pursue careers in science.

“With Brennan, I never thought [the show] it would last as long as it did,” admits Deschanel. “[But] I thought a lot about what characters I was putting in people’s living rooms, and I thought about how young girls would see it. And being a feminist and always wanting to inspire girls, I loved the fact that the character was in STEM, she was an unapologetic genius and made more money than the men in her life and she wasn’t going to bat an eyelid for it.”

Looking ahead, Deschanel’s career plans are simple: She wants to tackle projects that make the public see her in a new light. “I’d love to do one or two comedies,” she says with a laugh, “and play characters that are really different…so I’m not necessarily looking for anything in particular.”

(When asked if he would like to appear in yellow jackets in front of her good friend Melanie Lynskey, whom she met on the set of Stephen King’s Red rose, Deschanel hardly misses a beat: “I would love to work with Melanie! I’m so excited for her, and it looks like it’s going to be a long time coming. [that] people are really recognizing his talent. That makes me cry thinking about it”).

Having also worked as a producer and director on BonesDeschanel says she’s been using those experiences to develop projects behind the camera, even if, she admits, producing takes a long time. “Without going into details, a project I’m trying to get off the ground is a story about a group of women fighting for freedom,” she adds. “I think there will always be a feminist bias in things that I’m also attracted to.”

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