“Devil in Ohio” star Emily Deschanel on her journey from “Bones” to Netflix

Emily Deschanel doesn’t know why Hollywood kept touching her to play doctors, but she’s not going to start protesting now.

“I don’t know what ‘science’ screams about me, but I take it,” he says with a laugh to Obsessed on The Daily Beast’s Zoom. “When I got the part Bone, a friend of mine said, “Oh my God, this must be your dream role,” knowing how much I enjoyed learning forensic science. … Science was my favorite subject when I was a kid, so I’m not going to discuss it. I enjoy myself too “.

More than five years after wrapping up his 12-season run as forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan in Fox’s beloved procedural drama BoneDeschanel is back on television on Netflix Devil in Ohioas a hospital psychiatrist whose world is turned upside down when she decides to shelter a troubled teenager fleeing a satanic sect.

The role is a departure from the criminal / procedural genre that defined much of Deschanel’s career, who, after Boneincluded a guest spot as Nathan Fillion’s ex-wife on ABC The rookie and a 12-episode arc as a recovering addict on TNT The kingdom of animals.

For Deschanel, things have a fun way of coming full circle. He first met Daria Polatin, the author, creator and showrunner of Devil in Ohio—In the mid-1990s, when they were both studying acting at Boston University. They kept in touch after graduation, but eventually lost contact, even though they continued to keep an eye on each other’s work from afar.

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

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

Deschanel has always been one of Polatin’s first choices to bring Suzanne to life. “Emily has 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 talent as an actress allows her to be all these parts of Suzanne. “

Polatin, whose other screenplay credits include Jack Ryan And Heelsstarted working on Devil in Ohio eight years ago, after hearing the true story of a psychiatrist in Buckeye State who once welcomed a devil-worshiping teenager. “I was fascinated by the idea of ​​someone trying to escape a cult,” says the author turned showrunner. “I also love the dynamics of micro-communities. How do other people influence the way we talk, dress, think? And when you grew up in an island community, will you ever escape your past? “

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

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 raise them. They simply create new members, so it is harder to get information about these types of cults … because they are less integrated into our daily life, even less than other cults. They really keep to themselves; they don’t have that external interaction.

Regular viewers of Deschanel’s work may note that some ways of doing things have moved into his performance Devil in Ohio from some characters of the past. For example, when her character says something assertive in a professional context (à la Bone‘Dr. Brennan), often tilts her head slightly to the left with large eyes, almost challenging her counterpart to disagree with her in a non-combative way.

While admitting that Dr. Mathis shares some professional similarities with Dr. Brennan, Deschanel says she chose to play the former because she felt “quite different” from the second. “Once you play a character that you are famous for, you will be thought of that way. I think there are probably actors who want to be considered doctors and people don’t consider them doctors, and now I want people to think of me as [something] other than a doctor “.

However, in the conversation, Deschanel turns on at the first mention of Bonewhich he lovingly describes as “the show that launched a thousand friends”.

For 12 years, the actress played television’s favorite forensic anthropologist, who works with FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to help the FBI investigate the murders by identifying human remains too far away. With her literal and empirical world view complementing her deeply emotional and instinctive nature, Brennan and Booth have become one of television’s all-time slow-burning romantic couples, so much so that the actors playing them worked with a teacher. of acting every weekend for the first six seasons to develop the dynamic of wanting or not wanting the characters.

I miss him so much. I write with him here and there, and it’s been a while since I last saw him.

Deschanel thinks mutual respect on and off the screen was key to building her partnership with Boreanaz, who taught her the importance of setting a tone on set as the star of a show. “She has always treated me as an equal. She was a big star [on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel]and i was from some indie movies when we started doing the show, [but] he always treated me like we came from the same place and with great respect, and over time we have built a great friendship, ”he says. “I miss him so much. I write him here and there, and it’s been a while since I last saw him.”

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

Aside from Boreanaz, Deschanel says he’s still “texting with different Bone people every week “. She is still very attached to Michaela Conlin and Tamara Taylor (“We did a few Amazing Zooms cocktail during the pandemic and we’re trying to be together, “he reveals with a smile), and recently met some of the actors who played a rotating group of interns at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute (Pej Vahdat, Eugene Byrd, Carla Gallo, Ignacio Serricchio) Former castmates continue to wonder how Bone has, in the 17 years since the first of the series, has inspired a generation of young women (and men!) to pursue careers in science.

“With Brennan, I never thought [the show] it will last as long as it lasted, “admits Deschanel.”[But] I thought deeply about the characters I was putting in people’s living rooms and thought about how the girls would look at it. And being a feminist and always eager to inspire girls, I loved the fact that the character was in STEM, was an apologetic genius, and made more money than men in her life and wouldn’t bat an eye about it.

For the future, Deschanel’s professional plans are simple: she wants to tackle projects that will show her to the public in a new light. “I’d love to do a comedy or two,” she says with a hearty laugh, “and play really different characters … so I’m not necessarily looking for anything in particular.”

(When asked if she would like to appear Yellow jackets in front of her good friend Melanie Lynskey, whom she met on the set of Stephen King’s Red rose, Deschanel doesn’t miss a beat: “I’d love to work with Melanie! I’m just so excited for her, and it seems like it’s been so long [that] people are really recognizing his talent. This brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. “)

After also working as a producer and director Bone, Deschanel says he used those experiences to develop projects behind the camera, even though, he admits, production takes a long time. “Without going into detail, one project I’m trying to get off the ground is the story of a group of women fighting for freedom,” she adds. “I think there will always be a feminist bent even in the things I’m attracted to.”

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