In Part 2 of our exclusive interview with actor T.J. Thyne, he tells us more about BONES Season 7, the evolution of his character Jack Hodgins, plus his gig on 24 and his work as a producer of independent feature and short films.
ASSIGNMENT X: Is the core of Jack changing as he progresses?
TJ THYNE: I think it is. I think for Season One and Two, we saw a whole lot of Jack that was very invested in the science and showing up and diving right into the work. When we lost Zack [Jack’s friend and lab partner, played by Eric Millegan], it was kind of shock to Jack’s system. He was not okay – this was his best friend and he was really uncomfortable with that and the Ooky Room really sat as this separate thing, because that was really Zack’s domain. But in Season Five, Jack moved into the Ooky Room, so he has his own space.
For four years, I had this little cubicle only. Which was fun for me, because he basically in a roundabout way owns the lab, I mean, he’s the largest donor to the Jeffersonian Institute. So really, he should have had a space all along. But he’s the only one on the team, if you think about it, who never had an office, so he finally moved into one. So he’s got his Ooky Room with all the bugs and slime that he can muster. So that’s nice, and professionally, he’s really excited and I think Jack’s really in a good place, too, because the two heartbreaking things in his life were the circumstance with Angela [Jack’s now-wife, played by Michaela Conlin] and where that was, as well as the Gravedigger [a serial killer who buried Jack alive at one point], knowing that the Gravedigger was still out there and that he wasn’t going to rest until the Gravedigger was caught, and the Gravedigger was caught, and so now Jack’s a really peppy, happy guy. If you go back to Season One and you watch, he was very angry. He had anger management issues, but Jack – not T.J. – I think he’s well past that. I think he’s very much in the positive way of thinking. That’s a long answer.
AX: We like long answers. Does it change anything for you as an actor to have what is essentially your own set?
THYNE: They did such an amazing job at Stage Six at Fox to create that set that that world, when you step through those doors, no longer feels like a set. It feels like a lab, it feels like a forensic platform that you would actually go to work in, so there’s a comfortability in all of us actors when we get over there – the Squint Team, if you will – that we do feel like it’s our second home, just like anyone would feel going to work. As an actor, I don’t know if it’s so much the environment itself that makes you start to feel comfortable, or just the team of people that you’ve bonded with. We’re such a close team – all of us are such good friends in real life – that it makes it very easy to show up and get our work done and support each other and push each other and challenge each other to be stronger and better and more committed to the material. And it’s very easy to do that when you have [people] like Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan writing this material.
AX: Out of all of Jack’s different aspects, is there one that’s the most fun for you to play?
THYNE: I like that Jack – this part of Jack – when we first saw him, he was this angry guy and conspiracy theorist and all of these things. And I really like that he’s playing the dad role, kind of struggling at it, not necessarily doing a great job with it all the time [laughs], that’s the most fun to play. Though I have to say – I was just talking with [THE FINDER star] Geoff [Stults], because I got to do an episode of THE FINDER where I got to bring back my conspiracies, and with his conspiracies and my conspiracies, we had such a good time.
AX: Are you looking forward to them ever letting Jack be right about a conspiracy? Well, actually, he may have been right with the episode about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, “The Proof in the Pudding,” though they don’t definitively say he’s right.
THYNE: Yeah, we just can’t say it out loud. I think I’m really close with that episode. I think Jack’s always right. So whether others know it or not, he’s content with the fact that he’s always right, so that’s all that matters to him [laughs].
AX: On BONES, are the bugs that you work with real bugs?
THYNE: Yeah. There are some that aren’t, and sometimes we’ll use other kind of stand-in fake bugs before we’re doing it, and then when we do our insert shots, we have the actual guys.
AX: And they come with their own wrangler?
THYNE: Oh, yeah. Great guy – comes on, he has all the right bugs and everything that we need – it’s great. They work a lot, those bugs [laughs].
AX: On 24, you played one half of a couple who found the a nuclear codes suitcase and had to literally run from the bad guys. Was that kind of a physical marathon?
THYNE: Yeah, that’s a good way of describing it – a physical marathon. It was a lot of running. We had a good time doing that. And I’m such an enormous 24 fan. [In the first season of BONES], we had so much shooting to do, but I just had to stay up watching [the 2006 season premiere of] 24, in terms of catching the first four hours, because I’m such a huge fan.
AX: When you were on 24, did you and the actress playing your wife talk to each other about, “Well, how much in love are we?”
THYNE: There are actors out there that choose to be internal about their work – but most actors, I’d say ninety percent that I’ve had a chance to work with here in Hollywood, we get to talk things through, and of course, I come to the table with what I’ve been working on in terms of back story and how I see the characters coming together and then the other actor will share with me their back story, and then we kind of put the pieces together. So she and I had a chance to do that, which was really excellent, and we had a little bit of downtime where we were able to do that. I think that’s the hardest part of this job – I called it a “job,” and it’s so funny, any time I say that, because I think it’s just play. I have such a good time doing what I do, I’m so lucky being able to do it. But that’s the tough thing, when you’re thrown into situations where the schedule is so quick and so fast, with the turnaround on television, you don’t necessarily always get the opportunity to really sit and rehearse with each other, so you learn to work faster. It’s just one of those things. So she and I got to sit and work that stuff through, which is a lot of fun.
AX: You’ve also made some films …
THYNE: I have a short film, VALIDATION, that ran in some festivals and picked up a few awards, so I got to go to those festivals. I’m the lead of it and also produced. It’s gotten a few audience awards and Best Short awards. As a matter of fact, [BONES star] David [Boreanaz] had a film [SUFFERING MAN’S CHARITY] with Alan Cumming and my short film were both in a festival up in Chicago together, the Jed Arts Film Festival. It was really exciting to be able to go up there and they presented us with a best directing award for our short. It’s one of [several] short films, black-and-white musicals, that I do with Kurt Kuenne, who’s a great filmmaker. They’re these fun stories that have created this whole world around this community of people, all black and white, all musical, and it’s a lot of fun. [VALIDATION has] won over twenty awards or something at film festivals and it’s played in over thirty-six festivals and it’s on YouTube and got six million hits now, or something like that, and tens of thousands of positive comments. We’ve got a few other short films. I think we got into twenty-six different film festivals with our new MOMENTS series shorts, which is really exciting.
AX: You also did a feature …
THYNE: I produced a film, SHUFFLE. I was the lead – Tamara Taylor is in it with me, a couple other people from BONES show up, and a bunch of friends from days gone by, USC and stuff, and we had a blast. We all got together and made a feature ourselves, which was a lot of fun, also hitting the film festival circuit, so keeping busy. We shot it here in Los Angeles and it was really fun and it’s a great project. It’s the same director as VALIDATION. It’s a fun film, so that was all of us coming back together, that same group, that same writer, that same director, and saying, “Let’s do something more.” And I never stop with [filmmaking]. Every weekend I can, I’m off shooting something. I love this thing we do, so I do it as often as I can.
AX: Does it help you to do other things besides BONES between seasons, or is it a shock to the system to go from a summer off to jumping back into it?
THYNE: I’ve always kind of been a gypsy. I’ve always, ever since I’ve been in Hollywood, I’ve always been bouncing around and had four or five different films or things going on. So for me, it feels really nice to be able to return to different characters, jump into a film, come back to Jack and then run off and do another film. I’m used to that gypsy lifestyle, so actually I love it. It kind of feeds my creativity.
AX: Do you have a fan following as an actor?
THYNE: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, because I always had a really great fan base from the films that I’d done, and a lot of the recurring stuff that I’d done, and it’s neat to have them kind of open up and be excited about the role of Jack, and then to have new fans for Jack is really thrilling. When I was off shooting movies, I was in every major city in the U.S. – I was in New York, I was in Boston, I was in New Orleans, I was Austin, I was in Chicago, I was all over the place with everything I was doing, and it was really fantastic to meet all these new fans who are fans of Jack Hodgins on the show. It was so excellent to talk to them and get to meet them. I don’t just say that, I’ll sit down with a fan and be like, “Okay, what is it you love about the character and what is it that you’d love to see happen?” It’s a good experience for me.
AX: Does playing a character for seven seasons feel like what you ever thought it would feel like?
THYNE: You know, you’d hope to as an actor get to know every character you’re playing, every shade of them, every layer of them, before you actually get into a production, whether it be a film, a play, a TV show, what have you. But you don’t have that luxury a lot of times in your professional life. Oftentimes in Hollywood, you’re rushed. You get a script, you have X amount of weeks before you have to get back to something else, and so your process becomes one where you have to process quickly. It’s really thrilling to be in the skin of the character who I’ve gotten to know for this long. I mean, I don’t think I’ve known any other character as long as I’ve known Jack in my career. And it is very cool to get to show up and play him, to get to know him more. I like Jack. He’s the kind of guy I would pick to be on my team. I’m like, “Yeah, that guy, I’d like him to have my back.” It’s fun to play him.
AX: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
THYNE: It’s great to be back and we just thank everyone that’s been watching and staying with us. I am myself just an enormous fan of BONES, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with great actors and great scripts and great shows like that. We’d love to keep doing this as long as we can. We truly have such incredible fans that are so loyal and dedicated that you just feel like, as long as they’re willing to put up with us telling them more stories, we’re going to keep on doing it. And we’ve been lucky enough to have them be desiring of seven seasons now, so here’s hoping they want it for another seven.
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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with BONES star TJ Thyne – Part 2