Michaela Conlin has played Angela Montenegro on Fox Network’s BONES since it premiered in 2005. Over twelve seasons, Angela has evolved from a free-spirited, free-loving artist to a computer genius. She’s dealt with getting together, breaking up with and finally marrying colleague Jack Hodgins (TJ Thyne), having their son, and coping when Hodgins lost the use of his legs and, temporarily, his emotional stability. Angela has also enjoyed success in both her original field of artwork and as a technological innovator (she’s just won a major award for the Angelatron, a computer program she developed that reconstructs faces from skeletal remains).
Now that BONES is building toward its series finale on Tuesday nights, Conlin reflects on her years as the warm, creative Angela at a party thrown by Fox for the Television Critics Association, where many BONES personnel are in attendance.
ASSIGNMENT X: Were you ready to stop doing BONES before now, are you ready to stop now, do you wish you weren’t stopping?
MICHAELA CONLIN: No. I mean, it’s definitely really bittersweet lace my shoe up. It was really wonderful seeing everybody today. We finished [in December], and I can’t believe it’s over. I feel like we really did what we were supposed to do on this show. I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
AX: Have you enjoyed the storyline with Hodgins’ bitterness about his inability to walk and Angela’s anxiety and frustration?
CONLIN: I have. I think they’ve really given us a lot to do, and it’s been so wonderful to be able to do all those things on the show. Like I said, I feel like we’ve really gotten to cover everything. For that storyline in particular, I’m really glad that they gave us some episodes to let us play out, and that they didn’t just wrap it up in one episode. And [show runners] Jonathan Collier and Michael Peterson really did that beautifully.
AX: Looking back over the seasons, what are your highlights and low lights?
CONLIN: Oh, man. Highlight was the pilot, the first Christmas episode in the first season, the roller derby episode, the episode where Angela and Hodgins have a baby, the hundredth episode, the two hundredth episode – I mean, what an honor. What a ride.
AX: There has been a lot of discussion between Angela and Hodgins about having a second child, but it hasn’t happened so far. Were you happy not to have to play pregnant again?
CONLIN: I am a bit happy about it, yeah, I am, for sure. Look, I enjoyed it. It was a change after seven seasons [when Angela got pregnant in the show’s chronology], and something I really enjoyed doing, but I am definitely glad to be not pregnant any more on the show.
AX: We’ve seen Angela and Hodgins’ son Michael Vincent grow from an infant to a little boy. How are you enjoying playing the co-parenting relationship with TJ Thyne?
CONLIN: It’s been great. We’re having a lot of fun with it. It’s really been fun to just work with a real baby on set. That’s been a joy.
AX: Emily Deschanel, who plays Temperance “Bones” Brennan, was pregnant in real life while you were pregnant on the show, and they wrote her pregnancy into the script …
CONLIN: Yes. There have been some really wonderful scenes of the two of them [that] season talking about pregnant things, and that was great. I always love doing scenes with her.
AX: There are a lot of dead bodies and body parts on the show. Do you have a most significant gross-out?
CONLIN: There’s a big batch of [scalps]. That was pretty gross. There was like a [scalp] vat.
AX: Was there anything on BONES where you felt like, “I really don’t want to do this, but okay”?
CONLIN: I’m sure there was – actually, no. Because I feel like if I felt that way, I could go to the writers and talk to them.
AX: It sounds like your bosses on BONES have been great. Your former cast mate, John Francis Daley, who played Dr. Lance Sweets for a number of seasons, co-wrote the film HORRIBLE BOSSES. Have you ever had a horrible boss?
CONLIN: I have [laughs]. I did. I worked at an undisclosed location when I was fifteen, in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. I wanted a raise, and my boss said that I was taking too much time with extracurriculars – my theatrical career – and that my priority was not with the undisclosed location. So I was shot down. She was pretty horrible.
AX: During BONES’ run, you were also in the movie THE LINCOLN LAWYER, where you played a completely different character from Angela …
CONLIN: I did. It was awesome. It was so much fun. I got to play a young homicide detective, who is really in over her head. It was just great to do something different and have fun with that. And I [was working with] Matthew McConaughey and Bryan Cranston. It was fun.
AX: How is working on a big feature film compared to working on a big network series?
CONLIN: They’re similar in ways and different in others. It’s a limited run for a movie, so it’s a very fast, furious ride, whereas in a series, it’s sort of like a marathon. You have to train yourself for longevity and working in an environment of consistency. So they’re the same and they’re different in many ways.
AX: Possibly barring motherhood, what would you say is Angela’s proudest achievement, or the coolest thing she got to do?
CONLIN: I’m not sure how to answer that. I feel like the two hundred and thirty whatever episodes were pretty beautiful …
AX: Maybe when she made the virtual art museum for the dying little girl?
CONLIN: Yeah, that was really beautiful. I guess I really loved her and Hodgins and how they were able to work through everything that they went through in the beginning, where they were together and not together, and especially through the struggles with him being handicapped.
AX: Once you knew BONES was wrapping up, did you immediately start making plans for what you were going to do afterwards, or are you just sort of taking a little breather, and then seeing what happens?
CONLIN: We just got through it. So we got through it, it was the holidays, and now I’m back. Now I’m starting to think about that, for sure. I’d love to do something different.
AX: Well, you produced the feature film SPARROWS’ DANCE in 2012 …
CONLIN: Yes, I did, and I’m definitely interested in doing that again. I did an episode of CASUAL on Hulu last year, which was really wonderful.
AX: Is there a particular type of character or something you’d like to get to play that you haven’t gotten to do on BONES?
CONLIN: I’ve gotten to do quite a lot on BONES. But I’d love to do a story more about relationships, maybe less a procedural-style show, if I could pick.
AX: What do you think you’re going to miss most about BONES?
CONLIN: The cast, and the laughter. We laughed all the time. It’s a wonderful group of people. So those two things.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about the last season?
CONLIN: Wow. What do I want you to know? We see where a lot of these characters end up, and that’s a pretty beautiful thing for the people who have been watching the show from the very beginning. It’s pretty special.
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Article: BONES: Actress Michaela Conlin on THE FINAL CHAPTER – exclusive interview