Emily Deschanel, actor

Emily Deschanel, actor

(This profile originally appeared in the Actors issue, published Dec. 12, 2005)

Emily Deschanel isn't complaining, but the co-star of Fox's freshman hit "Bones" admits she wouldn't mind having enough time to take a deep breath once in a while.

"I have never come close to working this hard in my life," Deschanel admits. "I mean, I wouldn't have it any other way. But it's hard. You wind up putting in a lot of 16-hour days, and there are eight days of shooting per script. By the end of the episode, you just crash. I can't even move my arms on Sunday."

Hard work and no play is the trade-off for success, Deschanel is finding, now that she's winning critical raves for her performance as razor-sharp, novel-writing forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan. She's the woman one calls in when a body is so badly decomposed, burned or destroyed that it can't be identified by conventional means.

Dr. Brennan is not what one would call the life of the party. In fact, she's surly and cranky most of the time. And Deschanel loves that.

"It's a gift that I don't have to make Temperance likeable," admits the 27-year-old native Los Angeleno. "I don't like bubbly. I mean, real people have edge to them. I'm more personable than my character, but I can be moody, too. So, I think you get a lot more believability when someone can have some negativity built in. Look at Hugh Laurie on (Fox's) 'House.'"

Before landing on "Bones" opposite David Boreanaz, her TV work was restricted to guest spots on such NBC series as "Crossing Jordan" and "Providence," as well as the 2002 miniseries "Stephen King's Rose Red." She also had walk-ons in 2003's "Cold Mountain" and 2004's "The Alamo" and "Spider-Man 2."

But the Boston University theater graduate -- whose sister is actress Zooey Deschanel and dad is cinematographer Caleb Deschanel -- also has a more substantial role in a movie hitting theaters in January: the Buena Vista sports flick "Glory Road," playing the wife of star Josh Lucas. And while the offers for film work during her hiatus aren't yet pouring in, Deschanel feels good about the position she's now in.

"I've never played a role for more than five months, so this is pretty thrilling," she says. "Getting all of the positive feedback helps a lot, too. You know you aren't just working in a vacuum."

Sure, a life would be nice too, Deschanel concedes. But there's no time for that now.

"To know that you're busting your ass for something that people appreciate makes all the difference," she says. "If the show sucked, it would be awful to have to work these kinds of hours. I just wish I actually knew half of the stuff that my character does. She's amazingly smart." And not at all bubbly.
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