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BLOOD AND BONES

From a neck-nibbling vampire to a wisecracking FBI agent, David Boreanaz’s memorable characters have helped the actor make quite a name for himself. (The trick is saying it correctly.)

DAVID BOREANAZ IS APOLOGIZING TO ME. Profusely. He has apologized at least seven times, despite my reassurances that everything is okay. Why is Boreanaz so remorseful? Because -- gasp! -- he called me early. He didn’t flake on the interview; he didn’t keep me waiting for two hours while he threw a tantrum in his trailer. He merely called me early because he is trying to make a flight to his home in Park City, Utah. If this is Boreanaz’s biggest flaw, I like him already.

Then, he makes small talk with me, asking about the run I just got back from and inquiring about the blistering East Coast weather while I fumble ineptly with my recording device. By the time the interview gets officially underway (a good 30 minutes early), I have decided that he might just be the coolest guy in Hollywood.

Boreanaz (pronounced Bo-ree-ah-nuz), formerly best known as a blood-lusting vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its popular spin-off, Angel, now plays FBI agent Seeley Booth on Fox’s hit series Bones, currently in its fourth season.

True or false: You were discovered while walking your dog in Los Angeles. Yep. My manager, who is still my manager today, discovered me while I was walking my dog. At the time, I was doing theater and a lot of commercials and some bit parts on sitcoms. But I had a meeting with him the next day, and from there, it was pretty much history. It could have been a horror story, but it didn’t turn out to be.

Working on a one-hour series can be grueling work. When you wrapped Angel, were you looking to dive back into TV right away? No, it kind of fell in my lap. I took a year off, and I did two independent films that I was really pleased with. One went to the Toronto Film Festival. I had another deal over at ABC that fell through. Gail Berman, who was the head of Fox at the time, called and asked me if I wanted to be the lead in [Bones], and I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with this Hepburn-and-Tracy, kind of Moonlighting [dynamic].

Oh, I grew up on Moonlighting. I’m a huge Bruce Willis fan. I ran into him on the lot about two years ago and talked to him, and he was really cool. If I could follow a career, that’s the type of career I would love to have.

Akin to Moonlighting’s Maddie and David, you and costar Emily Deschanel have chemistry that you can’t manufacture. Was that instant, or is it something you work on? It’s both. I read with a couple of girls when they were testing for the role. Obviously, something clicked in the room between the two of us. When you have lightning in the bottle, you want to capture it, nurture it.

But we actually get together every weekend and break down the script, work on the scenes for the week with our acting coach, Ivana Chubbuck. She taught Halle Berry; she won her an Academy Award.

That seems like an amazing commitment, given the amount of time the show already requires. It is a big sacrifice for my friends and family. For [Emily and me], the challenge is to keep it fresh and not rely on thinking, Oh, the show has been on for three seasons. We can just relax now.

You’re preparing to direct an episode right now. How different is it to be both directing and acting? It’s pretty difficult. You’re in the midst of a scene, and you’re constantly thinking as the director, What’s the motivation, what’s the subtext, what’s the drive here? Then, you get caught up and have to refocus on acting. It’s a challenge. But I think when you put yourself in the pool of chaos -- for me, at least -- things come out better than if it is all planned out perfectly.

Feeling Philly

David Boreanaz may lay his head down in Los Angeles, but his heart belongs to his hometown of Philadelphia. He fills us in on his favorite things in and about the City of Brotherly Love.

BEST CHEESESTEAK:
Pat’s King of Steaks. “For its originality. And it’s always good to go there late at night and chow down on a steak and really experience that area in Philadelphia. If you’re on the upper-crust level of wanting a cheesesteak, go to the Four Seasons Hotel. They make a really fancy, good cheesesteak.”

BEST CHILD-FRIENDLY AFTERNOON:
“I take my son down to the Schuylkill River to watch all the rowers and see the boathouses. Or we go out to Wayne, Pennsylvania, to Main Line Capri Water Ice, [which serves a snow-cone-like dessert]. It’s the best!”

BEST WORKOUT:
Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. “Just your classic Rocky moment.”

BEST HOMETOWN TEAM:
Philadelphia Flyers. “[When I was growing up,] if you went to go see a game, it would have been at the Spectrum. It was such an electrifying experience.”

BEST BAR:
Dirty Frank's Bar. “It’s a hole-in-the-wall downtown. On the outside, it looks like an abandoned apartment, and on the inside, it’s just a great Philly bar. At Christmastime, go there to drink an ice-cold Genesee Cream Ale.”