12 Monkeys Q And A: SyFy’s Ballsiest Show Returns For Season Two
Aaron Stanford who plays James Cole; Amanda Schull who plays Dr. Cassandra Railly; Emily Hampshire who plays Jennifer Goines; and also the co-creator and showrunner Terry Matalas joined my fellow reporters and I for a phone press conference to kick off season two.
My question is for Emily. So you’re the only one that can kind of keep track of all of the timelines all of the time. Can you talk a little bit about…
Emily Hampshire: With my character.And so Jennifer is the only one that every time somebody hops in and out, and I don’t want to spoil it for folks who haven’t seen the episodes yet this season, but there’s a lot of times where Cassie or Cole pop up and Jennifer knows exactly what’s supposed to happen at exactly the right time because she’s kind of kept all of it in her head.
Can you talk a little bit about grasping that as being the only character that sort of the bible in the flesh for all of the timelines?
Emily Hampshire: Yes. She’s like the living embodiment of our show runner Terry Matalas because I don’t know how he keeps everything in his head timeline-wise but he does. So thank God I don’t have to really do that for real.But I like that aspect of Jennifer a lot because I felt like in Season 1 that there was something about her that I felt wasn’t just crazy, that knew more of the truth of what was going on, and then Season 2 you find out she’s much more connected to the methodology of the show than we thought.
So I didn’t really have to keep everything in my head. I just had to say the lines. So it was easy for me but kind of brilliant thing of Terry to create.
I know time travel, you can’t really do it and all. But how much of what we hear is based on real science?
Terry Matalas: There’s a lot of bits between the scientists that we lead here a lot of theory, and particularly which influence whether talking or (girdle) or any of the other scientists that Jones sort of apply her splinter technique from. But you know, ultimately, no one has been able to do it yet so we – there is a bit of fantasy.
And then for everyone else, are you able to wrap your head around everything that you’re saying? Or do you spend a lot of the day going, “I have no idea what I just said.” What that line (of dialogue meant).
Aaron Stanford: No, that’s the actor’s job.No, we are able to keep it in our head. There’s a really long complicated writer’s process that has to happen a long time before we shoot it. So by the time we do go before cameras, we have, we know it all.
Emily Hampshire: I don’t know what I’m saying. It does take me a while to kind of break down Jennifer whenever I have a rant or something. I have to figure out what her real – what her logic is in saying all these things, like ‘horsemen of the apocalypse’, and just like these (ranting) things.
So once I do that though and find her logic, then I – I’m not explaining myself well, sorry people are doing antics around here. I’m being distracted with the antics that are up here. But I had a point and lost it now because of you guys.
Aaron Stanford: It’s hard not to.
Amanda Schull: I think what Emily was – I think what Emily was saying is that we’re very lucky to have some wonderful dialog that can often get confusing from a scientific standpoint. But we have some wonderful resources at our fingertips with Terry and the other writers who are willing to answer questions and hash things out and help guide us through some challenging bits that they have very thoroughly researched.
Emily Hampshire: Oh yes. And my point is that I can’t do it without like sort of knowing what I’m talking about. So it takes a while to do that. And then when I do it, know what I’m talking about, then I can do it.
Terry Matalas: There you go.
Amanda Schull: Oh, Tony. Do we know him?
Tony Tellado: Yes.
Aaron Stanford: Hey.
Emily Hampshire: Hey.
Tony Tellado: Hey, everybody. How are you? It’s great to talk to you guys.
Aaron Stanford: Great.
Amanda Schull: It’s nice to talk to you.
Tony Tellado: Yes. Boy that first episode is a killer. I loved it. It’s great.
Amanda Schull: Thank you.
Aaron Stanford: Thank you.
Tony Tellado: What is so cool about this show and because you have the luxury of time travel, you can kind of redo the choices you’re making in life. But could you comment all — and this is really for all of you, about those choices and how they will play into Season 2. It sounds like there’s a lot more that they have to make this year.
Amanda Schull: A lot more, many more choices that we need to make in Season 2 that we…
Tony Tellado: Yes.
Amanda Schull: I think for Dr. Railly, she doesn’t have as many choices available at her disposal by de facto that she’s now living in 2044, which is – she has limited amenity at her disposal on how she can go about accomplishing the mission. She has now – she now needs to rely on a very different skillset than she had in Season 1.
But Cassie is nothing – is not adaptive. And she is very capable of succeeding in environments that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to thrive in.
Aaron Stanford: And there’s always the moral choices that she has to face, which is, you know how far is she willing to go now? You know, how much of her humanity is she giving up for this mission? So…
Yes. Cole has to face a lot of moral choices this season as well. At the beginning of Season 2, he’s really a changed man and his world view has broadened and his perspective is a lot wider. And he really wants to go about things in a much different fashion than he did in Season 1.
And he has come up – he comes to begin a lot of choices that he has to make. He’s put in situations where he might have to take a life or do something violent and he has to make a choice whether or not he wants to engage in that behavior.
Emily Hampshire: Season 1 we know that there’s this old Jennifer who is this wise woman who has this army of women. And so how does young crazy Jennifer become this wise old woman? And I think that a lot of the journey in Season 2– that Jennifer is really kind of discovering herself and then growing up and becoming who she is kind of destined to be.
Tony Tellado: OK. Cool. I still say this is like (ballsy) show in Syfy, just totally…
Amanda Schull: Oh, thank you.
Aaron Stanford: Thank you.
Put that in print, please.
Tony Tellado: I will.
Emily Hampshire: Oh yes.
Aaron Stanford: We need that headline.
Emily Hampshire: And put that in the headline, and then put like (ballsiest).
Aaron Stanford: Ball to the wall.
Tony Tellado: Thank you. So I really love the first eight, although I’m kind of upset because now I have way longer to wait and see what happens.
My question is, and this is kind of continuing when talking a bit about how the scope is changing this season. It’s like it was really a bold new to kind of move away from, not completely, but kind of shift the focus from the virus to time and kind of dealing with that. So it’s almost a new, like a big new part of the show, I guess. It has changed a lot.
So Terry, can you talk about kind of the idea to shift to that? And then the rest of you, kind of how it’s going to affect your characters in this season?
Terry Matalas: Sure. I mean, the – it was always the plan since Season 1. It’s the reason we introduced the Army of the 12 Monkeys, the way they are, and have their connection to time travel, their ambitions to use the machine, the witness seems to know the future, and there’s this thing, the Red Forest, and it’s house made of cedar and pine.
So we’ve always kind of set these things up to be part of the show. And we do get back to the virus in the episode you haven’t seen yet, that that does – it is a component of the show but it is part of a much bigger conspiracy.
But we never thought it would be a status-filling show to go from lab to lab every week looking for virus. It’s not – we’re not the time travel show and not the virus show. So it was something we knew from day one we had to do.
And then, like I said, the actors, can you kind of talk a bit about how it’s like affecting your character this season? Because obviously goals are changing.
Aaron Stanford: Yes. I think it’s – you know, first of all, and obviously it raises the stakes. If the death of seven billion people is only the beginning and the conspiracy goes even deeper, then obviously it’s a pretty big deal.
And I think also, it knocks us completely off-balance because suddenly we have to question everything that we thought we knew. We thought we were coming to some sort of a solution. We thought we were finding answers to some of these riddles. And once we got close, they all ended up spinning off into infinite new questions and riddles. So it’s just – it makes the journey that much a longer and more difficult.
Amanda Schull: I think the tag theme on Aaron that it – having all these other questions asked, and all these other puzzles and riddles introduced, it opens up our world and our scope and our capabilities, and it gives us a lot of freedom, and it gives us so much more story that we can expand upon.
And as an actor that’s so exciting to not be able to predict where or when you’ll be from one week to the next, and to have each script be its own entity, its own world that you can just dive into from episode to episode, what a beautiful gift to be able to be comfortable in the bones of your character but then get to expand on this incredible methodology and go on a journey every seven days. It’s a really nice treat.
Emily Hampshire: I mean for Jennifer, it’s definitely — the virus and stuff in Season 1 was something outside of her that she was kind of a part of. And Season 2, I think this is the way into Jennifer and how she is really connected with the methodology of the show in such a much more profound way than we thought before and that she is connected deeply into time.
Is there going to be more time travel this season as opposed to Season 1?
Aaron Stanford: Yes.
Amanda Schull: Yes, there’s a lot of time travel.
Aaron Stanford: Well, a lot more and a lot – we go a lot further.
Emily Hampshire: We actually use the machine to its fullest capacity.
Aaron Stanford: We do. We do. Yes.
There’s oodles and oodles and oodles of time travel.
Amanda Schull: I think…
Aaron Stanford: You can quote me on that. Lots of nostalgia, yes.
Amanda Schull: I think also we get to use the time travel machine, something that Aaron has mentioned before, that we use the machine and we go back places that not – that didn’t intentionally – weren’t intentionally set to be fun. But we end up dabbling in eras that none of us are familiar with.
And some fun gets played out, some interesting scenarios and some lifestyles that none of us are accustomed to as our characters. And it’s good fun to be able to live in those as an actor and a character, but also to be able to see some of the things that people came up with when I got to see final cuts. It was very enjoyable.
Tony Tellado: Cool. Very cool.
Great. Great news in casting Madeleine Stowe from the movie. I thought that was a great move by you guys, definitely.
Aaron Stanford: Thank you. We can’t wait for you to see her stuff. It’s really good.
Amanda Schull: Yes. She’s beautiful. And her work was very impressive.
Tony Tellado: Cool. And real quickly, Emily, I’m not going to curse but I’m enjoying your work on Schitt’s Creek. It’s a very funny show.
Emily Hampshire: Oh, thank you.
Tony Tellado: All right guys. Thanks a lot. And hopefully we’ll see you all at the San Diego Comic Con,
Amanda Schull: We hope so. Thank you Tony. Thank you so much.
Aaron Stanford: Yes. That would be great. We would love that.
Tony Tellado: Awesome.
Special thanks to The SyFy Channel.