Interview: 12 Monkeys’ Amanda Schull on That Intense Finale, Love Stories, and Motherhood

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Syfy recently renewed 12 Monkeys for a third season so thankfully you won’t be left on that huge cliff. I spoke to actor Amanda Schull about that tense finale, their special guest-star, and her favorite scenes from Season 2.

[Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted prior to the Season 2 finale and has been split and rearranged slightly. Part 1 can be found here. Spoilers to follow for the Season 2 finale.]

Pantozzi: Each one of the female characters, whether it’s your own, Jones, Jennifer, Olivia, they’re very different. Even though they’re very strong, a lot of people say well we want these varied characters, we don’t want them to all be this “strong female character” because women themselves are varied. What have been your favorite interactions with the other female characters?

Schull: Have you seen the whole season?

Pantozzi: I have, yes.

Schull: Ok. Oh you lucky lady! [both laughing] I really like working with all of them. That’s a really challenging thing to answer definitely because I have a really wonderful dynamic with every single woman on this show and every single woman has characteristics off-camera similar to her character and very different qualities than her character. So for instance, Barbara [Sukowa] can be very, very silly so I really like working with her and her intensity and then the cameras cut and she’s just a goof and we have a ton of fun. But I do have to say that this past season, working with Emily [Hampshire] was really quite beautiful and moving. I had an opportunity in a couple of episodes to work with her, even in a an episode 2×11 which you’ve seen, I don’t know when this is coming out, without spoiling it you obviously know the scene in which there’s two Jennifers speaking to each other and Cassie is trying to stop the bleeding long enough for Old Jennifer to talk to Young Jennifer and then Cassie leaves. And there’s just something so raw about Emily when she inhabits Jennifer, be it either Young or Old, the second I make eye contact with her I just feel dialed in.

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And it’s a really interesting experience, we’ve had this happen a couple of times in different scenes with her, that the second I kind of allow everything else to sort of dissipate and fall away and I just connect with her, there have been two times this season I just begin weeping. Uncontrollably. And it happened once in episode 2×06 when Emily, when Jennifer Goines is saying “Let’s take the fight to them, Cassie” and then she sort of sits for a second, she kind of calms down, and she says, “What exactly did he say to you?” And we did it a couple of times and I was kind of in my own head and thinking about my own performance and then I looked at Emily in this one particular take, and I don’t actually think they used my most emotional take, but I looked at Emily and she said “What did he say to you?” And I believed that she really wanted to know. And I believed that she really cared and that suddenly she felt this bond with this other woman with whom she’s been at odds for so long and I just lost it. I just started crying because I feel like it was the first time in a long time that Cassie had felt loved and that she had felt somebody was really caring about her best interest. And then the same thing also happened when as Cassie I was trying to stop the bleeding on the Old Jennifer and the scene was entirely Emily, I was just there for set dressing really and they were just going to get one take of my reaction to a little bit of the conversation. And they said, “Ok, are you ready?” and I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and just didn’t think anything of it and I looked at Emily’s eyes and I just started to bawl. Just at the idea of losing her. And it wasn’t something I expect at all and it’s just this quality that she has.

Pantozzi: Wow. I know that Madeleine Stowe (who played Kathryn Railly in Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film) has a cameo in the finale this season. You didn’t have any scenes together but did you two get to meet?

Schull: Yes. I had actually met her a year prior at TIFF and then I went to set on the day she was working as well. But I met her a year prior at TIFF, I can’t remember who introduced us but I didn’t know she was even there and I suddenly turned around and there was somebody there to introduce her to me and I became a little bit of a blabbering idiot. She was so beautiful and so lovely and she said that she had been sent the pilot and she watched the pilot and she loved it. And I just didn’t even know what to say. I was gobsmacked and then I took a picture and I sent it to Terry [Matalas] and Travis [Fickett] that night of the two of us together. And then when she worked this past season…if people don’t know, who haven’t seen the full season, that we didn’t get a chance to work together, I was just on Terry’s back. As soon as I heard that she had committed to watching the show I was just pestering him to get a scene with her. I mean just annoying him every possible opportunity to try and get a scene with her. He said “It wouldn’t make sense, Cole goes to the asylum to talk to her” and I said, “Well wouldn’t Cassie think that he was taking a really long time coming back to the house and go looking for him? Wouldn’t she maybe see his truck and then go into the asylum and have an encounter with her? Well what if she sees into the window?” I’m just trying to make logic of anything at all and it did not jive with him. But I went to set on the day that she was working and saw her and watched her work. I had that whole day off so I wanted very much to sort of be in her presence even if it wasn’t on camera.

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Pantozzi: Part of Jones’ character throughout both seasons has been her role as a mother and all that comes with that and now Cassie is going to have to come to grips with a much more serious version of [motherhood] leading into next season, how do you think that’s going to change her?

Schull: Having this creature inside of her?

Pantozzi: Yeah.

Schull: I haven’t discussed it entirely with Terry and you know, as of right now we still don’t have a pick up so if everything goes the way that we want, I think Terry and I will get together and discuss it more in depth. But I think there’s going to be so much confusion surrounding that and just Cassie coming to terms with that and whether it’s nature or nurture. What if she were to attempt to raise this child in a way that could change fate? Also, I think it’s a very strong possibility, at the risk of sounding completely politically incorrect, that she will try to do anything within her power to not have this child come to term. Because if this is the case and if this is the reason why everything has happened why would she allow that? And she’s facilitating this whole other journey in another way. She already despises herself for what she’s done and this is just one more element of that, that she unknowingly partook.

Pantozzi: The love story between Cole and Cassie has sort of always been in the background but it does weave its way into every other decision made it feels like. It’s certainly different from a lot of other stories where the love story would just be thrown in your face and be at the forefront all the time. How do you feel about the more subtle approach?

Schull: I love the more subtle approach. It seems to…like I said with social media sometimes subtly is lost on some viewers which is sort of frustrating from my perspective because I think there’s as much not said between the two of them as there is said. It was only a couple of episodes ago that whatever it was, whatever it is actually was verbalized to some extent. Also that being said, Cassie’s not a touchy-feely person, she never has been, she doesn’t share her emotions, or her thoughts, or her feelings. She doesn’t sit around and brush her hair and paint her nails and talk about boys, that’s not who she is. So I like the subtly of that because it gives me more to play with, trying to weave it in a little bit as an actress. And of course when things finally come to a head in Episode 12 when they finally do get together, they never say anything about it. It arises from an argument and then she just kind of blurts it out and just states what she knows to be a fact, that was never at any point discussed. “It’s because you’re in love with me.” You should have heard the “oohs” when we read that at the table read.

Pantozzi: I loved that part, it was so good. [both laugh]

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Pantozzi: The relationship, whatever we want to call it, that Cassie had with Deacon has been really subtle as well. We didn’t get to see much of what actually went down between the two of them. What kind of relationship do you think the two actually had?

Schull: I think that they had a friendship of some sort. You know, Deacon admits that he knew who she was when she first got there. So for him it’s sort of his first crush that he ever had. And then for Cassie, I think she appreciated his strength and his education and everything he was able to offer her. And she probably also felt very safe and it was the first alliance she made in 2044. I do believe they had a genuine friendship, it was just kind of muddied at one point and I don’t think that Cassie felt like it was going to go in a romantic direction but she did care for him. There’s a scene where he gets so upset at Ramse and he’s on the verge of tears and she cares. She doesn’t want him to hurt. She does feel for him but she doesn’t want to have a boyfriend. Especially not there and then. I think that’s probably why she allowed it to just sort of be what it was and move forward from that point.

Pantozzi: You know we talked about fandom online [Editor’s Note: In Part 1 of this interview!] how it can easily go negative. There’s been a lot of that unfortunately lately and it’s really disappointing as a fan who just wants to be a fan and be happy about things but also be able to be critical without going in that nasty direction. But I was wondering if you could talk a bit about the 12 Monkeys fandom, the more positive side, and what they mean to you? Any favorite memories of them?

Schull: It’s pretty amazing. The majority of the fans, the people who watch this show, are really intelligent. You kind of have to be intelligent to truly get the show, to go on the journey, to understand the mythology and to hypothesize about all the little secrets that are kind of breadcrumbed throughout. And I love the back and forth, I love the community that’s kind of developed because people throw out their theories and their ideas and their feelings about things. And often I don’t respond to it if somebody else will engage, unless they ask me a question or anything whatever it is, I like seeing the back and forth. I like seeing the community that has developed around this because the people who work on this show are passionate about this show. I love my job. I love this role and I can say without a doubt that every single other person on this show feels the same way. And the fact that the people who are watching this show feel that strongly about it to invest their time and live tweet and discuss it with other people, it’s almost tear-inducing. That our labor of love has been accepted and they run with it. It’s really, I mean I’m almost at a loss for words obviously because it’s just, it means so much to me that people would accept these toils and all these hours that we spend and get it. It’s all you can kind of ask for.


Thank you so much to Amanda Schull for taking time to speak with TheNerdyBird.com. Don’t forget to check out the first part of this interview, where we talked about pop culture, Cassie’s growth, and the other fantastic women on the show. Keep an eye out for my chat with showrunner Terry Matalas soon where we spoke more about the finale and might have geeked out about our favorite time travel stories!

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One Response to “Interview: 12 Monkeys’ Amanda Schull on That Intense Finale, Love Stories, and Motherhood”

  1. […] 1 can be found here and Parts 1 and 2 of my interview with actor Amanda Schull can be read here and here. If you’re behind on the series you can find information on how to catch full episodes here. […]