Exclusive: Emily Hampshire Talks Season 2 of 12 Monkeys

Emily HampshireIn tonight's episode of 12 Monkeys, Jennifer Goines, played by Emily Hampshire, played an important role, because Cole (Aaron Stanford) chose to not listen to Cassandra (Amanda Schull), and instead of killing her, he stopped her releasing the virus and destroyed what was left of it. This so far is the one thing that seems to have made a real dent in changing the past and saving lives.

It was also revealed in the episode that Jennifer has a larger part to play in what's going on, as she is "primary," and can see all the changes made in time. She is integral, because it is with Cole's help that she finds a new purpose, and it is her that in 2044 is able to convince Jones (Barbara Sukowa) to send Cassandra back to 2016 to retrieve Cole.

Recently Hampshire sat down with Jamie Ruby of Scifi Vision in an exclusive interview to talk about her work on 12 Monkeys.

SCIFI VISION: In the second episode of the season, we find out that Jennifer is primary, and she starts to explain a bit about what that means. How much did you know early on? Did you know that far in advance, or did you just find out before starting season two?

Emily HampshireEMILY HAMPSHIRE: It was kind of both, but I only found out about the primary thing before we started filming season two. However, I had always from the beginning never believed that Jennifer's crazy was just her being crazy. Like at least for me, to play her, I have to believe her logic, and I always thought, and still think, that people who are quote unquote crazy, a lot of the time are more tapped into the truth of things then quote unquote normal people. And I think that has to do with that they don't have the inhibitions that we're kind of raised with, and will speak the truth a lot of the time.

And that's what I fell in love with with Jennifer, is that she, in my opinion, just says the truth about things, whether you believe them or not. And I think what happened at the beginning, was that Cole believed her, and that was somebody who she obviously latched on to and will be loyal to forever and ever, because he was the first person to believe her.

But I always felt like there was something she knew more than other people and was I always felt the smartest person in the room. Which it's easy to see Jennifer, to just write her off as crazy, but to me, she never was.

So when I found out about this primary thing, once I understood it all, I was so in love with that and glad that it didn't ruin everything that I'd done in season one. I felt like it went along with it.

Obviously you aren't like Jennifer in that respect, so when you started playing her, how did you sort of tap into or connect with that part of her?

I actually felt instantly connected to Jennifer when I first actually read the sides for the audition, and what I connected with was this feeling that I could do anything and say anything and it would be right. Actor-wise, like talking as the actor who's playing this part, because a lot of the time, I mean especially during that time, I didn't want to audition anymore. I kind of had been beaten down a little too many times, like just that I'd got a lot of notes back that I was weird or doing something that was an odd choice, and suddenly I felt like, 'oh this was the part for me,' because I can make an odd choice, and that would be Jennifer. And so I connected on that level with her, and I felt like it was a lot in the writing that she was just there on the page, at least I saw it that way.

I heard later from Terry [Matalas], that I guess why they cast me, is I saw it in a particular way that other people didn't. But I think that just is one of those cases of kind of the perfect marriage of an actor and part kind of thing. I mean, I feel it. I'm not saying that other people think it's the perfect casting [laughs], but I just love Jennifer so much. It doesn't feel like any other part I've played before, like it's not me, so I can be complimentary of her. [laughs] Usually I would think, 'Oh I can't say a good thing that I did, because, I'm A, Canadian, and you can't say good things about yourself, but anything that is done well to me is Jennifer, like it's the most amazing thing that Jennifer did.

Emily HampshireI mean, there's also a lot of just technical stuff, that playing the part energy-wise is exhausting. I am never more tired than after a day of playing Jennifer all day, but I don't notice it when I'm doing it. It's kind of like when you're a kid and you spend all day playing outside, and then you go home, and you just crash. But when you're playing, it's all adrenaline. So that's what I feel just physically playing her.

And also I feel like every new script is a new Jennifer to me, because she role-plays, which in a way is something that clicked early on for me, or maybe I made it up, but it's turned out to work. Jennifer quotes a lot of these movies all the time, and I always felt that she kind of, especially when she was in the mental institution, would live vicariously through the movies, and that her point of view of the world a lot of the times is like a movie.

And she like calls this hero who comes in, and when she's going to be the CEO, she's going to act like her idea of a CEO, and give a firm handshake, and do all these things that could be cliche in a way, but she's playing this role. And I think a lot of the time what Jennifer discovers...[is] it looks so much easier in the movies." I think that's a lot of Jennifer's discovery along the way.

Had you seen the movie before you auditioned? Also, your character, it's not the same as, but I would say it was inspired by Brad Pitt's character in the film. Where you inspired by or did you take anything from his version of the character, or did you try not do that and do your own thing?

Well, first of all the character was definitely inspired by Jeffrey Goines; my name is Jennifer Goines, and in the first episode we even do this homage to him where I'm wearing the same sweater that he wore in the movie. I always look at it like they're not the same person at all, but they share a DNA.

And when I auditioned, I hadn't seen it, basically, just because of lack of time, because normally, I love research. I would totally have watched this movie before I went in, but I didn't happen to have time, and so I just focused on creating this part myself.

Emily Hampshire and Aaron StanfordSo I hadn't seen the movie when I auditioned, and I think that what Terry had said was that I was one of the only people who didn't do a copy of the Brad Pitt part. And I think that was just luck, because if I had seen it, maybe I would have thought, 'Oh this is what they want,' you know? So what I loved, was I felt like total freedom, and I could just create this person.

But then before we started shooting, I watched the movie, and I was like, 'Oh that was a big mistake; [laughs] I have all this to live up to. Because he won this award for it and everybody loved the performance. But I decided after watching the movie that I need to just take any inspiration from it I can, but I can't at all try to copy his performance, especially because he had so many ticks and stuff, and that wasn't how I saw or felt Jennifer organically. They're definitely cut from the same crazy, but they're different people.

...But I did feel [that] pressure, and I think all the people behind the show felt the pressure of casting the part, because it was so well known and loved. So I did feel that, but was very happy when it came out that there weren't as many haters as I thought there would be.

Your character this season kind of goes through a big change, because for most of the first season - I mean she kind of went back and forth to some extent, but for most of it, she was listening to Olivia (Alisen Down), and wanting to kill everyone with the virus, and she even says to Cole that she thinks doing so will get rid of the voices and all that, but that kind of changes.

And she has written in the second episode that she found her purpose from Cole. Can you talk about that change and kind of how she’s been affected by Cole, and why she decides to go in that direction instead?

Even just going from where we left her in season one, she had been influenced by Olivia, and I think it's because Jennifer has always, at least in season one, been looking for a family of sorts. You know, when you look at her in the hospital, and then with her father, she’s like alone in the world a bit, and used a lot, and I think what she found in Cole, was somebody who cared about her, like you see it throughout the show.

Emily Hampshire and Aaron StanfordI’m always so surprised and love how much Cole stands up for Jennifer and defends her, and protects her, and as crazy as she is, with all the things she does, he believes in her.

And I think in 2.01, what Jennifer thinks is happening when Cole’s, like, “Give me the virus,” at least my thought process, was that she found a purpose in to releasing the virus, and that is what she was meant to do, and I think Jennifer needs that purpose outside of the mental institution.

If you look at it, you know, she becomes CEO, and that’s something to focus on, and then there’s Olivia and the Army of the Twelve Monkeys; that's something to focus on. But the minute she doesn’t have anything, is when I think Jennifer loses it a bit, and I think that that’s very human. Like I'm even like that if I don’t have a purpose. If I don’t have a job to wake up to in the morning, why would I wake up?

And so I think at the beginning of 2.01, she believes this is her purpose, and then Cole is trying to talk her out of it, and when he successfully does, it’s because she sees her purpose as being with Cole.

And I think in episode 2.02, when she goes to the Emerson Hotel, I think in Jennifer's mind it’s like the movies, 'We’re going to live together, and we're going to solve this thing, and it's me and Cole against the world!'

And then she finds out it’s not that, that Cassie is much more in his life - and I know it’s not all about love, this show, but I’m speaking from Jennifer’s point of view, and I think it is in that way. And then when he says to “go find her purpose,” I think it’s a real turning point, because like in life, I think Jennifer’s journey through the whole series is finding out that her real purpose isn’t outside of herself.

And I know it sounds really cheesy, but it’s kind of like that Wizard of Oz thing, like it was always in your own back yard. Who Jennifer is already, being primary and all that, who she is, is her purpose, and it’s not going to be something for Olivia or for Cole, or for somebody else.

And I wish I could tell you ultimately what happens, because it goes way further than this, but I think what we do know, is that we’ve seen "Old Jennifer," so we know that she becomes this somewhat wise older woman who controls this army of badass warrior women. And so how does scatter brained, sometimes-crazy Jennifer become this older woman? And I think that’s what we get to see throughout season two, at least with Jennifer, is how she becomes this leader.

Can you talk about working with makeup effects for "Old Jennifer?"

Emily Hampshire and Aaron Stanford
It's such a gift as an actor to get to play yourself older, or like any kind of aging thing. Like when do you get to do that except like theater? But I did not love the process; it's four hours; it's not enjoyable. However, what is amazing, and what everyone should do, [is] I realized they did such a good job, that when I looked at myself in the mirror it really was like seeing myself older. I looked like my mother. And it did two things to me: it A, made me feel really great about the way I look now, which was helpful, because when I took the makeup off, I'm like, "Wooh I'm hot!" [laughs] Then also, I got this weird confidence that came over me of being like I didn't give a shit what people thought about me, of what they thought about how I looked. And being on camera, I wasn't worried about a double chin or whatever; it was amazing. So I really think it would be good therapy for a lot of women and men who are concerned with their looks to get aged, because it's great.

But then at the beginning, I wasn't so confident in that I knew how to play older me, and so I kind of didn't like playing Old Jennifer as much as playing Young Jennifer, but by the end, and when you see, I believe it's episode eleven, you will love Old Jennifer. I love Old Jennifer so much, and I wish I could tell you; I can't wait until you see it. But ultimately I loved playing her.

Describe Jennifer in three words.

Love. Love love love love love. Jennifer just like big love. Snacks. Love, snacks, and...bats.

**UPDATE: Be sure to read part two of this interview!**

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