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Exclusive: Amanda Schull Talks Season Two of 12 Monkeys

Amanda SchullTonight Syfy airs the eighth episode of season two of its hit series, 12 Monkeys. In the episode Cassandra Railly, played by Amanda Schull, is tasked by Jones to go back to 2020 and kill her younger self, to prevent the advent of time travel, but things do not go as planned.

Recently Schull talked to Jamie Ruby in an exclusive interview about her work on the series, including the future of Cassie and Cole (Aaron Stanford)'s relationship, as well as what she and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) could be planning.


**Interview contains spoilers for episode 2.08**

SCIFI VISION: With all this crazy stuff going on this season, how much did you find out ahead of time? Was some of it left to a surprise, or did you kind of know everything at beginning of the season, especially the big shockers at the very end of the season?

Amanda SchullAMANDA SCHULL: Well, Terry Matalas, our creator and showrunner for season two, he likes to share ideas with us, and it’s really helpful. You know, when you’re on a film, you obviously have the whole character arc that you know how to create and how to sprinkle in, and develop over the course of the ninety minutes or whatever it is, and with television, often you don’t know what’s coming from one episode to the next.

And I’ve had major character developments happen that would have been really nice to know about, because you could have sort of hinted at it, or at least kind of known in how to progress it and progress your character in kind of an organic way.

And with 12 Monkeys, the nature of the show, and the nature of needing to have everything figured out because of timelines and causalities, and just because Terry has the whole season figured out in his head - he has two more seasons figured out in his head - he shares with us what’s going on. And it’s incredibly beneficial to my personal performance. I like to know these things. Some actors don’t, but he told us, and me in particular, basic plot points. I knew what was coming at the very end of the season, which I didn’t necessarily need to know, because that’s obviously a surprise to Cassie as well. But it’s helpful, I think especially because it reminds me of who Cassie is going forward. She’s had a lot of changes, but she’s still the same person that the audience got to know in the first season. So, I think I basically knew everything that was going to happen before we started, I just didn’t necessarily know how it was going to go down.

Going off of that, about Cassie having changed, last season it was Cole who was the one who was like, “We can kill whoever we want; it doesn’t
matter; everything is going to reset,” and this season, Cole has been kind of holding back, like with protecting Jennifer (Emily Hampshire), yet she’s ready to do anything. So can you talk about her perspective changing and how it has changed her as a person?

She’s a product of her environment in the second season. So in the first season, she’s probably the most relatable person to the audience starting out, you know, she’s just going about her business when this crazy person drops into her world and gives her this crazy story, and it’s only over the course of the thirteen episodes that - she obviously believes him fairly early on, because of how he demonstrates it to her - but going forward it's over the thirteen episodes that it gets through to her that her methods aren’t cutting it. Her [oath of] “do no harm” and gathering the evidence and trying to go about it in a logical way, aren’t cutting it.

Amanda SchullAnd when she’s finally faced with the opportunity to shoot who she believes is the architect, or at least who has led the architects of the plague to the front doorstep of all of humanity, Ramse, she’s going to take him out. Because she’s had this series of events that not only have led her to believe that violence is an answer, but also that have hardened her. She’s watched her fiancée die in front of her eyes. They’ve come at her personally; they’ve destroyed her life. One life to save seven billion is nothing at that point; she realizes that.

Going into season two, it’s just more of that; it’s more of the same. And it’s also stepping up out of the facility. It’s kill or be killed, and she has become, as I said, a product of that environment, out of necessity, because I think she probably wanted to step outside of the facility at first to do research, to learn everything she could, but you can’t step out without being armed to your teeth and having protection, and that’s where Deacon (Todd Stashwick) comes in very handy.

Speaking of Deacon, can you talk about their relationship?

I think that theirs is a relationship, again out of necessity, but also there's something that they see in one another that fills a certain place. Also I think that for Cassie, he's protection, and she also sees somebody that in a way she can take care of. That's something that she is very familiar with and very comfortable doing.

Amanda SchullYou know, the scene in which we learn about Deacon's childhood he says, "He knows about my father," and so you realize that Deacon has been vulnerable to Cassie. So they've had a relationship in a different sense of how anybody knows Deacon. So it's not just that she's using him or he's using her, despite what Jones has said about that situation, it's also that they probably get something back from one another as a companionship that is not that common in 2044.

Did you enjoy dressing up in different period dress, and which was your favorite?

Yes. I love all of that; I love playing dress up. It's not that convenient to run around in a 1940s dress and high heels, so for that sake, it isn't as fun as it may look, but yeah.

And that was a real vintage piece that I got to wear in the 1940s, the red with the little red capelet, and that was really exciting to get to try everything on.

And it's something that I've said about this character, is that on what other show would there be so many incarnations of one person? I get to dabble in the 1940s, and I get to go back to the 50s and 60s as well.

And then by the end of the season, I'm wearing my tact vest again, and pulling semi-automatic weapons on people. So that's just, it's almost kind of, and I mean this might sound like the feminist in me coming out, but it's almost a literal way to describe like as far as the visual cue goes, like the modern day woman. It's multifaceted. A writers’ room filled with mostly men has created a character that shows softness literally in her dress all the way through to the most hardened in her dress as well. It's really unique.

Talking about guns, do you enjoy the fight scenes and that kind of thing? And did you get any stunt or weapons training?

Yeah, they did give some weapons training as well as some fight training, and I needed it. I haven't done a lot of that work with other characters.

I was saying to somebody, I think a couple days ago, that it's interesting, because I often play the antagonist, but very rarely the physical antagonist. It's usually a much more verbal sparring that I do. So I needed the fight training, and it was something that I just loved. I wasn't that familiar with it, but the idea of being physical is really comfortable to me; I have a dance background.

Amanda SchullSo that was really exciting to have somebody work with me and teach me choreography and just get a different kind of physicality in my body. It's hard; it is not easy. It also gave me a much greater respect for martial arts and boxing and that sort of thing. There's actually a lot of technique that goes into it that I just didn't know anything about. I was completely uneducated on it.

And then obviously with the weapons training, I don't own a weapon, and to be able to look like I was comfortable with one, I needed to have training with that, because they're scary. And to look like you know what to do with something as powerful as a semiautomatic gun, I think it's really important to get training.

And actually one of the first things my weapons trainer had me do was learn to completely dismantle my automatic gun, take it apart completely, and then put it back together again. And he would time me and video me. And then he also taught me to load my magazine and put that in and everything. So it wasn't just the actual firing of the gun; he taught me to kind of respect the gun and the components of it as well.

At the end of episode eight, Cassie and Ramse talk, and they kind of seem like they maybe have their own agenda, and they're going to do what they want and not necessary go with what Cole wants. Can you talk about that and also how it is going to affect her and Cole?

Well, Cassie for obvious reasons, is very traumatized by her encounter with The Witness, and think for a woman who's as smart and as strong and as capable as she is, it rattled her so completely to her core that somebody was able to possess her brain. I think she values her intelligence and her brain above basically anything else, any of her other qualities or attributes. And the fact that she was manipulated in that way and caused harm, that is so upsetting to her that she wants to avenge this possession in a way that's much more personal for her than I think Cole could ever possibly understand. He understands that The Witness is this great threat, but he doesn't understand the personal fury that she has underneath all of that.

The only person who does understand that is Ramse, and it's because although it was Cassie's actions in the physical body, it was The Witness in the sort of cerebral sense that took his son from him, the only thing he had in that world. So the two of them forge this very unlikely alliance going forward, because they have this very unfortunately camaraderie.

At the end of the episode, Cole and Cassie kind of break apart. She's like, 'I can't do this anymore.' Can you talk to that?

Amanda SchullAt the end of eight Cole takes Cassie's hand, and she basically says, 'We can't do this.' And the reason she says that, is because she feels it will hurt her too much, because I think she knows, in the bottom of her heart I know she knows, that she loves him. I know she knows that they have this bond that is unique to any other two humans bond across time, but she can't slow down. If she allows herself that happiness, she might miss out on other things that she needs to tackle. She might take time from the mission, and the mission is above all else what drives her forward. She says, "We have so much to lose; we both know we're going to lose so much before this is over." There's a very good possibility that one or both of them may die before accomplishing this mission. And she can't lose sight of the mission, because if she falls in love with Cole and allows herself to go down that road, then losing him will be more pain, and she just can't take that anymore. She needs to keep her barriers up. She needs to keep her callus sort of developing. She can't soften anymore, and that's really painful for her.

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

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