Amanda Schull Talks 12 Monkeys Season 4 Premiere Night [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episodes of 12 Monkeys.]
Well, that was much easier to navigate than a three-day binge, right? 12 Monkeys roared back tonight with three episodes that put the spotlight on Cassie as she had to fight murderous impulses and deal with the consequences of acquiescing to her better self. I spoke to Amanda Schull recently about wrapping up the series, and Cassie’s choices in tonight’s episodes.
Schull had mixed emotions that the team was able to reassemble for a final season on their own terms and says it absolutely informed their ethic on these last episodes, which spent a fair amount of time shooting in Prague. “Season 4 locations are breathtaking. I got to see Prague probably like nobody else gets to see it because of these locations and it lends itself to the story tremendously, and not just the landscapes, but the buildings–abandoned churches and castles. You step on set and you believe it,” she shares.
“[Coming back for a final season] made it more emotional and it made every single person go for broke with everything. You don’t leave anything on the table. That goes for very single department. You do everything you possibly can.”
“The writers put the story they always wanted to put on the page. The wardrobe, the art dec know this is the end of something, that you might not have these opportunities again because it was a show of opportunity for every single person. I think that is really, really rewarding and also at the same time, stressful.”
“Terry [Matalas] and the writers wanted to be sure they did everything justice. I was really worried [because] I wanted to to make sure I did everything to bring [Cassie’s] story to camera. I was relieved that I knew [we were wrapping] but at the same time anxious and heartbroken. I could do Cassie for years. I think she’s such an amazing, fascinating, multi-faceted woman and I was so fortunate to bring her to life.”
Schull took a moment to reflect on working opposite James Callis last season. “[When] he came into the hair and makeup trailer [the first time], he had watched all the episodes and he was looking at us like the characters. He had already invested himself in [his] character. He was saying he was already a fan,” she recalls.
“From that point forward, he wanted to do everything he could to service the show and the character and relationships and he had so many wonderful ideas because had watched every episode so intensely. That was really special to have somebody of that caliber be so familiar and make so many choices on the fly about how we would relate to each other in this bizarre and unique relationship. The first scene I ever shot with James was that first scene in the hospital break room. I think that was his first scene at all.”
In tonight’s premiere episode, Jones is bleeding out in the aftermath of the Season 3 finale, and Cole is desperate to have Cassie save her, but she hesitates. Schull says we have to frame that in the context of how much had just happened in a matter of minutes for her character. “The Jones opportunity would be one of revenge and the possibility that it would stop the cycle. That perhaps that would do something to the timeline going forward that would be something they need,” she explains.
“In the moment, she sees the woman who shot her son. At that point, it’s been an hour in her life. She sees the opportunity to enact a little bit of revenge. She’s gone dark. She saw her son splinter away and thought he died and Jones is responsible and Olivia declares herself the Witness and has this omnipotent power.”
“Then her son reappears and leads her to safety and sacrifices his life and it’s so hard for her to allow him to do that and she allows it because he insists upon it and then the house of cedar and pine with all her happy memories burns. All of these things are in the last hour of her life.”
“It’s a really hard concept for her and she has a chance to let Jones go, and maybe this will do something to a timeline and stop things. At her core, she’s a doctor and she’s not that person and she snaps out of it when she realizes where she’s gone.”
When Olivia turns up in a 1971 police booking photo, Cassie wastes no time in going after her, and then can’t quite follow through with killing her when she sees she’s pregnant. Schull says she understood Cassie’s decision, but she personally would’ve not caved on the opportunity. “With Olivia, she sees the potential of maybe changing the timeline right then and there from one mother to a future mother, that maybe she can get through to her and stop all this before she begins,” she says.
“Even though Cassie didn’t get the chance to share a motherhood with [Athan] as a child, she still went through the emotions of bearing him and wanting to protect him. She sees Olivia is pregnant and it strike a chord with her and she thinks maybe there’s another tactic, another approach. I personally thought, ‘We need to off her right now, what is she doing?’ I. Amanda. was furious with Cassie.”
“Time isn’t linear on our show and Olivia is able to manipulate the earlier Olivia. For Cassie [in 1971], time is strangely linear because she wouldn’t have been alive then. Olivia is creating the Olivia she becomes based on who she is now, which is a heady concept.”
The final season of 12 Monkeys continues next Friday. I’ll have part two of my chat with Amanda after the episodes. The premiere episodes that aired tonight will repeat throughout the weekend and should be online Saturday.
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