Launched in 2015, the 12 Monkeys TV series raised a few eyebrows when it was announced. Based on the successful film of the same name directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Bruce Willis, many thought there wasn’t anywhere else the story could go.
That couldn’t be further from the truth – three years and four heart-pounding seasons later, 12 Monkeys gave us some great episodes of television, as well as characters and relationships we were all invested in.
12 Monkeys follows the story of time traveller, Cole (Aaron Stanford) who is using a dangerous and untested method of time travel. His mission is to travel from the future to the present day to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate most of the human race. However, things get more complicated when he bumps into Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) and the two develop a bond and mutual focus on saving the human race.
Taking place in the ravaged future of 2043 and the present day, 12 Monkeys explores themes of destiny, fate, love and the possibility of second chances.
Now, 12 Monkeys is getting the special release it deserves from Viavision with this new Ultimate Collection blu-ray, featuring all four seasons of the series, the 12 Monkeys film, and an exclusive bonus disc collecting never before released supplements including Talking Monkeys Audio Podcasts, featurettes, interviews, concept art galleries, trailers and more!
To celebrate this release we spoke to Amanda Schull about the series, the relationship between Cole and Cassie and that amazing series finale!
How did you first get involved with 12 Monkeys?
I got the role the old fashioned way – I auditioned! It was a fairly long audition process for TV. I think I really had to convince them I was the right person to play Cassie.
What were your first thoughts when you heard a TV show was being made based on the Terry Gilliam film? Were you aware of the film before you became involved in the show?
I was definitely aware of the film before I became involved in the show. But I made a very conscious effort to not re-watch it before I shot the pilot. I didn’t want to try to emulate the wonderful Madeleine Stowe. Also, our show isn’t a remake of the film. It’s its own being.
What were your first thoughts when you read the script for the TV show?
I loved Cassie’s strength and intelligence. She sort of acts as the embodiment of the audience perspective throughout the first few episodes if not the first season. I love how she is able to go on this journey with Cole, while still maintaining a grounded perspective of what she thinks normalcy is. From that first episode to the series finale, I fell more and more in love with Cassie.
What would you say are the central themes to the 12 Monkeys TV show?
I think it would surprise anyone who hasn’t seen the series to know that one of the central themes is love. Everyone who has watched the series in its entirety knows that it is a love story. It is about how far a person would go for love. For love of the family into which you are born and the family you choose. It is also probably the most romantic love story I have ever had the honour of portraying.
Do you have a favourite episode of 12 Monkeys?
That’s a really difficult question to answer. There is something magical about every episode. I think the final two episodes of season four were the most special to make. We were ending this epic journey together on film and in life. Every one of us was emotional throughout the filming of those two episodes – it was originally supposed to be just one episode, but we had so much story to get in that they expanded it into two.
Apart from your own character of Cassandra, do you have a favourite character in 12 Monkeys?
That’s like picking your favorite child! I have never seen a show that had such multi-faceted characters as 12 Monkeys. The women in particular, are phenomenally thought out. Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa), Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire), Hannah Jones (Brooke Williams) – all as sensational as the women who played them. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Olivia (Alisen Down). Who wouldn’t want to play that role!
What are your thoughts on Cassandra and Cole’s relationship?
As I mentioned before – I think it’s the greatest love story I have ever played. It literally transcends time. How is that for romance!
Are there elements in the TV show you would have liked to have explored more?
I could have done that role and that show for the rest of my life. I would have loved to see where Cassie would have gone to protect the world, her family, her love. I probably would have been exhausted (we had very ambitious schedules), but I would have done it happily!
Without any spoilers! Are you satisfied with the way the show ended?
I am. So many storylines come full circle. And they make sense! That isn’t always the case with show finales!
What’s next for you?
I am actually writing to you from Canada, where I am shooting a lovely Christmas movie for Hallmark.
The 12 Monkeys Ultimate Collection blu-ray is available now from ViaVision.