Friday Syfy premieres its new drama, 12 Monkeys
. The series is based on the idea from the film of the same name and follows James Cole, played by Aaron Stanford, who comes from a future in which a virus has wiped out most of humanity. He travels back in time and with the help of virologist Dr. Cassandra Railly, played by Amanda Schull, tries to stop the Army of the 12 Monkeys from releasing the virus.
Recently the two stars talked to the digital media about the new series, which premieres Friday on Syfy.
According to the actors, the series is different from the film in many ways, but there were some things they pulled from the movie for their characters. Stanford told SciFi Vision, “For me, you know, it was a really interesting role for Bruce Willis, what he did with it. He’s generally remembered for really his action roles, just remember the John McClane, and he really brought this child-like innocence to the role in 12 Monkeys,
and it was expressed in his experience of our presence, you know, of our roles. This was a man coming [from an] unimaginably unpleasant, difficult place, where all of the pleasures, comforts, and everything, art, it was all taken – stripped away from him.
“So his experience of our world was very similar to that of a newborn. He’s experiencing everything for the very first time, and I really liked that choice and that idea, so I did try to bring a little bit of that to my performance as well.”
Schull saw some similarities in the characters as well. “Well, I didn’t re-watch the film before we shot the pilot. I didn’t want Madeleine’ [Stowe]'s performance to affect my performance, because we’re different characters, and I don’t think I could ever do her performance; she’s brilliant, you know? So, I made the choice to be different from that, and we are different characters in a lot of senses, different careers and you know different life trajectory.
“But going forward in the series, I did watch the film before we shot the show, and I think that the soft spot that Dr. Railly has for Cole is probably a very similar dynamic as in the film, that, you know, a lot of things can happen on the periphery, but at the core there’s a connection between the two characters.”
This season both actors get some action sequences and talked to the site about those that stood out. According to Stanford, “There’s a lot of action. I’m trying to think if there was a favorite. I mean, I think any favorite action sequences I had involve another actor we have in the cast, Barbara Sukowa, who’s a very, very well-known and celebrated German actress, if you don’t know her.
“[She] has been around for a long time and has a pretty amazing resume and body of work. But one thing that she had never done ever was an action scene...She’d never fired a gun, none of that. So, basically any action sequence where she was around or on the scene was my favorite, because I could watch her react to these things.
“She was so like blown away by everything in sight. That was a lot of fun for me.”
Schull added, “I actually do get to do a bit of action around the series, and anytime that I know I get to do something, I’m very excited. There was one scene with Aaron where I slipped into kind of like a slow-motion like slide to my knees, that was not one of my favorite things…[It was] painful to watch in my embarrassment. But, you know, I think anytime I get to do something myself I’m thrilled, just because I love to be physical with my work, and so I’m always excited when I have an opportunity to do that.”
Stanford also talked to SciFi Vision about working with the actor Kirk Acevedo, who plays Ramses on the series. “He was fantastic...He was great to work with. He’s the real thing, and he absolutely will go wherever he needs to go to get the job done. Very, very intense actor, and great to have as a scene partner, because, you know, that’s your lifeline in the scene; you’re reacting to what they’re doing, and Kirk was always deeply, deeply invested in the scene, and it was great to be opposite that and feed off of that.” Syfy Conference Call 12 Monkeys Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull January 8, 2015 2:00 p.m. ET QUESTION:
The series deals with time travel. As actors, do you ever find all the different timelines confusing, and how did you manage to keep it all straight? AARON STANFORD:
Well, thankfully, there’s a large army of people devoted and dedicated to keeping all that information straight, but yes, it can get very confusing at times, particularly when dealing with situations and scenes where there’re multiple versions of yourself running around.
So, yes, I was definitely confused by it, but there were always plenty of people on set that you could turn to if things get to be a bit too much. QUESTION:
Amanda? AMANDA SCHULL:
Sure, if you want my input. I concur entirely with Aaron. I also am a very meticulous note taker, so I usually have my notebook on set, just even for things that they wouldn’t necessarily be - the army that Aaron mentioned of people who are dedicated to that sort of thing.
I have my own notes on what my character knows, what she doesn’t yet, what has happened, what hasn’t happened yet, because with time travel, it can get a little bit confusing for sure, not only for Aaron’s reasons where there might be multiple versions of yourself, but also, you know, in different years what you may or may not know and what has or hasn’t happened yet. QUESTION:
For people who are actually familiar with the original movie and fans of that movie, how would you convince them that they need to watch the TV series? AARON STANFORD:
Well, I’m a huge fan of the original movie, and I was excited to get involved in the project for that reason, and, you know, I think that what I like about it, is it’s a chance to expand and explore the universe of 12 Monkeys
on a much larger scale. It’s a great chance to turn it into a much more epic story.
You know, the film 12 Monkeys
was based on a short film called La Jetée by a filmmaker named Chris Marker in 1962. And it was basically the same plotline, but it was a very different execution; it was a small, bite-sized chunk, and then 12 Monkeys
took that and they expanded it and made it their own, and now, what we’ve done is the same thing. You know, 12 Monkeys
is the inspiration, and it’s the source material, and we took that, and we turned it into something different and much more expansive. AMANDA SCHULL:
Well, no I was just going to say also you don’t need to be just a fan of the film or just a fan of the series. I think you can be both, because, you know, what Aaron said that we expanded, but also our characters are different from the film, and the storylines are different from the film. It’s got the same sort of original kernel but its own entity.
You know, we have this luxury of researching episodes. We’re not constrained by time. So, we have a lot of different characters that are introduced, and with guest stars and storylines that I think will be interesting for people who love the movie and people who aren’t familiar with the movie. QUESTION:
Given current day concerns about things like pandemics, I think that the story in this show is probably timelier than it was in the movie 20 years ago. What do you all think about that? AARON STANFORD:
Well, there’s a lot going on right now for sure, but I honestly think that this subject has been ripe for exploration for a very, very long time. I mean, right now everyone’s mind is on, you know, the newspaper headlines about Ebola, so that’s what you’re thinking about right now. But, you know, this type of [thing] has been going on for a very, very long time. You know, it’s the plague in the Middle Ages... QUESTION:
I just got through reading the book about the Spanish Flu of 1918. AARON STANFORD:
Exactly, yes. I was going to say, the influenza outbreak in the early 20th century, 1918, and H1N1 - the list goes on and on. You know, it’s been a very viable threat for a really long time, now just as much as ever. QUESTION:
If you all had a time-travel device, you’re very young, where you could go anywhere you wish, where would you like to go? AARON STANFORD:
That’s a tough one. You have one Amanda? AMANDA SCHULL:
I - you know what? I used to - I think that my answer was that I would want to go explore kind of a monumental moment in history, but maybe I would just like to go and hide probably, hide out, but witness dinosaurs, sort of roaming the earth. I think that would be fascinating. QUESTION:
It’d be pretty cool. AARON STANFORD:
I mean the difficulty is this, is that you know all these periods throughout history are fascinating, but the question is, would you really want to go there? Do you really want to give up hot showers? You know, do you want to give up indoor plumbing; do you want to give up all your conveniences? So, I think if I could go anywhere in time I would go to a fictional future where they had created a hollow deck, like on Star Trek
, and then you could visit any place you want throughout history with all of the modern conveniences. AMANDA SCHULL:
Aaron, you’re so fancy with your answer. AARON STANFORD:
It’s the ultimate answer. QUESTION:
What was it like filming in Toronto; are you guys done filming now? AARON STANFORD:
We are. Yes, we finished about a month ago. QUESTION:
You’re lucky you missed really cold weather. AARON STANFORD:
Yes, it was sort of an absolutely perfect time slot. We were there from, I think it was, the end of July till the beginning of December, Amanda is that it... AMANDA SCHULL:
Yes, that’s right. AARON STANFORD:
Yes, it was perfect. And I’ve been working in Toronto for the last four years on a different TV show called Nikita
Right. AARON STANFORD:
We were there through all the bitterness and the really, really hot summers and the cold winter, so it was nice to have like we just hit that sweet spot where it was perfect, just got like, you know, the tail end of the summer, and then all the fall with the beautiful foliage, and then beginning of the winter and then we got out. Beautiful. QUESTION:
You said that you’re going to have a lot of interesting characters, and I know that both Demore Barnes and Todd Stashwick have mentioned that they’re going to be on the show. Can you tease anything about their characters, who they’re going to be relating to, if we’re going to see them in the past, present, future? AARON STANFORD:
Yes, I think we’re allowed to tease out. They’re both from the future and they’re both pitted against each other on opposite sides. And one of them is going to be sort of like a scavenger king, and he’s leading an assault against Demore and the force of the civilization. QUESTION:
Amanda, how is it going to split between present and future? I’m assuming that Amanda you’re just going to be basically in the present, right? AMANDA SCHULL:
Yes. Dr. Railly was in 2015. So, what she knows of the future is basically only what Cole has told her. So her understanding of what’s going on is limited to that at this point. QUESTION:
I would say what’s really cool is the chemistry between you two, which is so important in the series like this...Talk about how you developed working with each other a little bit. I’d like to pose the way you brought intensity to Cole and Amanda, just, you know, she wants to like set up all these things to deal with pandemics, and here’s this guy telling her what’s happening, it would happen in the future, so it was almost like a kind of thing for them too more than anything else, but just talk about your chemistry and kind of setting that up together and working together that way. AARON STANFORD:
Well, Amanda couldn’t stand me at first, despite... AMANDA SCHULL:
At first. AARON STANFORD:
...in fact, and it was a long period of having to win her over. That’s what has led over into our characters.
No, you know, I think it gradually develops for me also, you know, over time - it’s not like a film where you read the scripts and you know what the story is from beginning to end, because you have the whole scripts right in front of you.
We don’t really know the whole story at the jump. So, you know, you’re watching things, the relationship sort of unfold in real time from my perspective anyway, and like you said, they’re thrown together by fate; they don’t really have much choice at the matter, and they’re very, very different people, they’re absolute opposites, but they’re thrown together, and I think that through this, you know, the crucible of what they have to do is a very, very difficult mission. They form a bond. AMANDA SCHULL:
I could add to that, I mean working with Aaron just from a personal level, not just, you know, from character level, he shows at the set very prepared and he gives you a 110 percent for every single scene, for every single page. And so, I think that helped with just our on-set chemistry which hopefully translates to the on camera chemistry that it’s nice working with someone who gives you as much as you give them and you can have an equal relationship and that has allowed us to be honest with the material because we both invest completely into each character. AARON STANFORD:
I think what’s really neat is the way they kind of perceive each is, you know, from your vantage Amanda. Is this guy a psycho; is he stalking me? And then, as Cole, you’re trying to convince her that you’re from the future and...you say some things that are plausible and possible and you have details about it that only she would know. So just kind of playing that line, you can’t get too manic with it, but you have to also be convincing. And then the other way from Amanda’s point is, you’re a little guarded; you’re not sure what he is, but yet he does kind of reach you a little bit too. So you’re both kind of walking a fine line there. AARON STANFORD:
Yes. I mean, from my perspective - so you have something that you know to be the truth. You know that it’s fact, but everyone else it seems completely impossible, it seems like it couldn’t possibly be true, so it’s a very frustrating situation to be put in. You know, it’s a pretty tall order to get someone to believe something that is impossible.
So, you know, when he ends up having to do in that scene, it gives her bits of information here and they start to sway her a little bit, but, you know eventually he realizes the only way to prove to someone that the impossible is true, really [show them] some things that is possible and happen right in front of their eyes, and that’s what he ends up having to do. QUESTION:
And Amanda from your point? AMANDA SCHULL:
Well from my perspective, I think for Dr. Railly, it’s exactly what Aaron just said that, it was really just to prove he’s not anything that he could possibly say, it’s something that she sees with her own eyes. She trusts herself. She doesn’t trust this man in front of her, so she trusts what she sees and she knows that to be true, which is what sort of allows her to go on this ridiculous journey with him, because she knows what she saw, and she knows her own intelligence, otherwise nothing he said would matter. QUESTION:
We find out pretty early into the first hour that Cassie fell apart a little bit between Cole’s first two visits, because she chose to tell the truth, do we ever look back at those intervening two years to kind of see what made Cassie decide to sort of tell everybody what she saw rather than keep it to herself and wait Cole out, and then the second part of that is that although her career seems to fall apart between 2013 and 2015, the timeline’s unaffected as far as her still being at the CDC in 2017, so will we get into a little bit of that about how these things have managed to still keep Cassie’s timeline intact, as well? AMANDA SCHULL:
I think that a lot of that will be playing in the third [episode], and I think, regarding what you asked about her, you know, not keeping her mouth shut and sort of telling - well, the police are on the scene, right when he disappears.
And so, we don’t see on camera what exactly happened, but I would imagine that they know that something happened, although they probably assumed he disappeared, you know like climbing onto a pole, or up a ladder, or, you know, somehow escaping. But like I said [previously], that she knows what she saw, and so I think that’s why she doesn’t keep her mouth shut.
She maybe doesn’t necessarily scream it from the mouth and talk, but she definitely told Aaron, because he’s her partner in life, and she would obviously share with him something that’s really troubling her or intriguing her, fascinating her, and who knows who he told and in her state of shock what she said to the police on the scene and the report. QUESTION:
And you see it register for Cole, when he comes back...he realizes that he’s really upended her life, does that weigh in to how Cole approaches each mission going forward since that sort of the basic construct of the show is he’s going to have to keep coming back and using her. AARON STANFORD:
So do we see that way on Cole? AARON STANFORD:
Yes, absolutely. As time goes on, and you know and the relationship develops and she comes to mean something to him, he does, he starts to realize really what he’s asking of her, and the toll that it takes on her, and it becomes an inter struggle for him, you know, whether or not he wants to continue with this and put this person that he cares about through difficulties and in danger. QUESTION:
Can you tell us about how each of you came to be cast, where there multiple rounds of auditions for you both and chemistry reads or the like? AARON STANFORD:
Well, Amanda you were cast first. So, why don’t you take the lead? AMANDA SCHULL:
I don’t even know if that’s an accurate statement though, because I would say, you know, I got the script before Aaron, and I did go into the hopper before Aaron did, but I think it wasn’t until Aaron and I had a chemistry read together that they finalized the casting. I’d say that that was really when it was all filled up.
Wouldn’t you say, Aaron? AARON STANFORD:
Yes, I would say. You know, it was a confusing casting process, and that’s usually how casting processes are. They can be sort of a mess, because you’re looking for something very specific, and you’re looking for oftentimes a very important chemistry between two characters, so they don’t necessarily want to nail one person down until they’re sure the other person’s going to be, and they’re sure if those people are going to have that sort of intangible ephemeral thing between them you know that spark.
So, yes, I can tell you the final round for me was coming in and reading with Amanda, and I still remember, it was a great experience; they really put us through it; there was a lot of improv, and she came 100 percent prepared and ready, and it was extraordinarily helpful. And, you know, we make something happen in the room, I think that’s how I got the part anyway at least. QUESTION:
Your chemistry together is very engaging. But Amanda, you appeared in an episode of Nikita
in 2013, I don’t recall specifically, but did you have any scenes with Aaron then or perhaps get to meet him at that time? AMANDA SCHULL:
No. I didn’t have any scenes with Aaron. All of my scenes were with Maggie and I had one scene with Lyndsy. So I didn’t get a chance to work with Aaron or Noah at all. AARON STANFORD:
No, she was busy kicking ass on that show, so it’s a primary function. AMANDA SCHULL:
I think that final ass that was kicked was mine, however. AARON STANFORD:
Well, always Nikita was easy to do, you know? You got some good ones in though, for sure. AMANDA SCHULL:
I got a couple of punches in. QUESTION:
Going back to the time travel question, sort of on a more personal level again, if you could go back and change one thing either globally or personally, what would you maybe pick at this present moment? AARON STANFORD:
I didn’t prep for that one man. AMANDA SCHULL:
You know Kerr what are you doing to us? AARON STANFORD:
It’s so much, that special... QUESTION:
It’s so much that’s why it would totally change from moment to moment. AARON STANFORD:
I would definitely moment to moment because it’s like butterfly effect you know? It’s a ripple. You know if you change... QUESTION:
Yes. AMANDA SCHULL:
It would change one thing, what does that change going forward? I mean maybe you’re not supposed to get so heady with this question, but this is really... QUESTION:
Well maybe there’s no... AARON STANFORD:
I tell you what, I’m not prepared until like I have a nice long bull session with a bunch of friends and we talk about like what’s the most important thing to change, I won’t be confident in my answer.
But I will say this, [the] one thing that I would love to do, which I think anybody would love to do, is go back in time and find a much younger version of myself and fill myself in all the things that I don’t need to worry about and give myself a little bit advice on life. QUESTION:
Yes, exactly. AMANDA SCHULL:
Yes, but Aaron that would totally change what you would be like going forward. AARON STANFORD:
Yes. It’s true. She’s right, what if you screw everything up? QUESTION:
Well what if there were no repercussions? AARON STANFORD:
See that makes... AMANDA SCHULL:
Well how do you know there are no repercussions? QUESTION:
Maybe because you can do it again. It’s something you can go back and do... AMANDA SCHULL:
OK. You mean over and over again. AARON STANFORD:
Because the leprechaun who’s allowed us to travel back in time [said] there are no repercussions. AMANDA SCHULL:
Yes. Granted. AMANDA SCHULL:
There are probably some people whose numbers I would delete a lot faster than I did. QUESTION:
In doing the research for your roles and for you know, a different time in history, in different locations, were there any surprises that you came across with that was unexpected in doing research? AARON STANFORD:
Yes. I mean, well the very first unexpected thing that I came across was that essentially time travel is possible; it’s mathematically possible. It’s been proven to be so, which was not something I was aware of. I thought it was entirely a flight of fancy and fiction, but the truth is, essentially they know how to do it; it’s just a matter of having the technology and the resources to do it. So that was an eye-opener for me. AMANDA SCHULL:
When we went to go do the pilot Aaron, and I was going for you know this hair and makeup test before we actually shot it, and we were only going to be in Detroit for one night, Aaron had a carryon of about six different books relating all to time travel, that he thought he was going to somehow read all in one evening and be able to totally understand time travel by the time... QUESTION:
My God. AMANDA SCHULL:
...we started shooting. AARON STANFORD:
Yes. I didn’t really think that one through. QUESTION:
Well, now you could give yourself more time to read them. AARON STANFORD:
And then of course, you know, almost none of them proved to be helpful, because our version of time travel is, you know, is our own. It’s like it’s a fictional version of time travel that is a little more conducive to storytelling. SCIFI VISION:
I really love the first two episodes. I can’t wait to see more, this is definitely my kind of sci-fi show. AARON STANFORD:
Great. SCIFI VISION:
So, I know at the beginning of the call you guys talked about obviously how much the show is different from the film, but I’m curious was there anything in particular about the characters from the movie that maybe you thought about as you created your version, like anything that you did pull from at all? AARON STANFORD:
For me, you know, it was a really interesting role for Bruce Willis, what he did with it. He’s generally remembered for really his action roles, just remember the John McClane, and he really brought this child-like innocence to the role in 12 Monkeys,
and it was expressed in his experience of our presence, you know, of our roles. This was a man coming [from an] unimaginably unpleasant, difficult place, where all of the pleasures, comforts, and everything, art, it was all taken – stripped away from him.
So his experience of our world was very similar to that of a newborn. He’s experiencing everything for the very first time, and I really liked that choice and that idea, so I did try to bring a little bit of that to my performance as well. SCIFI VISION:
Amanda? AMANDA SCHULL:
Well, I didn’t re-watch the film before we shot the pilot. I didn’t want Madeleine’s performance to affect my performance, because we’re different characters, and I don’t think I could ever do her performance; she’s brilliant, you know? So, I made the choice to be different from that, and we are different characters in a lot of senses, different careers and you know different life trajectory.
But going forward in the series, I did watch the film before we shot the show, and I think that the soft spot that Dr. Railly has for Cole is probably a very similar dynamic as in the film, that, you know, a lot of things can happen on the periphery, but at the core there’s a connection between the two characters. SCIFI VISION:
OK, great. And then I was curious, do you two have any favorite action scenes or anything? I don’t know how many action scenes are in the season, but I know there are some in the pilot. AARON STANFORD:
Yes. AMANDA SCHULL:
Aaron did a lot of fight and action sequences. He’s great at them. AARON STANFORD:
Yes, there’s a lot of action. I’m trying to think if there was a favorite. I mean, I think any favorite action sequences I had involve another actor we have in the cast, Barbara Sukowa, who’s a very, very well-known and celebrated German actress, if you don’t know her.
[She] has been around for a long time and has a pretty amazing resume and body of work. But one thing that she had never done ever was an action scene. She’d never been involved in an action, she’d never watched – heard a gun fire,she’d never fired a gun, none of that. So, basically any action sequence where she was around or on the scene was my favorite, because I could watch her react to these things.
She was so like blown away by everything in sight. That was a lot of fun for me. SCIFI VISION:
Cool. Amanda do you have any? AMANDA SCHULL:
I actually do get to do a bit of action around the series, and anytime that I know I get to do something, I’m very excited. There was one scene with you Aaron where I slipped into kind of like a slow-motion like slide to my knees, that was not one of my favorite things. But I... AARON STANFORD:
Which scene was that? AMANDA SCHULL:
It was in that warehouse that night, and it was really slippery. I don’t want to give so much on the phone. AARON STANFORD:
That would be cool, yes. AMANDA SCHULL:
...yes, like painful to watch in my embarrassment. But, you know, I think anytime I get to do something myself I’m thrilled, just because I love to be physical with my work, and so I’m always excited when I have an opportunity to do that. QUESTION:
In the original movie, I think they held the belief that time was somewhat immutable, that is, you really can’t change anything significantly by going back in time, but in the series, the opposite at least appears to be true in that that’s actually Cole’s mission, to go back in time to change the past to prevent the... AARON STANFORD:
...plague from even occurring. Is this actually a true statement something that they’re changing, or are we going to find out more information as the series go along? Just what can you say on that without giving too much away? AARON STANFORD:
I think I’m allowed to say that your observation is 100 percent correct. In the film, the understanding was that time was fixed. There was absolutely no way that they could change it, and Cole’s mission was only to go back and observe and bring back information. And that holds with the current theory of time travel that comes from Einstein’s theory of relativity, that you can travel through time but you cannot change it.
So, for the series, I think they sort of - in order to tell the kind of story they wanted to tell, they needed there to be the possibility of change. So they sort of went a different route and there are alternate theories of time travel that do allow things to be altered and changed, and that’s quantum theory.
So, the movie goes with relative theory and the TV should go with the quantum theory. QUESTION:
...Leland Frost...are we going to see that character again? Can you give any hints to that? AARON STANFORD:
I think that’s something that we can’t actually spoiler. QUESTION:
I think it’s very fascinating that the show is being paired with Helix
, which premiered on Syfy a year ago, and that also deals with health issues, pandemic, plague, crisis going out of control. Their attitude on the show is modifying their tagline is, if you play God, you pay the price.
And I’m wondering to both of you, when you were given guidance about playing your roles, did the producers give you any guidance about how you deal with pandemics? What is the edge by dealing with health crisis going out of control? And I’m wondering how comparable it is to what Helix
was doing? AARON STANFORD:
Well, they might’ve spoken to you a little bit about that Amanda. I mean, you’re you know, your character ends up working for the CDC. AMANDA SCHULL:
Right. Well, they didn’t give me any guidance specifically about how my character would deal with that other than what a virologist would do specifically in that instance. And in episode 3, you’ll see a flashback of Dr. Railly dealing with that exact scenario, and so you’ll understand how she would handle that sort of situation, because she becomes immersed in it. AARON STANFORD:
They get into various various little bits of protocol here and there, right? QUESTION:
Yes. AMANDA SCHULL:
Right, yes. QUESTION:
Atlas Entertainment, which produced the original movie 20 years ago, is also involved in the show. Charles Roven, who was the producer I think on the film, is a producer on this, did he give you any guidance about how to play your roles or what the tone of the series should be compared to the tone of the film? AARON STANFORD:
No, he didn’t specifically. He stayed, you know, in terms of performance, I know that he stayed pretty hands off and he allowed us leeway to you know to sort of find our own way, which is great. The show is inspired by the movie, it’s based on the movie, but it is definitely not the movie. It is an entirely different thing, and that was the idea; we wanted to make it our own. QUESTION:
Amanda anything for you? AMANDA SCHULL:
No, Chuck didn’t give me any direct character notes...Both he and Richard Suckle are very generous in allowing the writers, you know, the creators, and then the actors as well, of a lot of interpretation and a lot of flexibility, so we’re very fortunate in that regard. QUESTION:
I was wondering if either of you were given show bibles ahead of time to detail your character’s back stories, or did you essentially discover all those of types of details as the shooting progressed? AARON STANFORD:
I certainly wasn’t given a bible, but I did have a sit-down with Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas, who were the two writer-creators of the show, and they gave me a rough breakdown of what the character’s journey was going to be. And in TV, I think that’s usually as good as it gets because that’s all the writers had, a rough idea.
And as time goes on and they watched the episodes develop, they see how things change on the day and what the dailies look like and what the acts look like when they’re cut together you know there’s always little nips and tucks and tweaks that are going to be made. AMANDA SCHULL:
I wasn’t given a bible either, and like Aaron, I had a couple of long conversations with both gentlemen, as well as checking e-mails, and we’re very fortunate that both of them came up periodically to watch, and we could talk between scenes and even talk during the scenes about what he meant and the trajectory of the character, you know, in the short term, as well as the long term, over the course of the [season] - in episodes, and my character does have a very specific arc, and they wanted to make sure that I was aware a bit of the endpoint that they knew that they were going to get to, so I could keep that in mind, which is a nice luxury, because as Aaron said, with television you don’t know where you’re going, but I knew the definite point that I was going to finish up; I just didn’t know the specifics of how I was going to get there, so I just needed to make choices along the way that would justify that endpoint. AARON STANFORD:
Yes. You usually know the start and the destination and the road there is sort of a question mark. AMANDA SCHULL:
The first two episodes, essentially you’re a twosome, you’re a pair, but with the character that Noah Bean plays, and Emily Hampshire plays as well, it seems like there’s a possibility that at some point you could become a trio. Is there a third character or an additional character that either of you spent the most time with besides each other that you might want to talk about shooting how that went? AARON STANFORD:
I think Noah would be the third member of the ménage a trois you speak of, right? Noah Bean plays the character of Aaron... AMANDA SCHULL:
Aaron Marker. AARON STANFORD:
...Mark, Matthews... AMANDA SCHULL:
You have trouble remembering that name. AARON STANFORD:
Matthews’ love interest. And he is put into a very difficult and precarious situation. He is in love with Cassandra but he believes that she’s lost her mind and in trying to protect her he ends up pushing her away and damaging the relationship and then it develops from there. I don’t want to get too much into it because that’s spoilery. QUESTION:
Your series was the first to be paired with Philips Hue home lighting live effect system. AARON STANFORD:
I’m wondering if either of you have gotten to experience an episode of your show yet with that system. AARON STANFORD:
As a matter of fact, I just experienced it. I went to the CES conference in Vegas and they had their whole rig set up in a room playing on a loop with the pilot, so we got a chance to see it, and it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool I’ve got to say.
You know, it’s fascinating; in order to make it work, someone has to write what’s called a lighting score, so it’s similar to scoring the show with music. These guys score it with light, so it’s really nice addition to the experience, and it turns it into an even more immersive experience. A lot of fun. QUESTION:
You mentioned that there are different versions of timeline effective and how time travel is characterized between the show and the movie. Does that give you a little bit of a safety net from episode to episode, where sort of in the back of your mind, ‘well we can reset this, if something kind of goes one way or another with the characters or with an arc,’ is that ever brought up in the conversation that if you mess something up or something goes sideways, there’s going to be other opportunities to go back and fix it? AARON STANFORD:
Yes. There’s an element of that, but I think they don’t want to use too much of that, you don’t want to lean too much on that, because it takes the stakes out of the situation. You know, you want there to be the sense that things matter, you know, that if you don’t achieve this goal or if you screw this one thing up, it’s going to have consequences.
So, I think what they’re trying to use the time travel element for is more to complicate and make things more difficult and less to use it as a get out of jail free card. QUESTION:
Talk about working with Tom Noonan. AARON STANFORD:
Wow, what can one say about that? I mean he absolutely inhabited the character. I mean plays a very, very frightening and imposing character and pretty much the entire time he was on set he had the entire cast and crew terrified of him.
So, he... AMANDA SCHULL:
That’s not true. He’s a softie. AARON STANFORD:
I was terrified. He’s an imposing guy. I mean, yes, every once in a while he drop character, but you know he really – he’s a consummate method actor. AMANDA SCHULL:
Well, you know, I think I had a unique experience with him, because we definitely had a few nights where for whatever reason Tom and I had downtime together while you were working, and so Tom and I spent - there was one Friday that was bled into a Saturday morning that Tom and I sat in our chairs until 7 o’clock in the morning and I just listened to Tom tell old acting war stories and just his life stories; he just has me riveted.
And then we’d go out and we do 30 seconds of the scene, and then we come back and he go, “So where was I?” And we pick up exactly where he had left off. So, I... AARON STANFORD:
Man, I’m sorry I missed that. AMANDA SCHULL:
I just have such a soft spot for Tom. I adore that man. AARON STANFORD:
Tom Noonan is terrifying and lovable. AMANDA SCHULL:
Tom Noonan is a giant softie. AARON STANFORD:
He’s soft serve ice cream in a steel shell. QUESTION:
We obviously don’t know very much of what is coming, we’ve just seen two episodes, but do you foresee, are you able to shed any light on if there might be a chance of the story arc actually concluding while then opening up room for new story arcs down the line? AARON STANFORD:
How - I mean, I would say absolutely. You know anything is possible, and that’s the nice thing about this premise and type of story. You know it could really conceivably go absolutely anywhere.
I haven’t talked to the writers about exactly what their plans are for season 2, but you know they crammed a lot of story into season 1. I mean, in my opinion it’s like three seasons’ worth of story.
So, yes, where we go season 2 is really anybody’s guess. AMANDA SCHULL:
I think what’s interesting about the writers, just to, you know, tag on with what Aaron just said, is that yes, we did cram three seasons of story, and I was talking to Terry and Travis about that one day and Terry - Travis I think, as we said, they have a motto that they never read anything not, you know, that if they have a desire or an interest in a particular storyline or particular scene or something, and they think something could be great, they write as if they’ll never get that opportunity again, as if there’s never going to be a second season or a next episode.
So, I think that makes a really interesting viewing for an audience because it is so jam-packed. There aren’t a lot of dull moments. I actually can’t think of a single dull moment. It’s like freight train.
And then as an actor, you don’t ever feel like, we did this already, you know, rehashing this all over again, because those two guys are really creative gentlemen and they don’t ever want there to be a dull moment, and I think it’s also for selfish purposes, that they get really excited by the subject matter, and they love to write and create. AARON STANFORD:
Yes, they’re the biggest fan boys you’re ever going to meet. That’s what great having them work on the show, because they absolutely – they you know eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff; it’s all they care about, it’s all they’re into, so it’s nice having somebody like that during the show. AMANDA SCHULL:
Yes. Indeed. QUESTION:
Where would you each like to see your characters go? What direction? AARON STANFORD:
It’s tough to say. Like I said, there are so many different possibilities. The only thing I care about is that the journey’s a long one, I’d like that, and, you know, as always want to see your character stretched to extremes, so wherever Cole goes, I want it to be somewhere that is very, very far from where he began. I want to see some kind of very, very fundamental change in who he is. QUESTION:
Right. Good. What about you Amanda? AMANDA SCHULL:
I agree with Aaron that you know a, I would like for it to be a very long journey and b, it’s really exciting for an actor to be able to change and how rewarding is it to be able to know the core who this person is and where they came from and then have the gift of storyline over the course of a series, a season, even an episode, and also what the subject matter with time travel be able to be different versions of this person and be so affected by major events that it changes this person on so many levels that we’re really given this luxury of creativity but comfort within one person you know one character.
So I think we’re spoiled in that regard, and if I could say that, you know, choose anywhere for my character to go there, actually taking her to some pretty fantastic places over the course of the first season, so I can only imagine that it’s going to get even more exciting if we’re lucky enough to have a second. SCIFI VISION:
Amanda, I don’t know if you’ve - well unless he goes back in time as well, I guess you’d probably haven’t worked with him, but Aaron, I was wondering if you could talk about working with Kirk Acevedo? AARON STANFORD:
Kirk, yes. Yes, he was fantastic...He was great to work with. He’s the real thing, and he absolutely will go wherever he needs to go to get the job done. Very, very intense actor, and great to have as a scene partner, because, you know, that’s your lifeline in the scene; you’re reacting to what they’re doing, and Kirk was always deeply, deeply invested in the scene, and it was great to be opposite that and feed off of that.