Interview with 12 Monkeys Star Amanda Schull

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Amanda Schull became known as an actress with her role as Jody Sawyer in cult classic, Center Stage (2000). She has recurring roles in USA’s Suits and TNT’s Murder in the First.Today, she is best known for her character, Dr. Cassandra Railly- a brilliant virologist on SyFy’s 12 Monkeys. Amanda Schull sat down with us to discuss work.

Amanda Schull became known as an actress with her role as Jody Sawyer in cult classic, Center Stage (2000). She has recurring roles in USA’s Suits and TNT’s Murder in the First. She has also appeared in Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill, Suburgatory, Nikita, Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, Bones, Lie To Me, Hawaii Five-0, Castle, Psych. Today, she is best known for her character, Dr. Cassandra Railly- a brilliant virologist on SyFy’s 12 Monkeys. Schull sat down with us to talk about the characters we know and love.

You have played a couple of different characters with very different backgrounds all at the same time. Did that ever get confusing or hard for you to keep straight?

It sometimes gets confusing before I am on set, just doing the homework is the only time it gets confusing. Trying to make sure I am in the right headspace to do the prep work and get organized. As soon as I am on set it’s fine. All of my characters have very different postures, very different ways of speaking, very different wardrobe and that always helpful. To put on my fancy Katrina wardrobe as opposed to my Harley Davidson boots with 12 Monkeys.

Which character that you have played do you relate to most?

I think I relate to something in all of them. It sounds crazy and maybe it’s because I have lived in her skin more consistently and for a longer period of time, but I think I relate to Cassie. It is not because I am doing anything as noble as her trying to save the world, but it’s more just that I get why she’s doing it and I can sort of identify with her determination, but of course I live a very different life from her.

Is there any piece(s) of clothing from a character’s wardrobe you wish were your own?

There is something from every single character’s wardrobe. With 12 Monkeys it’s kind of hard I can’t really sneak away with anything because with the time travel element I could very well need to wear something from several episodes back or even a season or two back. I never get to keep anything. We have some beautiful vintage and created to look vintage pieces coming up in the next couples of episodes that I would have loved to keep- beautiful coats and dresses. And of course I would be crazy if I didn’t admit that Katrina Bennett’s wardrobe is pretty outstanding.

You have played a lot of strong women. What does that mean to you?

I love it. I think it’s kind of becoming more commonplace- my favorite shows are shows with strong women. I think that’s what a lot of people prefer to watch nowadays. I think watching somebody waiting around for a man to rescue them is interesting television. I don’t think women identify with that first of all and men, whether they realise it or not, find it rather dull. When I get this material to read and audition for, it feels comfortable for me. Being the victim or the victim’s wife just seems outdated. It seems almost frivolous. It’s not real life and it’s hard for me to relate to.

Your character on 12 Monkeys does a lot of time travel travelling. Is there a specific time you would like her to go?

By the end of episode 12, the late fifties are very comfortable for Cassie. I think if she were to live in a time period and not have any impending threats that might be not a bad one for her.

Cassie is different this season. Was the transition hard to manage?

It hasn’t been difficult for me to manage. I have been surprised that people haven’t understood the transition and the reasons because for me I feel like she is very much still the same person that she was when we met her, it’s just buried under so much. She is having to face much bigger obstacles than she’s understood or she had ever faced. Because of that she has had to harden, but at her core she is still a doctor. She still believes in humanity which is why she is fighting so hard to save it. So, for me it has been a challenge, but it’s been really wonderful to build on this person that I think is so noble and moral. I think audiences have had a little bit of a challenge trying to go on that journey because from the very beginning  I think she was a little bit of the audience’s perspective seeing all of this happen. Now, she is very much in the throngs of this battle to save humanity basically and people don’t identify with that quite as easily.

With this new, meaner and stronger Cassie there have been more weapons and fights. How was the training for it?

It’s been really interesting getting a new skill set. I have never really had this kind of extensive education on weapon training or fight training so, that was something in the beginning of season 2 they worked with me and I had sometime before we started shooting with a weapons trainer and a fight trainer. I got to work with them throughout a little bit whenever I had fights coming up. Also, whenever they’re on location they understand that it’s imperative to me to understand the fighting, whether it’s physical or weapons fighting, as much as possible so, everyone in both of those departments really took a lot of time and patience educating me. I am a very physical person because of my dance background so, the fight training and learning it was different from my usual physicality but it’s a lot of fun to be able to get that kind of work in and be able to manifest a character’s strength physically not just with dialogue or with a look. I was really excited to take her to that level this season.

Was there a scene that was especially difficult to film?

Fight scenes can be tricky because of camera angles and doing things that seem very contradictory. It’s  really important to have good people to teach you how to do that and also to have good choreography that makes sense. It’s always hard, but it was an exciting challenge.

What do you want your audience and fans to know about Cassie?

There is a reason for her “coldness”. I don’t think it’s cold. I thinks it’s a strength and a mission focus.  She doesn’t have time for the romance, but sometimes the audience seems to want that to happen to her. The world is at stake and people keep talking about how they want her and Cole to make out. It’s like guys, let’s keep our eyes on the ball here, let’s focus on what’s important to her . Also, she is well intentioned. She is doing things for the good of humanity she isn’t doing things for her own good.  Also, she is well intentioned. She is doing things for the good of humanity she isn’t doing things for her own good. I think that’s an admirable trait. It’s not just to benefit her own future. She is putting her life on the line for billions of people when she goes on these missions because she believes in the world and she believes in the future. I think so much of her. I think she is smart and funny. I also think she is a wonderful liar when it comes down to it and I admire that quality in a strange way. I think people need to take a second to contemplate her motives before judging her. Also, would audiences genuinely be interested in watching a woman just go along with what men suggest she do? I think that that’s not what people, especially fans of this show, would be interested in watching.

Is there anything you can say about what’s coming up on 12 Monkeys?

I can tell you that a lot of questions will be answered. Some people will get what they want and other audiences will get what they really don’t want. A lot of questions answered and even more introduced.


Josey graduated from Malone University with a communication arts degree with an emphasis in public relations and marketing minor. She was the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Aviso. When she was about 12 years old she read her first magazine and instantly knew she wanted to write for one. She absolutely loves telling a story through her writing.

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