With Syfy’s 12 Monkeys June 15th premiere, this marks the beginning of the end of a three-year journey for actress Emily Hampshire. Those years would probably look odd on anyone else’s resume.
During her tenure on the time-traveling adventure series, Hampshire’s been locked in a psychiatric facility and served as the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company, a playwright, and star of one-woman show set in World War I-era France. She’s hopped, skipped, and jumped her way through the past and the future, playing a rebel leader in the year 2043, the hostage of a time-traveling terrorist group in 2015, and a primary — a person whose mind essentially serves as a pillar that holds the structure of time together.
The show’s final season holds more of the same. Hampshire reprises her role as the brilliant but troubled Jennifer Goines, a woman whose connection to time is so unique, no one can understand her. The actress brings a bewitching kind of frenetic energy to Jennifer, a character who, one minute, is gifting the audience with a wildly strange rendition of 99 Luftballons, the next, leading an army to attack a splintering stronghold. In season four alone, she’ll travel to the Wild West, the Dark Ages, and an era not too far off from our own. She’ll also be charged with helping to save the world and time itself, so no pressure.
UPROXX chatted with Hampshire about the highly-anticipated end of the sci-fi series, and we learned where to look for spoilers, how Hampshire keeps track of her different personalities, about the importance of addressing mental illness, and why this might not be the final curtain call for her wacky, lovable heroine.
It been a weird, wild ride to get to season four. Do you have to take a refresher course before shooting each season, just to keep track of where the story’s going?
Yes. It’s such an epic story and so many things happen to us on the show. Any show that I do, before we start a new season, I always binge watch the last season just for a reminder, but this show especially, I need like a bible of where I was and when with all these different timelines and different Jennifers. Luckily, we have (showrunner) Terry Matalas, our God, to keep us on track.
To live in his mind for a day would be interesting.
Right? What’s crazy is that he’s actually not crazy. A lot of the time, I think he’ll just throw something out there, and it’s a fun idea, but then you find out that it was actually so thought out that, that something in season one connects to something in season four that he had planned way before and it all adds up.
Are there any big payoffs this season?
There are a few of them. My favorite one is this final moment after everything is wrapped up, it’s kind of like when you go see a movie and sometimes after the credits run there will be added stuff, little bits of the story continuing …
Like an after credits scene?
There’s something like that with Jennifer that you see at the end it goes all the way back to season one and you’re like, “Oh my God.” It’s the most satisfying thing, and it’s been very hard for me not to say something about it. I have put out some things on my Instagram that, once you know about it, then you’ll be like, “Oh, that’s why she posted that.”
Jennifer’s gone on such an incredible journey on this show and it felt like she had shown such growth, especially in season three. Does she continue that trek in season four?
That’s exactly how I felt, last season. I told Terry, “I don’t know how I can come back and do Jennifer after that because I don’t ever want Jennifer to go backwards in terms of her growth.” She was given the most amazing stuff I’ve ever dreamed doing last season and getting them to check that box once again, I just didn’t know… I think I’m allowed to say this but there’s a scene that’s going to be something akin to the 99 Luftballoons that is even better, and it’s so crazy but so amazing, such a showpiece. It’s in one of my favorite episodes which is episode six.
But even back in season one when I was just a recurring character and they were talking about bumping me up to a series regular, I told Terry, “I don’t want to become a regular if it’s going mean that I’m going have episodes that Jennifer is not special, that she’s not doing something amazing because I’d rather just leave her always being, in my opinion, the best thing ever, rather than have her do anything that’s just fine.”
Also, I never wanted her to be the joke. I never wanted her to be the comic relief and I feel so grateful that Terry never did that. As much as he gave her such a specific humor and the craziest shit to do, she’s always grounded in this heart, in this real truth that she at least believed in.