Emily Hampshire Talks 12 Monkeys, Primaries, and Daughters

The actor playing Jennifer Goines shares how her older, wiser character operates in 12 Monkeys season 2 with her band of ‘daughters’.

With recent events in Syfy’s 12 Monkeys revealing that Jennifer Goines’ special kind of crazy is caused by her status as something called a “Primary,” only an interview with Emily Hampshire, who plays Jennifer, could sort out the changes for this compelling character. Plus, Jennifer had a huge shift at the start of season 2 away from being the harbinger of death to finding a new purpose: founding a group called the Daughters, whose goals and origins are still unknown.

So how does Hampshire play such a crazy personality at two different times in her life: both in 2016 and in 2044? Hampshire says it isn’t easy. “I always notice at the end of a shooting day of playing Jennifer I am exhausted, and sometimes emotionally exhausted… It’s at an energy level that I’m not normally at.”

That being said, Hampshire has a lot of fun in the role, especially playing crazy. “The crazy stuff about Jennifer is stuff I love to do because it’s like playing,” she explains. “Jennifer is like a kid a lot of the time. Her brain is firing on so many levels, so it’s both a joy and exhausting.”

There was, however, a noticeable shift for Jennifer Goines in season 2, including a departure from being in charge of her father’s company, Markridge. Viewers may have wondered why she stopped being CEO all of a sudden. “I asked about that, too, because I really wanted to know,” admits Hampshire. “I think Jennifer in taking over Markridge is one of those roles she plays. A lot of the times she takes on these roles and plays them like it’s a movie and then finds herself actually in the situation and realizes she can’t necessarily handle it.”

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And why did she get off the plane when it seemed she was prepared to distribute the virus during the season 1 finale? “I think the reality of the situation became a lot different when she found herself alone,” surmises Hampshire. “She’s on the plane about to go spread this virus and feels all powerful, but then she’s alone essentially… I picture going to the first stop of where to spread the virus and then she just kind of starts wandering around a bit and seeing people in the world and getting lost in her head a bit.” Of course, this describes perfectly where Jennifer begins season 2.

With the time travelers in 12 Monkeys visiting other eras outside of Jennifer’s lifespan, viewers are seeing more of older Jennifer this season, and the change will be immediately apparent in the coming episodes. Hampshire says she even feels different when her character is aged up in the make-up chair. “When I saw myself for the first time, they do such a good job that I just immediately felt older. It gave me this confidence!” Hampshire says. “I think old Jennifer does a lot more watching and listening than young Jennifer does of talking and trying to be heard all the time… And this season we discover how young Jennifer becomes this older, wiser woman and leader of this army of badass women.”

Speaking of the badass women, Hampshire confirmed that fans will see a bit of backstory on the Daughters and may even see a character emerge from the group. “We do delve into people’s backstory,” Hampshire says, “and with the Daughters especially, it’s an amazing kind of — not a twist; it’s like it’s so satisfying because it links up everything you never would have imagined, and then you’re like, ‘Oh my god, Jennifer!’ But yes, we will find out a lot more about the Daughters and some in particular.”

The story of the Daughters will begin to unfold during the next episode of 12 Monkeys entitled “Emergence,” on May 9. 12 Monkeys airs each Monday at 9pm ET on Syfy. For the full audio of this Emily Hampshire interview, tune in to Sci Fi Fidelity on the Den of Geek Podcast Network next week.