How to Love a Hologram When You Have Amnesia in ‘Quantum Leap’
In the original Quantum Leap, Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) is assisted by Al (Dean Stockwell), a colleague who appears to Sam as a hologram. Al guides Sam and gives him information as Sam tries to right wrongs and fix timelines during his leaps.
The new Quantum Leap, currently airing on NBC, keeps the formula but gives it a twist. As Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) leaps, his fiancée Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett) takes on the role of guide and helper. Following your fiancé through time and space as an intangible hologram would be hard enough without another complicating factor: after his first leap, Ben loses his memories of Addison.
I spoke to Lee, Bassett, and executive producer Dean Georgaris at WonderCon 2023 in Anaheim, California. They revealed that Ben and Addison’s relationship is as interesting to portray as it is to watch.
“For me, it’s been a really fun arc because I start with zero recollection of anything, and Addison has to tell Ben, ‘we’re in a relationship,'” says Lee. “It’s fun trying to build a relationship that has already happened, but you don’t know what that was, and so you’re having to re-fall in love with somebody. But for me, it’s essentially just falling in love for the first time.”
Lee also acknowledges that the relationship is particularly tricky for Addison. “There are more complexities that you have to play,” he says, looking at Bassett, “knowing that there is a Ben that you knew, but now this is the Ben that you see. For me, I’m falling in love for the first time. So it’s a fun thing that we get to track. And also, we can’t touch each other. My love language is touch, so how do you build a relationship if you don’t have that?”
Georgaris points out that the writers worked hard to flesh out the rules of Ben and Addison’s relationship. “We spent a lot of time in the writer’s room talking about how to build a strong relationship between two people who can’t kiss, can’t touch, and can’t hug, and make it feel like it’s a relationship that’s actually going through ups and downs,” he says. “It’s something we spent a lot of time talking about.”
“I think in long-term relationships, people evolve,” says Bassett. “You’re not in the same relationship with the same person always. If somebody goes through a big trauma, if they lose a parent or they have a kid, those are big changes. And you have to learn how to now love a new person who has a new set of priorities and a new history. So there are some similarities to that—it’s just that, unfortunately, one person has lost a lot of their memories. There was a relationship that Ben and Addison had, but she’s very aware that things are very different. She has to absorb whatever this new relationship is going to be.”
Despite the show’s sci fi premise, though, Bassett points out that Ben and Addison’s relationship isn’t as far removed from real relationships as it might seem. “Some of my strongest relationships in my entire life have been non-sexual,” Bassett says. “They’ve been nonphysical, and the bond you can create is plenary. There’s really no limit to [Ben and Addison’s relationship], outside of the fact that they’re in the worst kind of long distance relationship on the planet.”
“They try to get together and the writers keep them apart,” laughs Georgaris.
“We fight with the writers,” Bassett jokes. “I show up to Dean’s house. It’s a whole thing.”
(featured image: NBC)
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