New Sam Heuhgan and Caitriona Balfe interview with Digital Spy   3 comments


From Digital Spy:

Much like its heroine, Outlander is about to materialise in a new time and place – the fantasy historical series, which has already gone down a storm in the US, comes to the UK from tomorrow (Thursday, March 26) courtesy of Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novel series, Outlander is the story of Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a World War II nurse who finds herself mysteriously whisked back to 18th century Scotland, where she encounters civil war and the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

Digital Spy spoke to the show’s two leads and its showrunner Ronald D Moore, the man behind the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series who was tasked with bringing Gabaldon’s books to the small screen.


Moore reveals he first stumbled onto Outlander “six… seven years ago – something like that. It was as Battlestar Galactica was winding down and I was thinking about future projects.
“I read the first book and from the beginning I knew this was a TV show – I could see how episodes could be crafted, I was sold – and then it was just a matter of getting the rights.”

Moore then engaged in a lengthy waiting game, as the screen rights were held up in aborted movie development deals. He finally had his day – successfully purchasing the rights, taking Outlander to Sony and finally selling the project to US broadcaster Starz.

Then the real hard work began: “It wasn’t too bad of a transition,” he says of adapting Gabaldon’s 1991 novel into a 16-part first season. “The first book had a strong central narrative to it – so the process of adaptation was relatively straightforward.

“There’s changes and modifications along the way, but you’re always trying to get back to where the book takes you. We don’t want to mess up the bigger tapestry of the series.”

Read more after the jump

Claire and Jamie

Once Moore and his team began working on scripts, the next challenge was to find the right actors to play Claire and Jamie – the pair’s relationship is the crux of the book series and so finding the right couple with the right chemistry was crucial.
“It was hard,” the showrunner says. “Going into it, I had an expectation that we would cast Claire first and that Jamie would be toughest one. Of course, itthe  was exactly the opposite – Sam was the first one we cast and Claire was almost the very last.”

Heughan tested with multiple actresses in LA and insists that Balfe was the clear choice from the off: “When Caitriona came in, it was very clear – I just felt comfortable and we had a good time. We really do have a great relationship – I’m very lucky to be working with her.”

“The moment I stepped into the room, he and I just started chatting and it just felt like I’d known him for a long time,” his co-star echoes. “It felt very natural.”

The on-screen chemistry between Balfe and Heughan is one of the big reasons that Outlander fans in the US have responded to the show so strongly – and Balfe points to a shared “incredibly childish sense of humour” as the key to their off-screen rapport.

Fan Fervour

Outlander had a pre-existing fanbase from 20+ years of literature, but the success of the TV adaptation has seen its stock rocket even further. “I was initially unaware of how passionate the fans were, and how much expectation there was,” Heughan reveals, while Balfe admits she was just as clueless.
“I think that naivety served me quite well,” she adds. “I think if I’d known how many fans there were – and how fervent they were – I probably would have been even more terrified than I was!”

Moore – a veteran of not just Battlestar Galactica but also Star Trek – is perhaps best qualified to have the final say on fervent fans: “From Trek to Galactica to Outlander, they all come from a place of loving the material, loving the characters and they want to lose themselves in this world.

“But they’re also protective of it and they feel like it’s theirs – their primary thing is… they don’t want you to screw it up!”

A statement released by Starz announcing Outlander‘s season two renewal also revealed that its viewership is “roughly equal male and female” – a fact which doesn’t surprise either of the show’s leads.

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit that men like it just as much as women,” says Heughan. “There’s action, there’s adventure, there’s time-travel… there’s pretty girls! It’s definitely something for everyone.”

Balfe has her own theory on why the appeal of Outlander seems to be universal: “Often on a male-driven show, you have these cardboard cut-out female characters in the background. I think people are ready for a more balanced environment with amazing male and female characters.

“People want to see relationships where they can relate to both characters – and I think that’s why Outlander has that great, even split between the two sexes.”

The Future

The second season of Outlander will be based on Gabaldon’s second book in the series, 1992’s Dragonfly in Amber – and with her eighth Claire / Jamie novel hitting book shelves last year, the TV series is not in danger of running out of material any time soon.
Moore is wryly non-committal when asked about the show’s long-term future: “It makes me tired thinking about it,” he says. “Just [take] me through one season at a time!”

Balfe and Heughan are more obviously keen, the latter enthusing: “I’d love it to last that long – and for people to enjoy it that long. We’re doing one book per season – and what a great challenge it would be to play a character for that long!”

The first eight episodes of Outlander season one will be available on Amazon Prime Instant Video from Thursday, March 26.

The remaining episodes will then launch weekly on Amazon Prime Instant Video from Sunday, April 5, each episode being released every Sunday just hours after broadcast in the US.


3 responses to “New Sam Heuhgan and Caitriona Balfe interview with Digital Spy

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  1. Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

  2. What a nice looking couple. I just love them both 🙂

  3. Something different about them on that picture… I do love the show and wish them the best 🙂

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