New Maril Davis Interview with Three If By Space   1 comment

From Three If By Space (Part 1):

Earlier this week, I had a lot of fun talking with Outlander’s Executive Producer Maril Davis. In Part 1, Maril discusses her background, her feelings about sci fi, and why we haven’t heard about Season 3 yet!

ERIN: You’re one of the most unknown people in all of Outlander. You don’t do that many interviews, we don’t know that much about you. I thought we could talk about what you do, how you started. (Note: OutlanderCast Blog did a great podcast with Maril earlier this year, in which she discussed a lot of her early career. You can listen to that podcast here.) I thought it was fascinating that you were attempting to be a pro soccer player. Have you always been athletic?

Read more after the jump!

MARIL: I started playing soccer when I was 5, in AYSL, and I played all throughout high school and college, and I loved it. And after I was at Star Trek, Star Trek was so insular that there was not a lot of upward mobility there, there was no place to go because no one ever left, and I was still kind of trying to decide what I wanted to do. And so I just hit one of those crossroads in my life. And so while I was still young enough as I say to get out of my chair, I thought I’m going to try to do this crazy professional soccer thing. I just wanted to see if I still had it, and it didn’t turn out as I hoped, obviously, I blew out my knee two days before the tryouts. But it’s one of the things I think I’m still most proud of in my life. I’m just proud that I made such a life change, and it wasn’t an easy one. I remember I was training with my old high school team, and obviously, no one I knew was still on it. All these girls just kept looking at me like, wait, you’ve got a life in Los Angeles, you’re on your own, you’ve got an apartment, and you moved back home with your parents to train. What? And I was like, I get how it sounds like, if you’re in high school, but I really am very proud of myself, and I think sometimes you’ve just got to go for it, and just throw caution to the wind.

ERIN: Do you ever look back on that and say that you were happy the way that everything else has turned out? Or do you wish that you had actually been able to go through the tryouts and see what the outcome would have been?

MARIL: I think it’s hard, certainly, to not know what the outcome would have been, certainly there’s always the chance that I would not have made it, I really would have loved seeing if I could have, but still I don’t regret the time. I still really believe that I would always have wondered “what if”, and I still do, but not in the same way. I’ve kind of scratched that itch a little bit. I actually find that the fact that I don’t know what would have happened, that was something that was very important to me in my life to just try it. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was unsure, and I was just trying to go after one of my dreams. I don’t regret that part at all.

Part 2:

In part 2 of my chat with Maril Davis, Maril discusses “the Jamie problem” – the difference in how Jamie is perceived in the books vs. the show. We also discuss whether she can watch the show as a fan, and her plans – or lack of plans – to hire a personal assistant!

ERIN: There’s been a lot of praise for the show – I’m speaking for the fandom and not as a critic.There’s been praise for the show, people love it, but there’s also been some disagreement, shall we say, with some of the attitude and tone the show has taken, particularly with Jamie. Diana’s husband even said (and I’m paraphrasing) that Diana wrote it as “the Jamie and Claire show,” but the show sees it as “the Claire show.” Can you talk about that?

MARIL: I’m surprised that Doug, Diana’s husband, came out and said that, but I love it, he’s not normally someone you get to hear from. But at least to me, in my mind, it’s the Jamie and Claire show, I think that’s the thing that appeals to me personally about the show. I love Jamie, I love Claire, but the thing for me is the partnership. That is a relationship I personally ascribe to in my personal life, that you’re with someone who sees you as an equal, and you are part of a team, and especially being a woman from Claire’s time, and then going back 200 years, the fact that Jamie sees her as an equal partner is amazing and something that attracted me to the book. I think if people think we’re pro-Claire or pro-Jamie, that’s not true. Certainly in Outlander, even Diana would have to say it is told from Claire’s perspective. Certainly the writers and creators, it was difficult in the first season to figure out how we get this information from Claire when everything is in voiceover, she has no one to talk to, she can’t really share. So it’s not wrong to think that in the first season anyway it was more leaning towards Claire because it is told from her perspective. And I think in the second season, the difficulty we had, and I know Ron has talked about this, Dragonfly in Amber is a much more difficult book than Outlander.

You want to keep the balance between Jamie and Claire, but much of Dragonfly is pulled away from Claire’s perspective. You’re still always in Claire’s POV, but Jamie goes away and has a meeting with the Prince, and he comes back and tells Claire about it, while that works in book form, it does not work on screen. You don’t normally have one of your protagonists – it’s not as exciting dramatically to hear what happens, you want to see what happens. So I think that has been a struggle and a balance. You don’t want to be out with Jamie all the time and Claire sitting at home, so you want to do a balance of being with Claire, she’s doing something, and Jamie’s doing something, and they come and they do something together, so it’s not just a lot of recounting of what they’ve seen and heard. I understand there has been some criticism on Jamie, like he’s not the Jamie from the books, and there are moments I do think I’d like to see Jamie be a little more confident in who he is. But I think we needed that, we felt like we started with Jamie as a young man, and his marriage to Claire made him a man. He’s a young 20 something virgin and his marriage to her brought him into manhood.

But we wanted to see a little of that, his coming into his own, and I think we did in the first season. I know people felt he was a little petulant at Lallybroch when he went back, and you know, I understand that, but sometimes telling things in a visual medium, you’re trying to tell a story visually and sometimes the way that works in the books, and you hear voiceovers and someone’s thoughts, and sometimes we need to find a way to tell that visually as well. I understand that, but I think the writers are trying to find a way to get to the same place. And also for people who haven’t read the books, we’re always trying to find a way to straddle that line.

Click here to read the full interviews: Part 1 | Part 2

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