New Ron D. Moore Interview with Vanity Fair   4 comments

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From Vanity Fair:

If you haven’t read Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber from the Outlander series—the book that inspired the Starz drama’s second season—then you were in for plenty of surprises during Saturday’s season-two finale, also titled “Dragonfly in Amber.”

Read more after the jump!

For one, the episode opens in 1968, with Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) now a fully grown Harvard history student—accessorized with her biological father’s glorious reddish curls; an American accent; no knowledge of the kilted hunk who sired her or her mother’s time-traveling ability; and a chip on her shoulder the size of Scotland. As if that was not enough to give viewers time-travel whiplash, Claire—our stoic protagonist played by Caitriona Balfe—has ascended from nurse to surgeon, collected a few gray wisps in her otherwise perfect bob, and returned to her old Scottish stomping grounds with a suitcase full of chic plaid car coats. Incredibly, this visual is just the jumping-off point for the incredibly satisfying episode—which tenderly veers away from the novel’s time frame while maintaining its story integrity.

In celebration of the episode, we phoned Outlander’s executive producer Ronald Moore to answer our questions about how he pulled off the finale’s great story twist—introducing adult Brianna; why he strayed from the book; and what details were the most difficult to pin down with historical consultants. Ahead, the most intriguing takeaways.

Rebooting Brianna for TV

Adult Brianna is actually introduced on the very first page of Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber—with Brianna and Claire showing up on Roger Wakefield’s door in 1968. But when it came time to map out the show’s second season, Moore says, “I thought that that was too big of a leap for the audience to take; to go from Claire and Jamie sailing away on a ship at the end of Season 1 to that knock at the door.”

“I thought, let’s start Season Two a little bit more chronologically, but show Claire alive in the 40s to tell the audience, ‘Hey, she returned to the 20th century, Jamie’s dead, hope is lost.’ I mean, that’s already a huge amount of shock for the audience. Then let’s hold all the 1960s stuff until the end. In the episode “Faith,” in 207, there’s a brief moment where you see Claire and a young Brianna in Boston in the 60s, just to remind the audience of that storyline, and have one more little taste of Brianna before you do the finale.”

The Biggest Change to Brianna

Because the TV series introduced Brianna so late in the season, though, the showrunners had the difficult dual tasks of acquainting audiences with Claire’s adult daughter while subjecting said character to an identity crisis—she discovers that her father is not who she thought he was; and her mother can time travel—in the midst of flashbacks to Jamie and Claire grappling with the Battle of Culloden.

“It was a lot of ground to cover,” Moore admits. “Probably the biggest change we made from the book for her character is giving her an agenda in Scotland. We thought she should have something she wants to find out so that can give her an active role in the events that took place. In the book she’s a little bit more passive. She goes there with her mom and then her mom discovers things, and freaks out, and then tells her the story.”

“We thought you could get to know Brianna a little bit more and start to like her more as a character if she was on a bit of a journey of her own where she was driven to find out secrets from the past.”

Read the entire article here

4 responses to “New Ron D. Moore Interview with Vanity Fair

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  1. Why did writers cut out the part before Clair goes thru stones to Frank when she and Jamie car initials in each others palm per book. I thought this to be a must?

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  2. An interesting interview

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  3. This episode is life changing. It rocks you to the core of your Scottish soul! The ability of the actors, director, and creators to produce such a masterpiece of theatrical genius is emotionally overwhelming. Bravo to you all!

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  4. Was hoping Brianna was an engineer like DG wrote her to be; not a history major like Frank. It made for some very interesting “inventions” as she brought some 20th century inventions to the 18th century that intrigued her father (and added to his pride at her ability to make them and for what purpose & solution) besides some that helped her mother. Closed that door w/the choice.
    I, too, missed the carving of initials. It was a more durable, lasting reminder than a “roll in the hay.”

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