Outlander took over room 6A at Comic-Con with many fans camped out to get the best spots for the panel.
The Starz crew really went all out to woo current fans and draw in new ones. For starters, it was hard to miss the castle and standing stones that hummed that were easily the showpiece of the exhibit floor. The fact the the display was crawling with Scots or faux-Scots in period attire didn’t hurt either.
Present in room 6A were executive producer Ron Moore and author Diana Gabaldon. Also present were actors Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Tobias Menzies (Frank/Jack), Graham McTavish (Dougal), and Lotte Verbeek (Gellis).
1. What it was like filming in Scotland?
Graham McTavish and Sam Heughan said it was a pleasure to be back there and to have Scotland actually be a character. There was very little CGI needed. Caitriona Balfe stated the beautiful, natural light alone was amazing. Unlike the US or Canada, Scotland won’t let them block off public land, so the production had a lot of set visitors to deal with. However, the cast was grateful for the sugary treats they brought.
2. What did each actor want to get across?
McTavish: masculine vulnerability. Verbeek: that good and evil are not simple definitions. Menzies: exploring sadism and loss for his two characters. Balfe: inner strength under duress and stress. Heughan: the journey of almost no responsibility to being challenged to change the way he thinks.
3. Was it difficult to deal with the Gaelic?
It’s pronounced “gah-lic” the language of the Scots of the period. Both McTavish and Heughan felt they were honoring their ancestors by speaking it. The Gaelic is not subtitled in the show because it’s told from Claire’s POV and she doesn’t speak it. Ron Moore wanted the audience to understand as much as Claire did only by context and inflection.
4. Hardest scene on set.
Sam Hueghan had to have a scene involving leeches, and the leeches were black licorice that kept sliding off the table. McTavish had a fight scene with a camera mounted to him which was really uncomfortable. Verbeek loved a scene not in the novel involving ritual. Menzies had to have a scene talking to the missing Claire when he was talking to a standing stone.
5. Casting Claire was like finding Scarlett O’Hara.
They initially thought Jamie would be the hard part to find. Ironically, it was the other way around, and Claire was tough. They went to the pile of what agents originally didn’t want to send them to find Claire. Moore calls Balfe’s audition clip as a lighting moment when everyone knew she was it.
— Outlander (@Outlander_Starz) July 25, 2014
6. Gabaldon trusted in the casting and changes to novel.
Despite the fact that Sam Hueghan’s IMDB photos, in her opinion, did him no justice, Gabaldon felt Sam was it once she saw his tape. She felt the dynamic relationship of Claire and Jamie was absolutely reached in the production. In the translation to the new media Diana “fell in love with them every time I saw them.” She understands that various scenes from her book had to change sequence, be expanded, or be cut due to the new medium. Diana Gabaldon said Ron Moore’s script was the only time someone had proposed an adaptation of her work that didn’t want to make her blow up or burst into flame.
7. Tobias Menzies on playing 2 parts
Tobias Menzies found it surprisingly easy to play two parts. Each was so different and similar: Two men marked by war in unique ways. Part of making it easier for him is the costuming that helps body stance and posture.
8. Did the cast know what they were getting into?
Sam Hueghan had no idea initially what he was getting into, and then he discovered the Twitter and Facebook fans. He’s found it really positive and motivating, especially when fans come up to him on the street. Caitriona Balfe hasn’t found it intimidating because everyone will always have their own version of Claire. She hopes she does her version justice in people’s eyes. Both Hueghan and Balfe decided not to force their character’s relationships and let it evolve organically via acting chemistry.
Lotte Verbeek loves her layers and what she wears. They were warm which helped in Scotland. She felt bad that Caitriona had to do the whole first episode in a thin dress. Graham McTavish loves the kilts and period wear. He wishes they could dress with such stately elegance today. The plaid in the 18th century was 13 feet of cloth. It was everything between shelter, sleeping bag, to clothing.
10. Will the TV show capture men and women?
Gabaldon thinks of her books as without category though perhaps historical fiction is closest. Ron Moore was a fan from the word go, “I don’t think of it as a man’s show or a woman’s show. It’s just a ripping good yarn.”
You can catch the first episode of Outlander online at Starz for free starting August 2 at the network’s website and on their YouTube channel.