Outlander season 2 features a whole new setting. Does that mean the cast felt like fish out of water?
The backdrop of Outlander season 1 was pretty much limited to the Scottish Highlands in both the 20th and the 18th century. In season 2, over half of the episodes will take place in Paris, France and the surrounding countryside.
What was this shift like for Jamie and Claire, as well as Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, who play them? How does Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) react when suddenly his wife is back? The actors spoke with us on the Outlander red carpet in New York City to discuss how their characters were very much fish out of water this season.
Caitriona Balfe – ‘It’s a lonely time for Claire’
Caitriona Balfe noted that Claire not only still has to deal with being a modern woman in the 18th century, but now she’s in a new country, without much of a support system, and pregnant. “Initially they felt like Paris would be a new start,” she told us. “There was a lot of hope there, but this is not their home. They’ve taken on this crazy mission to change the course of history, which is not the easiest thing to do. She [Claire], in one way, is trying to encourage Jamie to go out and do all this political maneuvering. It gives him something to keep his mind off of the torment that he is still experiencing from the end of season 1. She’s kind of dealing with the pregnancy on her own. It’s a lonely time for Claire in the beginning. But as the season progresses, she’ll meet new friends, new allies, and that will be a lot of comfort for her.”
It’s not all sadness and struggle. Balfe talked about the amazing costumes that she gets to wear in season 2, and gives high praise to designer Terry Dresbach (See our interview with Terry Dresbach) for making the French court come to life.
Sam Heughan – ‘I failed my French exam at school’
Sam Heughan echoed Balfe’s contention that the couple is out of their comfort zone, “It’s exactly the same for both of them. They are both in this world that is alien to them. They are both pretending to be someone else. Taking on these new identities, and these Parisian socialites — it doesn’t sit well with Jamie. Jamie is very forthright and loyal, and now he has to be deceitful, and lie, and manipulate people. It doesn’t sit well, and it poisons their relationship.”
Heughan went on to tell us that speaking French didn’t exactly come easily to him having failed his French studies while at school. He reckons that the best he can do without a script telling him his words is to order a beer.
Tobias Menzies – ‘A different kind of love’
Tobias Menzies, who plays Frank Randall, talked about what Frank goes through having his wife reappear pregnant with another man’s child after a three-year absence, “He’s dealing with a very difficult situation. She [Claire] returns, but she’s not the same person anymore. He’s got tough decisions to make whether he chooses to accept that or not. For me it’s an exploration of a different kind of love really. There’s a lot of romantic love in the show and in the books, but what’s interesting about Frank and Claire’s sort of flawed compromise is that it’s no less rich and heroic. That he chooses to make that sacrifice for her is rather remarkable.”
Outlander is back for season 2 this Saturday on Starz.
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