Outlander Season 2: Interview with Caitriona ‘Claire’ Balfe and Sam ‘Jamie’ Heughan. Vive Les Frasers!

Outlander - Claire and Jaime Fraser Season 2. Photo courtesy of Starz

Outlander – Claire and Jaime Fraser Season 2. Photo courtesy of Starz

“Outlander” Season 2: Interview with Claire and Jamie. Vive Les Frasers!

I spoke with Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), and Outlander book series author, Diana Gabaldon, about season 2 and their characters fleeing Scotland to start a new life in Paris.

Interviewing the lead characters of this time-travel TV show, at a round-table press conference at Comic-Con last summer, was the highlight of this otherwise torturous pop-culture convention.

“The women like to go to tea and they gossip a lot. And Claire is ready to pull her hair out!” Caitriona Balfe.

Sitting only inches away from me was Clair Fraser in the flesh! (Can you tell I’m a super fan of the show?) And she had very pale skin indeed. Her milky complexion coupled with the her soft Irish accent had me completely transported to 1743 Scotland. Once settled in my seat, I managed to articulate a question for Balfe that had been eating away at me since the finale of (SPOILER ALERT!) Season 1: Why didn’t Claire go back home when she had finally made it to the stone portal?

Besides the fact that the show might have been over, Balfe calmly and logically gave me Claire’s reasons.

“Obviously, Claire loves Jamie very much, he’s her soulmate. But it had to be something bigger than that. Going through the stones and leaving Frank was an accident, and she didn’t intend to cause him pain. It was like a death and she just couldn’t do that to another person. Claire couldn’t bear the thought of putting Jaime through that. It would have been like a suicide.”

If you’re a fan of Starz Network’s “Outlander,” you probably also gasped when Claire Randall turned around and started walking away from her chance to go back to London, to her husband Frank, and her freedom. Instead, she goes back to the misery of the clashing Scottish clans.

Balfe added that for Claire, living in the 1700s made her feel vital and she thrived during this time. “It even felt like home,” Balfe said about her character’s willingness to remain stuck in the past.

Outlander Season 2 - Claire in Paris living among King Louis XV's court.

Outlander Season 2 – Claire in Paris living among King Louis XV’s court.

Season 1 ended with Claire and Jamie escaping to France and expecting their first child. In season 2, the gritty and muted colors of the Scottish countryside are left behind. The Frasers find themselves in the luxurious and splendid surroundings of Paris, and the high society of King Louis XV’s court.

Though the setting is opulent, Balfe said that women’s roles then were more restrictive in Parisian society than in Scotland.

“The women like to go to tea and they gossip a lot. And Claire is ready to pull her hair out!” added Balfe. (Hmm, sounds like our modern times.)

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander book series, told us she knew she wanted to be a novelist since she was 8 years old. But her family didn’t agree so she got a practical degree. She has a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Psychology and was a university professor before becoming an author.

Before Outlander, Gabaldon had not written anything resembling a novel. “The closest I got was writing comic books for Walt Disney.” So she looked into writing a historical novel “because I knew my way around a library,” she said.

Where did the inspiration for this epic series come from? “Dr. Who.”

Gabaldon saw an old re-run of the TV show with Patrick Troughton, the second doctor, when he picked up a young Scotsman in 1745 in a kilt. “I thought, well, that’s kind of fetching!” And that’s where she began, in 18th century Scotland. (Boy, those kilts inspire you every time, don’t they?)

Sam Heughan, who plays the rugged yet gentle Jamie Fraser, walked up to the table next. He sat next to me… He was wearing makeup. But I didn’t mind that.

Outlander Sam Heughan, Jamie Fraser

Outlander Sam Heughan, Jamie Fraser

I just dove in and asked him straight out about preparing for those gruesome and difficult scenes like lashings and rape.

“We first had meetings between the actors and the director. Once we’d established how we were going to approach them, I was more comfortable. Anna (Forrester) pushed me, she challenged me, and I was fortunate she did that because we got some great performances. And I kind of relish doing stuff like that,” Heughan said about the lashing scenes and the torture inflicted on his character, Jamie. “It’s fun to play something a bit darker,” he added.

The reporters around me asked what it was like to film the rape scene since it seemed very real. “It was quite exhausting,” said Heughan. There was a lot of prosthetic work and adjustments, and the days were very long with very little down time” (was that a pun?).

Heughan then added that after the two weeks it took to film that scene, he went out and “got quite drunk.”

Cheers to that, Sam!

Outlander Season 2 - Jaime Fraser in Paris. Photo courtesy of Starz

Outlander Season 2 – Jaime Fraser in Paris. Photo courtesy of Starz

I asked Heughan if Jamie trades in his kilt for silk pants and French velvet robes in season 2.

“I was terrified of wearing all those ruffles,” he quickly replied. “I told Terry (Dresbach), ‘that’s not happening!”” he said. But of course, it does happen. “The kilt does come out. Jamie is a very proud Scotsman, and it goes down very well with the French court,” Heughan laughed sarcastically.

In season 2, Claire Fraser is determined to alter the course of history. She is determined to infiltrate the Jacobite movement and prevent the infamous battle of Culloden. She wants to save the Highlander people, but most importantly, secure a future for her child.

Outlander” Season 2 is based on Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, and premiers April 9 on Starz.

Comments

  1. candy says:

    Feel like I have the inside scoop on this great show. I enjoy the historical dresses and scenes.

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Wish I had the space to give you all of the inside scoop I got, but you read the most fun tidbits!

  2. Leah says:

    Oh, so excited for season 2. I adore these books, and I love seeing them visually through the show!

    • Suzette Valle says:

      I’m going to have to read the books once the series ends. It will give me the fix I need once the show is over, you know, something to look forward to!

  3. This is great. My husband has been reading the books for two years! Ha ha! We are waiting until he is done to start the series! Can’t wait!

  4. Angie says:

    OMG I am SUPER jealous you got to meet him. He is such a hunk, and I just love his role as Jaime. I LOVE this show.

  5. You interview the most amazing people. Love it!

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