My obsession with everything Outlander is back full force. I don’t think it ever went away, to be honest and I think, most people who are following me on Twitter will confirm that. But what can I say, I just love the books, the characters, the storylines and I’m thrilled to witness it (from afar) being perfectly adapted for a TV show.
The show will be soooooo awesome! How could it not be when everyone involved (author, producer, writers, actors, costume designers, unit car drivers…) are such talented, dedicated and just incredibely wonderful people. My favourite book series couldn’t be in better hands.
STARZ had organized a fan gathering in LA on Saturday and the panel with Diana Gabaldon, Ron D. Moore, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan was streamed online (which worked fantastically). It
will be available here for another day or so and maybe (hopefully!) be is on youtube by now as well and I’d like to write about some of the highlights of this Q&A. A first draft of this post was much longer, but I should really focus on some (few *g*?) chosen great moments and new stories, because even though it’s always fun to hear the same stories again, I don’t want to recount them here. This post also won’t be chronologically.
Difference between book and TV show: In the book the story starts in spring, Claire comes through the stones in April and the first book ends in the winter. But due to the shooting schedule and production necessities they’ve changed it: Claire is coming through the stones on Halloween, so the first part of the story will be in winter, but it will actually end in the summer, which fits with the shooting schedule.
Another addition is that Frank will take Claire to Castle Leoch, so the contrast of the two situation Claire finds herself in will be much more visible.
Diana is the one, which I’ve seen / read / heard the most about so far, as I’ve been following her activities for a couple of years now. She is the creator of this all, after all. So I’ve known some of the stories she told during the panel. One thing I haven’t heard from her before: “I always knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was 36, I thought, “Mozart was already dead at 36, so you better get going.”
She’s well aware that there have to be changes to the story to bring it to the screen and she’s very happy with the adaption so far. She also mentioned her friendship with George RR Martin (author of Game of Thrones) and that they meet once a month (both living in Arizona) and they sometimes wonder how strange it is, that they are the only two people who know what it’s like to be in this particular situation to see your multi-books-series turned into a huge TV series.
Some of the things Diana is looking forward to the most is to see Jamie tortured and raped. Yes *g* But not because she’s a sadist, but because of the psychological aspects of these events. It’s one of main aspects of her stories after all: How do people react react when they are put through a hard time? The best way to show their real characters is to have them suffer through difficult times. And as difficult as it will be to see, I totally agree with her. And so does Sam, I think. He’s looking forward to these scenes for the same reason.
I also loved hearing Diana calling Sam “Sheughs” not just online, but also in real life. And it does make perfect sense. “I can’t call him Sam, because my son’s name is Sam, and it gives me cognitive dissonance.” So, Sheughs it is.
Ron is such a great guy! I guess every BSG fan already could have told me that, but I’m not a big SciFi fan, so I haven’t heard of him much before. But I think I really really like him. Not just because he obviously is brilliant at what he does (writing, producing TV shows), but also because he saw the potential of this story and because he’s such a fan himself. Or to be more precise, that he’s a fan-type himself, has been a fan of the original StarTrek and understands the enthusiasm of fans and that they want to know how the show comes together and all that stuff. He likes interacting with fans and to give something back to them, because he appreciated that immensely when he was a fan himself. We really couldn’t be in better hands.
Oh and he had read “The Three Investigators” when he was a kid, which is hilarious, because this series isn’t know that much in the US or anywhere, but it’s been a huge success in Germany, especially because of the audio dramas based in it. I think the original book series from the 60s only include 30 or so stories, but in Germany they had the licence to add more and they’re up to over 150 these days. And everyone born between 1970 and 1985 grew up with these audio dramas. It’s one of this “typical for one generation” things here and it’s so funny that Ron knows the original books.
Of course he once again had to tell how he was introduced to the books by his wife Terry , who is the costume designer on his projects and his co-producer Maril Davis and it’s such a nice story to hear. Over and over ;-) Ever since I heard about that and especially since I’ve been following Maril and Terry on Twitter and see how thrilled those two women are to bring their own favourite novel on the TV screen, I’m so happy to know that this story is in the best hands possible.
Talking about Terry, another nice behind the scenes story: In the scripts there obvously often is something like “Claire quickly puts on her clothes and goes out to do this and that” and as costume designer with knowledge of the 18th centuries clothing, Terry pointed out that there is no way of quickly putting on clothes in that time. Ron actually wrote a montage of several scenes to show how long it takes and shooting these scenes actually took even longer than expected. And Terry supposedly said: “When these dailys get to the writers room I want you to make them watch every minute of it!”
She confirmed that on Twitter that evening, when I asked her about that scene.
@dennasus @RonDMoore 18th century definitely. Best clothes That dressing scene was a riot. They were tearing their hair out. It took forever
— Terry Moore (@OutlanderCostum) January 12, 2014
In regards to the sex and violence and how much will be seen of that, because it’s STARZ and they allow for a lot, Ron just said, that they won’t add anything to just spice it up, there’s enough sex and violence in the books already. “Don’t blame us, blame her” (gesturing to Diana) We’ll show as much as someone from STARZ says “Stop!” To which Caitriona jokingly said “Ok, stop!” Because lets face it, it will be her we’ll be seeing naked a lot, as long as STARZ don’t put a halt on things.
When asked if he would travel through the stones Ron said, he’d love to go the WWII time or the Napoleonic times. Only when Diana stated that she wouldn’t travel through time, because she didn’t want to leave her husband, Ron quickly changes his answer to add that of course he wouldn’t go alone either, but drag his wife Terry with him. Which was such a hilarious reaction.
So, he’s not just talented and brilliant, but also very funny. On the question how nothing (or not much) had been leaked from the production yet. “No, because it’s STARZ. They shoot people for it.” LOL. Oh, and of course he gave us one of my favourite phrases. In the writer’s room Jamie is called “the King of Men”. Well, duh… ;-)
Caitriona: I think the Access Hollywood clips from the press tour on Friday was the first time I’ve seen here in an interview (or on screen really, because I haven’t watched any of her material before). I liked those clips already, but she’s such a lovely, funny, wonderful person and I’m thrilled to have her as our Claire. Just like Sam turned into Jamie for me very quickly, Cait definitely has taken over the image of Claire in my mind and that’s just right. A few memorable moments from the Q&A:
She put on a tartan dress for her audition and admits that it was cheap shot.
She’s got two perms for this role, because Claire’s curly hair is one of the important things about Claire’s look. “I’ve sacrificed my hair.” She’s also met with a herbalist a few times to learn about plants and tinctures and also is very good a bandaging people up by now. How is she different from her character? “She likes to drink a lot and I don’t.”
I love that she’s got the right grip on her character: “Claire is a bad ass.” Yeah, totally gets her ;-)
What she’s looking forward to: “I actually look forward to killing a man. You know to chase him down on the horse and than shoot him…” When the combination of laughter and shock in the audience wears down she adds: “But I’m actually a really nice person”
The craziest fan-encounter so far? “Ehm… today?” I loved the way how tentitavely she said that.
She loves Claire’s clothes, because they are beautiful and very high quality. Obviously on set they’re joking: “Claire is the best dressed prisoner, the McKenzies could have funded a complete Jacobite rebellion with the costs of my clothes.”
When she heard she got the job, she was at a friend’s, who had very young twin babies who had just finally fallen asleep. So Claire’s reaction on the phone was just whispering: “Yeah, that’s great.” But she went out to celebrate later on.
Another great story fom Caitriona: She bought Outlander at her local bookstore to prepare for her audition and when she went to the counter the guy behind it, asked her if she knew that there’s a TV series in the making to which she nonchalently replied “Oh, really?” She hasn’t been back to tell the guy who got the role of Claire though :-)
The teasing that we know from Twitter continued on this stage, at least a bit. I mean, Caitriona and Sam clearly are very fond of each other and of their co-stars. They have only good things to say about their co-stars. And they appreciate each others talent and love working together, but they also like to tease each other mercilessly. Caitriona did a great eye roll when Sam mentioned his favourite gaelic word was “my love”. She also stated, that he’s just ok as a kisser, he still needs to be taught to kiss properly.
Sam complained that Caitriona is giving mints to his horse Sleepy, and that Sleepy by now seems to want to work with Claire more than with himself, to which Caitriona just shrugs: “I’m just being nice and I have mints and I give them to the horses and Sam doesn’t, so maybe he doesn’t care about them as much as I do?”
Which was followed by a funny story about another horse with falutalence when the camera was rolling and how difficult it was to stay sober on camera in that scene, when they come to Leoch for the first time.
And Sam was … well, the “King of Men” that afternoon. Seriously he’s such a great guy and I love his dedication to the role, his enthusiasm for his work and for this story and that he’s so committed. In everything he said it was clear that he loves, loves, loves this part. He’s just such a sweet, charming, funny guy and they couldn’t have found a better man to bring my book boyfriend to life on screen. I’ve written so much about Sam here in the past few months and there is so much stuff to read about him on other fansites by now so I might not comment on so much of him from this Q&A.
I’ve loved that he had to really take a moment to think, when he was asked what makes him different from his character. He answered this with not really an answer to this question, but a great answer after all which was something like: that he wouldn’t have been able to play this part one or two years ago, because he wouldn’t have had the experience (work and life) which he needs to play such a complex and deep character. And that he’s looking forward to explore all of Jamie’s character in the years to come. And that he believes that we all can see “our” Jamie in his way of playing Jamie, but that he hopes that we can also see “his” Jamie in his portrayal. I don’t know if I’m making myself clear, but I thought this was such a sweet thing to say and shows his dedication to this role.
I was thrilled that he gave a shoutout to Angela, the first Heughligan he meet at a screening of the movie “Emulsion” in London in the summer.
I loved his demonstration of a “Jamie wink” and of course the way he showed off his kilt at the beginning. Turning around so we could admire it from all sides. Talking about kilts, when someone asked if we’ll be able to see anyone naked (on the show), he sort of offhandedly said: “Well, the first row”.
Sam learned he had gotten the role via a phone call from his agent, while he was in a supermarket and he screamed so loudly, that the other costumers were worried he was being robbed or something. Unfortunately he couldn’t really celebrate getting the part, because he was off to the artic circle the next day to film “Heart of Lightness.”
One of my favourite (new) tidbits of information from this Q&A: Sam was a huge Lord of the Rings fans when he was a kid and it was a tradition to read it every year around christmas. In fact “my parents were kind of hippies and they named both my brother and I after characters from Lord of the Rings.” That’s such a nice story, especially because I’ve always loved Samwise Gamgee. But of course I’m wondering about his brother’s name, because the names of most of the LOTR characters are more unusual than “Sam” *g*
Well, I guess I could come up with a lot more cute and funny moments from this wonderful Q&A and maybe I’ll add some more once I’ve watched it again (and again and again, if it ever makes it’s way to YT). But I’ll definitely watch it one more time now while preparing and having a late supper, because I know I won’t have the time to watch it once more tomorrow and after that it probably won’t be online any longer…