That Time I Chatted to the Outlander Cast

Tuesday 31 March 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post letting you guys know how excited I was that Outlander was finally making its way over here to the UK, courtesy of Amazon Instant Video. Well - last night I finally sat down and watched the first episode, and it did not disappoint!!

I know I might be a tiny bit biased, but this has to be one of the most visually stunning shows I've seen in a very long time. I have a lot of love for the part of the world where this is filmed (which I've mentioned in many previous posts, and which will become important later in this post), but my emotional attachment aside, the Scottish landscape just looks so beautiful. It isn't just the gorgeous backdrop that makes this so lovely to look at though. Everything about the way this show is filmed is just beautiful - the lighting, the costumes, the camera movements - I actually had to pause it at one point to screen shot a couple of moments that just took my breath away... observe...

I don't want to give too much away, but in the first episode we meet Claire (Caitriona Balfe), our leading lady who finds herself transported back in time from 1945 to 1743. There is an amazing magical feel to this first episode, which is right up my street, and we are introduced to a number of main characters over the course of the episode, including Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. It grips your attention instantly, and I'm very much looking forward to watching episode two!

This post, however, is not just a rave review of the first episode, but a little anecdote to fill you all in on something that happened last week! Picture the scene - I'm sitting at my desk, editing a video, when an email pings into my inbox inviting me to participate in a blogger conference call with two of the Outlander cast members! Cue much excitement/preparation of my question.

The chance to chat to Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe was an amazing opportunity, and honestly, they were just lovely. A number of bloggers took part, and so there was only time for one question each. As a Scottish blogger/vlogger, talking to the cast of a show located in Scotland, I had one very obvious question in my mind - I wanted to know how they had enjoyed the experience of filming up North in the beautiful Highlands.

Before we continue, there are two things you should know about me - one, I have phone fear. This is something I think I'll write a whole post on at some point, as I know it is something which is more common than you would imagine! Sit me in front of a camera and I'll chat as if I'm talking to my oldest friend. Send me into a face to face meeting or interview with a stranger, and I keep my cool. Put me on the phone, and for whatever reason, the nerves just take hold. Secondly, I believe in being enthusiastic about things in life. So if I like something, I really like it, and there's no holding back.

Anyway, let's get back to it. I sat listening to the other participants on the call asking their questions, and Sam and Caitriona giving some really great answers. They discussed whether the love scenes or fight scenes take longer to choreograph (love scenes, being the answer to that one), how they would explain Outlander to someone who hasn't watched it before - "a really great adventure, filled with historical drama, romance and fantasy" (Caitriona Balfe) and how it feels to be bringing the show home to the UK now that it's available on Amazon Instant Video.

And then it was my turn. The person before me had asked a question relating to Scotland, and so I had a nice straightforward transition into mine. I asked how they enjoyed the experience of filming up in the Highlands, and the following exchange took place:

Caitriona Balfe: Oh, it was amazing. I mean we moved the whole company up there, near Aviemore-

Lynsey: Oh, that's literally - I'm not joking, that's literally like my home from home, it's my favourite place in the world!!

That's right folks. I fangirled all over her answer. And not in "hi, I'm a huge fan of your show" style fangirling - I fangirled over a town in the Highlands. The transcript of the call does not do justice to the squeal of excitement I gave at the mention of Aviemore.

While I tried to block out the past ten seconds of my life, Caitriona and Sam gave this lovely answer to my question:

Caitriona Balfe: Yeah, it’s so beautiful. And we shot up there for almost two weeks and it was, honestly, such a special time. And for the most part the weather was very kind to us when we were up there; cold, but sunny and clear. But yeah, that’s been one of the greatest things about this job for me is really getting to explore Scotland and see how beautiful it is first hand. But I feel really great that we’re able to, sort of, bring that to a wider audience as well and show Scotland off in its best light.

Sam Heughan: Yeah. I really enjoyed going up to Kinloch Rannoch, which we shot a few times – that’s where the standing stones are – and it’s just terrific every time we go up, isn’t it? And it feels like a little family outing; everyone gets to go out and all the crew stay in the same hotels. Yeah, it’s really good fun.

Putting aside my moment of fangirling, it was amazing to hear these actors talk about the show firsthand. It's clear that they are incredibly passionate about their characters. One of my favourite moments in the call was when Caitriona and Sam gave these answers to a question from Ginger Wiseman, from Outlander Podcast. She asked what the most rewarding part of playing these characters was, and they said:

Caitriona Balfe: Wow, the most rewarding part of playing her? I think it’s honestly seeing how much this character has touched so many people’s lives. As an actor you hope that you get chance to play great characters and this definitely is one, and it has been such a dream playing her. But the unexpected side effects of that are seeing all of these women across the world who have been really touched by having the book in their lives or, they’ve met each other through the friendships that they’ve sparked over the books, and seeing them get together and really support each other, that’s been really amazing.

Sam Heughan: I think Jamie Fraser is – it’s certainly the bit about Scotland that’s been a joy to be able to, sort of, bring the culture of Scotland –an authentic one too, sort of, probably for the first time – to film and TV, and share it with the rest of the world, I think is one of my proudest moments.

So thank you so much to Sam and Caitriona for taking the time to answer our questions and giving us a bit of real insight into what it has been like working on the show, and thanks so much to Amazon Instant Video for inviting me to take part!

Outlander is available on Amazon Instant Video now! Have you been watching? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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