Last Thursday (June 16), Caitriona attended the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations With ‘Outlander’ in Los Angeles, California. The gallery has now been updated with high quality photos from the event!
DEADLINE – The Highlanders are in France for Season 2 of Outlander, the time-traveling historical romance from Starz which stars the trio of Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies. The show’s second season was teased as a whole new event unto itself, leaving both the Outlander characters and the actors playing them a little off-balance. “It was actually a little unsettling—suddenly, we’re thrust into this entirely new world,” says Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser.
While the series continues to be shot primarily in Scotland—even scenes at the French gardens of Versailles—the actors had to adjust quickly to new backdrops, new costumes, and, most crucially, the French language. Though Balfe’s Claire Randall, a time-traveling Brit who continues to find herself a stranger in a strange land, is considered by the French characters around her to be the most respectable in her language skills, Balfe says that as an actress, this battle was not easily won. “Oh god, my French is so bad,” Balfe laughs. The actress lived in France over a decade ago, but when she left, her speaking abilities went with her. “The French that we’re speaking in the show is very classical 18th century French, and it’s a whole other beast,” she says.
Also challenging were shooting the show’s many scenes of heavy violence and sex, which require extensive choreography and time to execute. “Because of the sumptuousness of how it’s shot, it does require giving it a bit of time. It’s shot like a film, really. It has a certain grandeur about it,” says Menzies, who received a Golden Globe nomination this year for his dual performance in the roles of Jack and Frank Randall, ancestors who are two centuries and two worlds apart that both share scenes with Claire. This being said, while the production schedule for Season 1 allowed for extended rehearsal periods, as the actors got their footing, this time around, the cast had no such luxury.
Even so, the physicality of these roles—the swashbuckling and riding of horses—is a good part of what attracted the actors to the roles in the first place, and continues to be a significant presence in Season 2. And a lighthearted atmosphere on set is essential. “There’s a great humor on set; Caitriona, I think, is the reason for that,” Heughan notes. “When she gets tired, she corpses—all the time, which can be tough sometimes because you’re trying to get a scene done, and she’s just gone; but it’s very funny.”
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – [Warning: This story contains spoilers from Saturday’s Outlander, “Vengeance Is Mine.”]
It may have taken longer than everyone had hoped for, but Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and Mary (Rosie Day) finally got revenge on the evil and slippery Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) on Outlander. And it came in the form of a blunt ax to the head.
After years of scheming and making Claire and Jamie’s lives a living hell, the Duke met his demise in a gory, violent scene closing out a tense roller coaster ride of an hour. After the Jacobite army decided against invading London and turned back to march for Scotland, Jamie’s men got caught inside a church by the British army. Claire used herself as a fake hostage once more to insure Jamie’s and his men’s safety, and the British, believing her to be a Scottish hostage, brought her to the Duke of Sandringham’s home, ironically for her own safety. Once there, the Duke tried to get Claire to lure Jamie to his home to rescue them both from the British, but it was a trap. The Duke once again betrayed them, and tried to get them arrested.
While Jamie and Murtagh successfully infiltrated the Duke’s heavily guarded home, Claire found Mary inside the house since she’s the Duke’s goddaughter. The two women tried to escape through the kitchen but were caught by the Duke and his men. Claire then recognized the Duke’s right-hand man, Danton (Andrea Dolente), as the man who attacked them and raped Mary in Paris, and the Duke confessed that it was because he owed the Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber) money and he had negotiated for rape instead of murder as payment. Mary, enraged to learn the truth, stabbed and killed Danton herself, while Murtagh decapitated the Duke and laid his bloody head at Claire’s feet, finally fulfilling his promise to her.
“It was time to put an end to this,” showrunner Ron Moore tells The Hollywood Reporter with a laugh. “Enough with this guy who keeps everybody dancing, where you never can tell which way he’s going to go. Eventually, you’re going to run into Murtagh and he’s going to cut your head off.”
Balfe loved how intense and powerful that finale scene was in the kitchen.
“It was really fantastic filming that,” Balfe says. “I honestly loved working with Simon Callow. He’s such a great person to have around set. But what I loved in particular, I loved how Mary got her justice, finally. And it was by her own hand. That was a wonderful part of that scene. She truly deserved to get that peace of mind.”
Balfe couldn’t believe how real the prosthetic head was that the prop department created. “The effects were just so authentic,” she says with a laugh. “And to see Duncan really go at it was hilarious.”