There is nothing better than getting together with family for the holidays!
In honor of Sunday’s much-anticipated meeting between Brianna and Jamie, EW snagged the exclusive first photo of the Fraser family and the first official portrait of Brianna as an 18th century lady. The results are positively rosy!
We also checked in with executive producer Maril Davis about shooting the pivotal scene for “The Birds and the Bees.” Here’s what she had to say about Brianna (Sophie Skelton) meeting Jamie (Sam Heughan) for the first time.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Did you like you needed to chat with Diana Gabaldon about the reunion?
MARIL DAVIS Everyone calls it a reunion. In fact, I’ve done it myself sometimes. They’ve never met before! We didn’t specifically talk to Diana. The scene is fairly similar to the book. It was important for us to get it right. We’ve been looking forward to that scene, seeing Jamie finally meeting his daughter. We had a lot of discussions with Sam and Sophie about it. I just love that it. There’s so much emotion there and for Jamie to see the daughter he’s heard so much about but never had the chance to meet … I think he’s shocked and overwhelmed and excited and heartbroken. There are so many emotions that show on Sam’s face. He does such an amazing job, as does Sophie.
What were the discussions about music for the scene?
We had a lot of discussions with Bear [McCreary, the music creator] and initially, there was a little more music in the scene. He lays it out and then we weigh in and figure where the music should be set and pull it back if we need less. He struck a perfect tone.
So do Brianna and Jamie settle into a loving relationship?
It would be interesting to hear what Sam and Sophie felt about it but for us, we feel like Jamie has loved Brianna since he found out she existed. I mean, certainly once he sent Claire back with the stones, I don’t think he had hopes that he would survive, and Claire and their child would survive. But I think ever since Claire came back, he realized, ‘Oh, my God, I do have a child and she’s alive and her name is Brianna,’ so he has loved. I think it just deepens his love when he sees her in person. He’s had her in his mind already but I think he falls in love with her all over again. But while there is love there, it’s going to take a little while to get to a place where they’re both comfortable. Remember, they know about each other but they’ve never seen each other before. She loves Jamie but she’s still torn and feels loyalty toward Frank. It will be a really interesting journey for both of them.
A quick programming note: there will be no Outlander Live! on New Years Eve. We’ll be back Jan. 7 on EW Radio, Sirius XM 105.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.
Some Like It Scot
“Claire has finally come back to him,” Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) says of his on-screen wife, played by Caitriona Balfe. “This season is definitely the beginning of a new world and a new hope for them.”
Too Scot To Handle
Jamie and Claire enjoy the fine things that come with staying at Aunt Jocasta’s plantation. But how she runs her property is a big NOPE. “It’s a very beautiful place, and it has this great wealth and opportunity,” says Heughan. “But Jamie certainly doesn’t agree with the sort of politics or the slave trade.”
Scot and Bothered
“Of course there are moments of problems, of trials and tribulations, but overall I would say it’s much more hopeful this season,” says Caitriona Balfe (Claire).
Feeling Scot, Scot, Scot
“There’s a stability and a sense of calm between Jamie and Claire that we probably have not seen before, but obviously the price that she’s had to pay for that is not seeing her daughter,” says Balfe of her character.
“I think there’s something of a likeness between Claire and Aunt Jocasta,” Balfe says of the character played by Maria Doyle Kennedy. “But I think for Claire it’s very hard to get past the fact that she’s a plantation owner and that she owns slaves.”
In Scot Pursuit
“In many ways Claire’s function is very much the wife and the homemaker this season,” explains Balfe. “That is very different from the character that we’ve seen throughout the seasons before. I struggled with that a little bit in the beginning. Is this the same woman? What are we doing? How are we portraying this woman?”
Scot and Spicy
“They’re both still stubborn,” says Balfe of Jamie and Claire. “That’s never going to go away. I’m sure there are things that will come up and they’ll butt heads, but I think this is definitely the most in sync they’ve been in a while.”
Scot as Hell
“Sam has always been the greatest guy,” says Balfe. “He’s created this incredible career. He does so much. I just am so proud of him.”
Scot to Trot
“We were just overjoyed that they gave us a couple more seasons,” says Heughan. “It feels like there’s a new life and new energy this season as well as how it will be different because we’re in America. I think it’s going to be good. It’s going to be really refreshing.”
Heughan plays a spy alongside Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in “The Spy Who Dumped Me.”
It’s often said that the best place to hide is in plain sight, but for Sam Heughan, that advice might not hold true. The actor has been palling around New York to promote his latest project, a comedy spy film, and it’s difficult to remain incognito when you have a dedicated fan club waiting outside each stop (a contingency that calls themselves — wait for it — “Heughligans”).
But the Heughligans are at bay for the moment. Making his way up to a photo studio near Bryant Park, Heughan browses through the passport of one of his team members, taking in the stops stamped in her booklet.
The Scottish actor has been putting his own passport to good use recently. After wrapping press duties in America for “The Spy Who Dumped Me” — which took him to Budapest, Berlin and Amsterdam while filming — Heughan will head back home to Glasgow for 10 days to arrange for a visa for South Africa, where he’ll next film a comic book-based feature with actor Vin Diesel in Cape Town.
“[Cape Town’s] such a great city, it’s everything I love — it’s the outdoors, it’s very good food and good wine, people,” says Heughan, who’s also a global brand ambassador for Barbour. “I hike a lot there, cycle; I just passed my motorbike test so touring my bike around there. Not surfing — I don’t want to go in water full of sharks,” he says, listing off his downtime plans while in South Africa. “It’s an amazing country. You can do so much.”
Heughan is clearly devoted to a regimen of physical activity, so much so that it led him to develop a charitable initiative, My Peak Challenge, rooted in promoting an active lifestyle. “When I moved back to Scotland for ‘Outlander,’ I was rediscovering my country and going hiking and climbing and cycling and all of these things,” says Heughan, who spent his teenage years near Edinburgh. “And I was like, I really want to share my love of the outdoors and also challenge myself to do different things, and that’s sort of how My Peak Challenge was born.”
The initiative, which encourages goal-setting and provides around 10,000 members — “Peakers” — with video workouts and nutrition plans, benefits various charities, including Bloodwise and Marie Curie. An upcoming prize connected to the challenge is a trip to Scotland, but not just any trip to Scotland: “It’s like a date with me, but at one of our charity galas,” Heughan says, his cerulean eyes ablaze.
With his schedule pretty much mapped out through 2020, after filming the Vin Diesel movie “Bloodshot,” he has another project in October followed by picking back up with 10 months of filming for season five of “Outlander” early next year. He credits exercise, and quiet time at home, as grounding forces.
“Exercise really helps me. It provides structure and to be honest, just being home, like in your own bed and a quiet evening. It sounds really boring, but actually it’s the moment when you can switch off and kind of regroup,” he says.
Heughan, who came up through the theater world and trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, has been in New York making the rounds for the female-led comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” “It’s almost like the traditional Bond films have been flipped. You have female Bond roles, and I’m kind of like a bimbo really, I suppose,” he says of his character.
(Speaking of James Bond, Heughan is the latest name rumored to be in the running for the iconic role after Daniel Craig relinquishes his duties next year.)
In the film, Heughan plays a spy who provides contrast for the kookiness of leads Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. “The comedy for me was to play the straight guy and be a sort of bouncing board for them — they’re zany, and [my character] is like ‘what the hell is going on?’ It was fun to do that,” he says. “I’d never been a part of that, really; I come from a classical drama training of Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky and Chekhov, and then I was watching these women work, and there’s a real technique to it; it’s incredible. It’s not just like they’re funny people — they are funny — but it’s more about how hard they work.”
Says the film’s director and cowriter Susanna Fogel, “He’s very warm and level and played a good foil for [McKinnon]’s craziness, because he played the buttoned-up guy very well, but not in a cold way. He can go from being intimidating and scary to being somebody that you’re rooting for because he has that innate warmth.” And like a true shape-shifting undercover agent, he can also be funny.
“Comedy is kind of exciting because it’s very alive, there’s some energy to it and you have to keep it alive. It’s amazing when it works, and when it doesn’t you can feel it. So I can see how it can be addictive,” says Heughan, who doesn’t have any other comedic projects on the horizon — well, unless you count “Outlander.” “I think there’s always a comedic element, even actually to ‘Outlander.’ It’s the situations and how characters react to situations,” he says.
Heughan just wrapped season four of the Starz show, which has helped generate his dedicated fan base. He describes filming the upcoming season as having been tough and crazy, but adds that he thinks they “ended on probably the strongest finale of any season.”
In the new season, the cast is headed to America circa the 1700s. “It’s very much the pioneers and settlers, so it’s a lot of time spent in woods, and building and in the mud,” Heughan says. While that part of the season is set in North Carolina, Heughan got to stay local for the shoot. “We had to find specific locations in Scotland that look like North Carolina. It’s remarkable — it really does, we have these great forests in Scotland, and these incredible trees that are so old, and mountain ridges. I went to North Carolina to see where we were supposed to be set, and it does look remarkably similar.”
It’s a good thing that Heughan likes to spend so much time outside. During his recent time spent in New York, he has seen a few shows, including Armie Hammer’s “Straight White Men” (he liked it), and he has been training with Ed Naper. “I spend a lot of time here – I love walking around the streets. And [the city] is so easy to walk,” he says. “When I was here last week, I had a meeting just off Central Park, and then I walked all the way down to SoHo. It’s just such a nice walk.”
So if you’re trying to find him, just look to Broadway. If nothing else, you’re bound to see him up on a billboard along the way.
Sam was at AOL Build today promoting The Spy Who Dumped Me. Check out clips from his interview (I will add the full interview soon) as well as photos from the event and recent photo session additions. Enjoy!
July 30 – Arriving/Leaving AOL Build
2018: Photo Session #05
2018: Photo Session #04
2018: Photo Session #03