Executive producer Maril Davis talks the perils of recreating the New World: “You’re never going to get the heat and humidity of North Carolina in Scotland.”
Ask someone who hasn’t seen a single episode of Outlander to explain the series, and they may still be able to tell you two details: 1) This is a story that takes place in Scotland, and 2) it’s a romance about two very attractive and charismatic people who are torn apart by the quirks of time travel. But as the beloved book adaptation heads into its fourth season on Starz next month, both of those main components are going out the window.
As the show returns, the attractive couple in question—Caitriona Balfe’s Claire and Sam Heughan’s Jamie—are together at last, and making a new life for themselves not on the Highlands, but in colonial America. Outlander is not done with Scotland for good, but it’s certainly trading in plaid kilts for buckskin trousers this season. In the new series of photos above and an exclusive behind-the-scenes video below, we get a glimpse of what life will be like for Claire and Jamie as they build a home together in North Carolina. The show’s executive producer, Maril Davis, also shed light on some of the challenges the show faced as Outlander reshaped its look while maintaining its identity. We’ll all get to see how they did when the new season premieres on Sunday, November 4.
What was the biggest challenge of bringing Claire and Jamie to America?
The biggest challenge by far was trying to figure out how to film North Carolina in Scotland. In Scotland, everything is stone. We certainly debated moving [production] to North Carolina, because I’ve said all along that one of the amazing things about Outlander is that we were actually able to film where it took place. Usually it’s Los Angeles or Vancouver or Washington. But at the end of the day we realized we love our crew too much to leave Scotland, and we have such a fabulous art department. So I’ve always said the only thing we could not replicate is the weather, because certainly you’re never going to get that heat and humidity of North Carolina in the summer in Scotland. So we just kind of decided from the get-go not to talk about the weather. We just wouldn’t try to play that at all.
Claire and Jamie are trying to fit into this new culture, but feel unease around both slavery and the attitudes that the colonists have toward the Cherokee Nation. How did you make sure that perspective came through?
Jamie has such a unique perspective on this because in many ways, he is very similar to the Native Americans in the colonies. He, too, was displaced by the British coming, as the indigenous people are. What an interesting perspective that was for Jamie coming in, kind of like: “How am I about to do, to someone else, what was done to me?” We’re not a SAG show, so unfortunately we can’t cast actors from the United States. But it was very important that we cast indigenous actors. So we went to Canada and brought over First Nation performers. It was difficult, because we kind of had to block-shoot everything because we were bringing over a hundred people at a time.
Then Matthew Roberts—who is one of the executive producers and writers—he flew up to North Carolina, and he met with one of the Cherokee leaders and had discussions with him about what we were going to do. Unfortunately, there are many story lines in this book that are not necessarily so flattering to Native Americans. We’re sticking to the source, but we also want to be sensitive to the Native Americans [and] show things from their perspective as well, so it doesn’t seem so one-sided.
The couple get offered this great piece of land called Fraser’s Ridge, which I know fans of the book will be excited to see. But as Caitriona Balfe points out in the video, this puts Jamie and Claire once again on the wrong side of history. What’s the tension there? Side note: I wish I had a Claire Fraser in my life to tell me when I was on the wrong side of history.
Yeah, exactly. Or: “These are the lottery ticket numbers you should use.” Certainly Claire knew the outcome of Culloden, and they tried very hard to stop it and couldn’t. Now, in North Carolina, they’re in a similar situation. They know the American Revolution’s coming, and they know by taking the land that they will be on the wrong side of history. But what they have here is this opportunity to have a home and roots, which is so important to Claire, because they’re kind of nomads. All the time they’ve known each other, they’ve never had a real home.
That’s a very important theme of this year: home. Home is wherever you make it. And I think this particular dilemma puts Jamie at odds with people he loves, and that’s the kind of dilemma we writers love.
After three seasons of separation and conflict, Jamie and Claire are finally together. This season will be so much less about any kind of will they/won’t they. How do you keep the romantic spark alive in this new chapter in their lives?
We’ve always said that this is not Sam and Diane from Cheers. This is never going to be will they/won’t they. Let’s show a new stage or kind of relationship in TV, of a loving couple and them staying together. It’s a mature, loving relationship, and that’s so interesting to us, and something we’ve talked about to the actors quite a bit. In some ways, though, it’s starting over for them again after the 20 years apart—relearning each other’s ways. This is such a busy season, with Brianna and Roger being in the forefront a little more and their relationship unfolding. But we’re trying to do these small moments with Jamie and Claire.
– Source / View Video
I’ve put together this master post to post all new photos and videos from 2018 New York Comic Con weekend. I will be adding and updating to the gallery pages linked below with new photos so be sure to check them out for new photos throughout the weekend and going into the new week as photos surface. Enjoy!
October 6 – New York Comic Con: Signing
October 6 – New York Comic Con: Panel
October 6 – New York Comic Con: IMDB
October 6 – New York Comic Con: SYFY Wire
October 6 – New York Comic Con: Bloodshot Booth
2018: Photo Session #09
Check out the new Outlander season 4 trailer! Remember, Outlander returns October 4th on Starz.
Each week, ET’s resident small-screen romance expert, Leanne Aguilera, will be sailing the high seas and investigating one of TV’s most swoonworthy ships. Sail along to relive the sweetest moments, hottest makeouts and more — and then head over to Twitter to let us know what you loved and which ships you’d love to see more of! This week, #Outlander.
This week’s ship: Jamie & Claire, aka Outlander’s very own Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe). We are traveling back in time to take a look at the wildly romantic relationship. We also have a brand new on set interview (in Scotland!) with Sam and Caitriona talking about season 4 and Jamie and Claire’s relationship.
As a globe trotting spy or a time traveling Jacobite, Sam Heughan is a force to be reckoned with. We caught up with the star of The Spy Who Dumped Me and Outlander for a one-on-one!
Sam Heughan — The Spy Who Skype’d Me
Outlander fans have long been familiar with Sam Heughan’s exceptional work, but his prominent role in The Spy Who Dumped Me provides a new opportunity for the rising star to win even more fans across the U.S., and the world-at-large.
While playing a spy is a departure from his kilt-clad role in Outlander, the Scottish actor grew up under the shadow of the United Kingdom’s ultimate spy — James Bond. He speaks with us about the character’s role in UK heritage and dreaming of growing up to play him.
While 007 may yet be in the star’s future, you can see Heughan as a suave spy, tuxedo and all, alongside Milas Kunis and Kate McKinnon in The Spy Who Dumped Me — now in theaters!
The actor Sam Heughan who was announced for his participation in 2014 in the series “Outlander” with his character Jamie Fraser, now acts in the movie “The Spy Who Dumped Me” which premiered on August 3, 2018. The Scottish He was grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside great celebrities such as Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, whom he defined as the funniest of the film.
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 Heughan tells us all about “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” new projects, and more with New York Live.
Sam was interviewed on Despierta America this morning promoting The Spy Who Dumped Me. Watch the full interview below:
Sam has been all over the place this past week and it’s so great to see! Check him out on The Today Show, today! Enjoy.