Outlander Stars Chatting about Fans:
Q: How’s your con been? Are y’all ok?
Caitriona: Good. It’s been very fun. Still quite trying to get our heads all around it.
Sam: Great day yesterday, it was so exciting, just seeing all the fans, having the panel, and then the sort of climax of the evening, the premiere which was just great.
Q: Were you guys surprised by the reaction of the fans since the show isn’t even out yet?
Caitriona: Well we are kind of used to them at this point. They are very enthusiastic and very vocal, and that’s how we like it. It’s really great finally getting to meet a lot of them that we know from twitter and stuff like that. So it’s been really nice that we finally get to meet them in person and say thank you.
Sam: Their support has been brilliant, you know, the separate groups they’ve set up: the Heughligans and the Catriots, the Menziatics, the O’Broins or whatever they are. They’re all so involved and have raised a lot of money for charity, mine and Cait’s charities. They have these fan events, gatherings in Edinburgh and Seattle. They have the Outlandish Bakers that somehow track us down on location and bring us lots of sugary goodness. It’s incredible, really overwhelming.
Q: So do you have any scary fan stories so far? No one scaring you?
Sam: Honestly, the fans we’ve met have been so polite and supportive. I just had a great moment traveling here, you know the Outlander guys they’ve got around Castle Leoch? I was driving past, and put my head out and shouted “Outlander!” and it was like my clan had arrived. They came over the car and started shouting “Outlander! Outlander!” and loads of fans started joining in. It was quite intense, it was great. So, my clan is here.
Q: What is the experience like on the set back in Scotland? Are the fans different from the American ones?
Caitriona: Predominantly we don’t get that many come to set. Either we are at the studio which is kind of removed from public or we’re in really remote locations. Occasionally we’ ll have the outlandish bakers who find us, I don’t know how but they do, but usually it’s quite subdued. And that is nice. We’ve been able to work in this nice sort of bubble, and concentrate on work without too many distractions.
Q: Has the fan response shaped the way you’re approaching about your characters? With any sort of bias or expectations?
Caitriona: No, my sort of time frame between getting cast and starting work was so short that I was just three days later I was there, and I was working, so you don’t really have time to think about other things.
But what has been really nice is that it’s long days, the schedule is really grueling, and to get little like messages of support and encouragement. That’s been really helpful. Because there are some days where you’re like, “This is so overwhelming.” So they send you nice well wishes, and it gives you that little boost when you need it.
Q: Has the cast really been a solid unit because of all the outpouring?
Sam: Yeah, it’s a wonderful cast. We did sort of create a little family at the start, you know all of the Highlanders, with Cait and Tobias. And then it’s really nice how the story progresses, we’ve got sort of a second family now. We got back to Lallybroch and they’re all brilliant. The episodes we’re just finishing now are so high stakes and so interesting. And then the other day we were shooting some pickups and the old crew came back in. It’s just like a big family.
Q: Since the books are so popular, do you think the fans will be surprised by your interpretation?
Caitriona: As much as possible we are staying true to the book, but it is an adaptation so in terms of the the medium the story is being told in certain things have to be changed to fill the proper arc of one hour episode. So some things have been moved around a little bit, or expanded upon or maybe we haven’t been able to touch on certain parts of it, but I hope that that leaves it sort of exciting because that makes it something you recognize but also going to be all these new elements. And I hope that for people who haven’t read the books, it’s gonna be great story telling about fantastic characters that will drag them in too.
Q: Did you guys read the books or were you aware of them before you auditioned?
Sam: No, I think we’re both in the same scenario in that we hadn’t read or heard of them. And when you’re asked to audition, you go and google them straight away and are like “omg there’s all this stuff!” So we both went out. I got a copy of the book, and sped read relevant scenes, went into the meeting going, “yeah yeah I’ve read it” Obviously when you get called back and start screen test, you try to read it. I’ve read the book a few times now. I’ve read pretty much all of book 2, but I’ve stopped because we’re dealing with book one here and it’s getting confusing where we are, and also we have to deal with the material in hand and that’s very much moment by moment, the scenes in front of us, and not playing the story that’s to come. But I’m very aware that there’s this great body of work that Diana has written. The companion books are great. Really enjoyed Exile and the Outlandish Companion. I thought there were handy to dip in and out.
Q: Is there ever a moment of apprehension like “omg do I really want to get into this because it’s going to have a huge fanbase with excitement from the get-go” or was it excitement to take on a character that so many people love and adore?
Caitriona: I think I had complete naiveté. I just had no idea. I got the book right before I tested. My first audition when I taped, I basically just been given a paragraph about who this person is. I didn’t know anything about the project. So I sent in a tape early based on the two scenes I’d been given. And then when I heard they wanted to test me, I went straight away to my bookstore in LA, and got the book and the guy was like “you know they’re making a TV show out of this. Yeah, I did my thesis on Ron D Moore.” But I think I had somewhere around 200 twitter followers and I was very proud of that at the time. And then three days later I was in Scotland and it was just blowing up. My friends were like, “Have you read this?” “Have you seen this?” It was great! Wow, God, what is this? But again, it’s only been positive. We feel very lucky.
Q: What’s been your family’s reaction? Have they read the books
Caitriona: My sister, I got cast in September, and by November she had read all seven books. She is a maniac reader. And then she ordered book 8. My other sister has read Outlander, the first one and was texting me, “You’re so Claire!” But they’re just very excited.
Sam: My mum read the first book recently and there’e always that conversation: “So at the end of the book, you know that bit with Black Jack” … “yeah yeah” … So we sort of glossed over that. But she came on set and I showed her around. She brought my nephew who is ten, and showed him the armory and he was really excited about that. So it’s great to have your family there. Because I’m from Scotland as well, it’s great to come back to Scotland finally be able to show my folks something I’m working on.
Q: Can I ask you about Claire I want to know how you feel about critiscm that may come from women who think she’s cheating on her husband or the dichotomy of a woman who’s super strong but is also constantly being assaulted?
Caitriona: Those women have never fallen through time. [laughs] But you know I wanted to be sure that Claire’s strength wasn’t just being able to blindly get up after being attacked and go on and it not affect her. I think there’s strength in vulnerability as well. That was important for me to be able to show that part of Claire. The whole thing about being in love with two people; I think it’s entirely possible. Its not like, at least the way we’ve handled it in the show, when she first marries Jamie it’s not because she’s madly in love with him, it’s compulsory. It’s to save her life. This is the thing I love about Claire: she finds a way to get through whatever situation is put in front of her; she’s a true survivor. And within that, to be able to survive, you have to be able to live and love and hope again. And that’s what she constantly does. Yes, she feels bad and hurt and feels the loss, but she has space in her heart to want to live and love again.
Q: How much is Claire weighing out her knowledge of the future versus truing to acclimate and blend in?
Caitriona: I think the first season, it’s interesting because her main drive is just to survive. In a sense, she’s not looking at the macro, she has information about the future and what’s going to happen, especially to the highlanders but it’s not something that I think she’s able to fully grasp until she knows that she herself and her life is not at risk. As the story progresses she’s able to look at the bigger picture.
Sam: Yes, she has to find her place with that knowledge as well.
So there you have it guys … keep tweeting away and sending cupcakes because they are not bothered one bit. And in case you are wondering, both Sam and Caitriona knew the faces of That’s Normal, and no doubt they know you guys as well.
I’m not done talking about Outlander at Comic-Con. Check back next week for interviews with Ron and Diana, Graham and Lotte and …. TOBIAS. Plus, a full recap of everything Outlander fandom from the weekend.
And keep a look out on twitter, Facebook and the blog for info on our BIG Outlander swag giveaway for our first episode recap of Talking Outlander THIS SUNDAY, August 3rd!!