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PaleyFest 2015: The Cast of ‘Outlander’ Dishes on the Highly Anticipated Return, Adapting a Beloved Book Series and Becoming a Tight-Knit Cast

Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor

Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies at PaleyFest 2014. Photo Credit: Paley Center LA
Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies discuss Outlander at PaleyFest 2015. Photo Credit: Paley Center LA.

PaleyFest 2015 continued on Thursday March 12th with a star studded panel by the STARZ hit series Outlander. The cast stopped by to discuss the upcoming return of the hit show, meeting each other for the first time and adapting such a beloved book series. Emertainment Monthly has rounded up the top discussion points of the star-studded panel.

This year the entire cast of Outlander was on stage to deliver some insight into some of the most anticipated moments of this upcoming half of season one. This years panel was monitored by Kristin Dos Santos from E! News and E! Online. The panel featured, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, Sam Heughan, Director and producer Ronald Moore and author of the Outlander novels Diana Gabaldon. The panel began with a game of what Dos Santos called “Ne’er Have I Eer” with some whiskey. Caitriona  drank for the statement “cried at something a fans said to me,” Sam drank for “playing a prank on a co-worker” and Tobias, Caitriona and Sam all took a huge gulp for “laugh during a sex scene.” A classic way to start of the sultry Outlander panel.

Ronald Moore and Diana Gabaldon discuss Outlander at PaleyFest 2015. Photo Credit: Paley Center LA
Ronald Moore and Diana Gabaldon discuss Outlander at PaleyFest 2015. Photo Credit: Paley Center LA.

One of the biggest things about Outlander was casting the part of Claire and Jamie perfectly. Ronald Moore takes on the subject of casting Sam and Caitriona by saying “We knew as soon as we saw the tapes. We said ‘That’s our Claire and Jamie.’” Moore and Gabaldon began to discuss the books and if fans have not read the books they will be in for a few interesting surprises for this back half of season one, which premieres on STARZ on April 4th. Off of this point the three stars revealed how much they knew about Outlander before signing on. Tobias jokes that he wouldn’t have signed on if he knew about his character- he plays Claire’s husband in the present Frank Randall as well as his devilish ancestor Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall. Sam Heughan reveals “I spread read the first book when I got the job and then I googled the rest. It’s very interesting living these books.”

Gabaldon took the reigns and discussed more of the differences between the Outlander books and the television show. She talks about the biggest and greatest addition to the TV show that wasn’t in the books and it’s the characters of Rupert and Angus. She says “They are the 18th century version of Laurel and Hardy.” Of course, being the author of a book series that has taken over so much of her life, there were aspects of the book Gabaldon wanted to keep exactly the same. The one thing she made sure stayed exactly the same, word for word, was a line during the infamous Wedding Scene were Jamie tells Claire, “You won’t be scared as long as I’m with you.” Ronald Moore talks about the adaptation process and says that he tries to stick close to the books but adaptations are a different form. One of the biggest addition to the show is the exploration of Frank Randall. Moore says, “Once we opened up Frank more in episode eight, we have to continue in that way and follow that version of him.”

Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire and Jamie in Outlander. Photo Credit: STARZ
Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire and Jamie in Outlander. Photo Credit: STARZ.

Sam Heughan has done some of heaviest lifting on Outlander. Between riding horses, battling the British and those sexy sex scenes, Sam has done a lot. He talks about doing a lot of his own stunts and trying to make it as authentic as possible. Sam and Caitriona have become breakout TV stars this past year and their fame only continues. When asked about whether they were ready for the fan response Caitriona responded with a confident “Hell Yes!” The fans of Outlander are very passionate and it shows in their incredible gratification and response to the TV adaptation.

Of course, an entire PaleyFest panel could not go by without the infamous Wedding Episode being mentioned. The highly anticipated scene received praise from critics and became one of the most talked about episode of TV in 2014. Ronald Moore discusses the episode by saying, “I wanted a woman to write and direct the Outlander wedding episode because we wanted to make it true, authentic, sexuality between a couple.” Moore continues, “We wanted to make it a couple learning about each other on their wedding night. Not TV sex… When you do something truthful it becomes the female point of view.” Great insight into this amazing episode.

Outlander continues its inaugural season on April 4th at 9/10c on STARZ.

For LiveStream of other PaleyFest panels this week visit: http://media.paleycenter.org/paleyfest-la-2015

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