“To play a great love story is amazing in so many ways,” admits Caitriona Balfe during our recent webcam chat (watch above) about the unbridled romance of Starz’s fantasy hit “Outlander.” She adds, “As much as it is a fantasy, what we’re always trying to do is make it feel as real as possible and as human as possible. There’s a place in the TV landscape for something like this, and I am proud that we are putting it out there and people have seemed to have connected to it. I love that part of our show and I think it is important that we embrace it.”
In “Outlander,” Balfe plays Claire Randall, a married nurse in 1945 who finds herself mysteriously transported back in time to the rugged highlands of 1743 Scotland where she falls in love with rough diamond Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). The fantasy/romance series on Starz is based on the celebrated series of fantasy books by Diana Gabaldon and brought to the small screen by Emmy-nominated writer/producer Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”).
Balfe is currently shooting the much anticipated third season of the show in Scotland, and is predictably coy when asked to reveal clues about what fans can expect, offering only the smallest morsels of information. “The first couple of episodes they are apart,” Balfe reveals about Claire and Jamie, who end up separated in different time periods by the end of the second season finale. “With Claire, you’ll see her in Boston with Frank (Tobias Menzies) and quite a bit with (her daughter) Brianna (Sophie Skelton), which I think is really nice as you get to see that relationship really solidify.” On the moment all the fans will be waiting for, the reunion between Claire and Jamie, Balfe is as tight-lipped as ever. “There will be a reunion, but I really can’t say much about it!” Balfe smiles. “I think the fans will be happy!”
The show’s production will eventually shift from Scotland as the story moves across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. “We will be filming in South Africa (which substitutes for Jamaica) next year, but we have not seen the scripts for that yet,” Balfe reveals. “The great thing about the show is that there’s so much that is new and it often feels like a completely different show. It keeps things really fresh for us and we’re constantly excited about what is coming around the corner. It’s a great place to be constantly rejuvenated by the newness of it all.”
Over the past two seasons, Balfe and Heughan have developed a close bond as the show’s two leads. “We have so much fun,” Balfe says when explaining her friendship with Heughan, adding with a laugh that “we get along incredibly well, we’re both quite childish, we have a ridiculous sense of humor. I have so much respect for him, he is one of my closest friends as we’ve gone through this crazy experience together and we’re very similar people in many ways and for some reason it just works.”
“Outlander” recently garnered nominations at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards for Balfe as Best Drama Actress and Heughan as Best Drama Actor. This follows nominations at last year’s Golden Globes for the series, Balfe, and Menzies.
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