Caitriona Balfe Q&A: ‘Outlander’

As an actress, Caitriona Balfe gets the opportunity to give such a fireworks performance on "Outlander" because the TV series is packed with intensity. "The show is so theatrical that you get to play really big emotions and this heightened life," she says in our webcam chat. "It's wonderful."

Now as Emmy voting begins, Balfe is a serious contender for Best Drama Actress because of the richness of her screen turn as a British nurse who is torn from her loving marriage in 1945 and hurled back in time into the arms of a dashing Scottish rebel in the 18th century. "For Claire, there will always be this pull between two men who she loves in very different ways," she adds.

Her love for the rebel Jamie (Sam Heughan) was strongly tested in the final episode of the first TV season when he was tortured and raped by Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), an ancestor of her future husband Frank, who looks identical to him. What does Balfe think of the controversial plot turn?

"It was very heavy stuff, but as actors we all relished the challenges," she says. "Tobias and Sam had about a week's rehearsal with a lot of their more intense stuff and while that was going on I was shooting the ends of eps 13 and 14. They had some time to get into that mindset. It was a great place to bring the characters – so many changes for Claire and Jamie's relationship. So many changes for Claire. It was really challenging material, but it was a nice place to go."

In our webcam chat, Balfe reveals:

— How her own grandmother inspired the wardrobe of Claire's 1945 wedding

— How far she's read in the "Outlander" book series

— "I had an ex-boyfriend named Jamie and I gave him a cat that was called Frank. That was before I got this job. I had a Jamie and Frank in my life! That's quite funny."

— What she did on the audition video that got her this job as an actress. And more.

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UPLOADED Jun 12, 2015 12:08 pm