*My livestream of the event was iffy at points and stopped a couple of times. I am summarizing what I took notes on, but I know it is not complete. I may even have some things down wrong (please correct me if I do). I highly encourage you to watch the event for yourself. It will be available for 48 hours according to Starz.*
Today was a pretty good day. It was the first time a massive amount of fans got to be in the same room as Ron Moore, Diana Gabaldon, Sam Heughan, and Caitriona Balfe. And the only reason they were there was to share some Outlander with the fans.
The night started out with two female bagpipers playing three songs and a fourth as they left the stage. Starz executive Carmi Zlotnik came out to greet the crowd and asked them to yell “Sassenach” a couple of times. He then told of how Outlander the show came to be at Starz and how excited and impressed he is with it and the fans so far. He wants there to be a continuous dialogue with the fans and this night was part of it. Zlotnik then introduced the moderator for the night, Alicia Quarles, who is also a big Outlander fan, having picked up the book from her husband.
Ron Moore (writer and executive producer – in a kilt) came out with Diana Gabaldon (who was in a beautiful black and white ensemble). The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Diana!
Then the questions began –
Diana commented that people have been buying the rights to the book for twenty years. Ron’s script for the first episode is the only script that she has ever read that did not make her turn white or want to burst into flames.
Like we have already heard, Ron expected the casting of Jamie to take the longest and find Claire first. The exact opposite happened. As soon as he saw Caitriona, he knew he had found Claire.
Ron then did a little slideshow of concept art for the show. A few of these we had already seen at NYCC, but there were a few new ones also. They included Claire’s surgery at Castle Leoch ( two drawings), the courtyard of Castle Leoch (two drawings), the front of castle Leoch, 1940s Castle Leoch, stable at Castle Leoch (with large pasture) and a different angle, and Lallybroch (two drawings) which Ron pointed out there will be a Fraser crest over the entryway.
Then we got a big surprise. I think we were all expecting to see the footage shown at the TCA’s yesterday, but instead we got the first trailer which was not shown yesterday to the critics.
After the trailer, Sam and Caitriona came out to the adoring crowd. Here are some more answers to questions that were asked.
Sam and Caitriona did do chemistry tests. She said Sam is an alright kisser, but they have not had any love scenes yet. She has had one with Tobias Menzies (as Frank).
According to Sam, he can’t really comment on if love or fighting scenes are harder because thus far, he has only done a couple of fighting scenes and has mostly been just beaten up in the episodes so far.
Diana was asked how she keeps the stories and the characters straight. She says she does not write outlines and will jump around on different novel/story.
Scenes they are most looking forward to? Ron said the wedding and Claire and Jack Randall’s second meeting. Sam just got the script with Hugh Munro so he excited about what he is shooting next. Caitriona is looking forward to killing a man and hopes they don’t take that out of the series.
Caitriona speaks Irish Gaelic which is somewhat similar to Scottish Gaelic. She can pick out words that are the same or similar. Her costume dresser also speaks Irish Gaelic so they do have secret conversations that no one else can understand.
Sam did wear a MacKenzie tartan kilt to the event and spoke about the costumes and Terry Dresbach (Fanning) who is the costume designer.
Who are the true comedians on set? Duncan Lacroix and Graham McTavish. All those that play Highlanders have a good sense of humor.
Diana identifies the most with Black Jack Randall, not Claire.
Ron said they have not found locations for Wentworth Prison or the French abbey (at the end of the book). He commented that the timeline for the seasons will not mirror the book. They will start in autumn and go through spring instead to be more in line with the weather in Scotland.
Caitriona got a perm to more easily resemble Claire’s hair since it is almost a character of its own in the books. Sam trained with a personal trainer for three months to build muscle and put on weight. He also had to dye his hair and withstand the application of prosthetics for the back scars that take a few hours to apply.
Alicia asked Diana if she laid the groundwork for Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey. There was an echo of horror all through the crowd for that question. Diana admits she has never read either series.
Caitiriona’s faviorite part of the story is that Claire is such a strong character. She is a bad ass who is torn between two loves. Diana’s favorite part is the beatings, as they break down the men to their true character.
Ron pointed out that the entire writing staff was in the audience. He touched on how the adaptation process is going. They want to stay as faithful to the book(s) as possible, but they need to be made into TV episodes. You have to find the arc in each episode; the beginning, middle, and end.
Ron answered the question of how far they are going to take the sex. He said that they are not adding more since there is plenty already. You have to subscribe to Starz to see how far it is taken and if anyone is nude.
The current TV/ book obsessions of the group: Caitriona – Friday Night Lights, Mad Men. Sam – Dexter, Friday Night Lights. Ron – Seinfeld. Diana – not watching TV right now since she has a book to finish.
Diana admits that she has wanted to be a novelist since she was eight, but she did not know how to accomplish it. The idea to write Outlander came from an episode of Doctor Who during the second Doctor when he meets a Scottish man in a kilt from 1745. She chose something historical so there is always a timeline and existing events to follow along with. Diana has read all of the completed six scripts so far and nothing major has been left out from the books. Things have been added which she likes. The series development has not changed her life in any way.
To prepare for her role, Caitriona met with an herbalist and also a medical advisor to help with Claire’s nursing skills.
Sam said that Jamie is a culmination of a lot of the characters he has played as well as himself. Everything fell into place for him.
Caitriona doesn’t like that Claire drinks so much because she does not drink.
Sam’s favorite word in Gaelic is “my love.” I am not going to try to spell what he said, but it sounded nice.
Caitriona and Sam answered the inevitable question about love scenes and what they are like to film. Caitriona said they are beautiful and emotional, but she has only done one with Tobias Menzies so far. Sam said they have a really professional cast.
Any weird or extraordinary fan encounters? Caitriona – today. Sam – first one was Angela Sasso in London with her Heughligans shirt. Ron – his wife is a fan and his job is not to screw up her favorite book. Diana – some fans have dropped trowel and shown their tramp stamps that have “kiss my ass” in Latin. The Ladies of Lallybroch are the oldest fan group and do some really neat Christmas gifts for Diana.
Where would you go to if you went through the stones? Ron – WWII or Napoleonic era, Diana – would not go because I would want to stay with my husband of over 30 years (this is when Ron changes his answer to he would not go either or take my wife with me), Sam – the furture or the moon, Caitriona – 1920s New York
Out of all the things in all the books, Diana is most looking forward to seeing Sam getting raped and beaten.
Diana touched on why she calls Sam “Sheughs.” It is because her son is named Sam.
Caitriona did give us a “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” and Sam did a Jamie wink.
The end was a Happy Birthday to Diana with a cake and also another look at the trailer.
Source: Starz, Outlander TV News
Photos: Starz, OutlanderSpain