I know there have been bits and pieces of Ron Moore, Diana Gabaldon, Sam Heughan, and Caitriona Balfe’s Outlander panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, but I do not think any site has given us a complete transcript of what was said at the panel. Combing through my old Google Alerts, I found that TV Tango did just that.
Please click here to visit their article. Below are some excerpts.
Ron: ” I saw my role from the beginning as not reinventing this material but adapting it and sort of delivering it, because there is an audience for it. There is a dedicated base of fans who love these books — who have read them for many years. It’s the favorite book to a lot of people — that book that sits on their shelf that’s dog eared and they’ve read it many, many times. I take that obligation seriously. I want to give them their story, but I do have to translate it into a different medium because there are differences of being a reader and being a member of an audience. So in the writer’s room, we always start with the book. We put the book up on the board first. What’s the book version of events, what are the scenes, and then we kind of go from there. Okay. Well, that doesn’t quite play here in the hour format. How do we bridge that? Maybe we change or maybe we add some things that could have happened but aren’t mentioned there. Maybe we have to change something, but we always take pains to get back to where the book takes us because that’s sort of our job.”
Sam: “Yes, the kilt, as you can see [Sam was wearing a kilt for the panel], is a big bit of material. These are obviously modern kilts, but in the show we use the feileadh mhor (philamore), which is the traditional kilt. It’s a long bit of cloth. I can’t remember the actual size of the traditional ones, but our’s are about seven or eight-foot long, and they are basically used as a tool.The Highlanders would wear them to obviously keep themselves warm. You could use is it as a sleeping bag. You could use it as camouflage to blend into the background. They had sort of a variety of uses. They also had lots of pockets and you could wear them in different ways. So, yeah, it took a long time to get used to it, but it’s a real joy to work with it, and you can find various uses. I mean, we even discovered you can use it as a shield — you can wrap around your arm. Ron could probably tell you more, but Terry really sourced all the materials as well. She went back to the beginnings. All the colors you see are taken from the environment, so natural herbs or berries.”
Ron: “Terry is our costume designer. She also happens to be my wife and she likes this Kinsey Tartan that we use in the show, which is also Sam’s kilt. But she went back and basically did research to discover that what we think of as tartans and kilts in the contemporary sense were really a reinvention that happened in the 19th century. There was this romantic period where people were looking back and reinventing the idea of what kilts were, but our show is set in the 18th century, and actually in those days, these are closer to the colors that they actually used because they didn’t have access to the bright dyes of reds and pinks. Also, if you’re wearing red and pink in the forest, you tend to stand out, so this is sort of closer to what they actually used. We actually had these patterns made specifically for the show, and that just sort of gives you an idea basically that we approached the series with an eye towards authenticity, towards being real for what really happened in the 18th century, and for delivering a real world and not really reinventing it for modern sensibility.”
Diana: “Speaking as the writer, I often get asked, “Do you feel an obligation to do what your fans want?” And the answer is absolutely not. I am creating this and would hope that they like it, but my obligation is to the book and the book alone. It’s going to be the best I can make it, and if people like it then I’m happy, but I’m never going to write something just because I think someone else would like it.”
Ron: “And that was the attitude I took on BATTLESTAR and STAR TREK, which had very devoted, passionate fan bases that we’ll vie for the title of craziest, if you want to go there. You still have to write the show. You still have to make the show for yourself and make the best that you can. It’s not a democracy. You can’t just like throw it out there and do what the fans want, because they all want different things, and, hopefully, you’re giving them something that they can fall in love with.”
Ron: ” I think generally speaking the one book a season is roughly what we would do, but I don’t think we’re really locked into that, because some of the books are much bigger than other books. Some might require more than a season. Sometimes you might even want to start a season here and bleed it into there. I hope I have such problems.”
Source: TV Tango, Photo: Starz