Menzies and Moore on the Across-Time Love Triangle and Playing both Frank and Black Jack

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Laura Prudom from Variety sat down with Tobias Menzies (who plays both Frank and ‘Black Jack’ Randall) and the Director/Producer/Show Runner of the series, Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) to talk about the show so far and some hints to what we may be seeing in the future. She also hints that there is more to this interview than she can publish just yet since the mid-season finale airs tonight, but that the rest will be made available later this evening.

One thing that is mentioned about the mid-season finale is that this is the episode that has departed most from the book so far because we will see how Frank is handling Claire’s disappearance, while, at the same time, she is in the ‘honeymoon’ of her new marriage to Jamie. Part of the reason for this is that Ron and his cohort of writers are feeling more comfortable taking liberties with the series where they need to the further in the series they progress. We see this especially when dealing with the character of Frank, who receives very little attention in the first book, aside from Claire’s determination to return to him and occasional memories/thoughts of him. Of course, this is a good deviation for Menzies, as it allows him to play the character of Frank more. “[I’m] enjoying the greater level of complexity that is being drawn out by the series … that’s always very enjoyable as an actor, to be given more colors to play.” Moore explains their choices in that area, such as the impromptu marriage between Frank and Claire and the contrast between the two weddings we see reflected through that.

Moore also comments on the wedding night capers of Jamie and Claire. As I had mentioned in my recap (and am glad to see reflected here, by the producer), the consummation of the marriage was meant to be real and quick and awkward, rather than the overly-hyped romantic scene that it could have been. This was an intentional choice to show the ‘truth’ of how it would actually be if this were a real couple, rather than the literary romance created by Gabaldon. It is Jamie’s first time and Claire is anxious for a complication of reasons, but they get through that first time and then are able to relax and have more fun and romance during their subsequent encounters. It lends a sweeter charm to the whole situation than if they had overdone the romance as fans may have been expecting. There is a beauty in the realism of it that is refreshing.

Menzies speaks more about what it has been like to play both characters so far, though we don’t know how much this will carry over into the second half of the season. He talks about the challenges of both characters and about the little moments where you can see pieces of ‘Black Jack’ in Frank. In the book up to this point, we see so little of Frank and I had not expected the characters to be playing as similarly as they sometimes are in the series. In the first book to this point, all you know of Frank is the little you see of him in the beginning and the fondness Claire has for him throughout, even after her marriage to Jamie and the choices she has to make to survive. Seeing some of this darker side of Frank at times can be unnerving, and yet is absolutely possible. It begs that age-old question that can be debated until we are all out-of-breath and doubled over with migraines: nurture or nature? How much of Black Jack Randall really does live in Frank, but maybe Claire did not see because they were separated for so long by the war. How much would have shown through if they had never been separated, or will we see if she does make it back to him through the stones? Tonight’s episode, by showing us what Frank is going through after she disappears, delves into a bit of this, and his struggle against the bits of ‘Black Jack’ that are inside him.

The first season of ‘Outlander’ is finished with filming and Menzies is moving on to a one-man production of “The Fever” by Wallace Shawn that he will be playing for a limited audience in London at the Almeida Theatre during January. This is a very personal project for him that he has been working on for awhile. Despite his misgivings and anxieties, he is glad to be working on a project during the show’s down time than relaxing on a beach somewhere (though I’m not sure why he wouldn’t rather be doing the latter after all the hard work he just put in on not just one, but two characters in this show 😉 ).

Tune back in to us (and Variety) tonight to hear more about this interview with Moore and Menzies. And you can read more details from Prudom’s interview at the source link below.

Source: Variety