This week’s post-episode round up includes interviews with Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Toni Graphia. Read with caution as the interviews do contain spoilers for the latest episode and may contain spoilers for upcoming episodes.
Access Hollywood: ‘Outlander’ Season 2: Caitriona Balfe Talks Filming The ‘Faith’ Episode
AccessHollywood.com: How long did you have the script for the ‘Faith’ episode before you had to shoot those scenes?
Caitriona Balfe: I think it was the same as usual. Although, Toni Graphia — this episode was so beautiful. She wrote it with such a poetic, respectful way. When I got the script… I cried and I remember emailing her and just being like, ‘You have floored me. I’ve just been sitting here sobbing.’ And also, it was one of the scripts that really didn’t need an awful lot of changing or work, so I probably had it a week or so before we started, or maybe a little more, but we don’t tend to have them for too, too long. But yeah, it was just written so beautifully and it was one of those things where, you as an actor, in some sort of a masochistic way, really look forward to filming the most horrific things.
Access: Of course a scene people are really going to be thinking about a lot and their hearts are going to be breaking [over] is the Jamie and Claire scene, where he says, are you going to make me beg, and [as the scene progresses], she gets into blaming herself. Were those raw days where you leaving the set just feeling like someone had taken a rake to your heart?
Caitriona: Yeah, that was a really tough scene to film because it’s – in many ways it’s a reconciliation, but there’s still so much anger and shame and pain between them and Sam and I and Metin talked about how we wanted this distance to still remain between them and we didn’t want them to touch until the grave scene because there’s a line that Sam has that is so beautiful and it’s that the weight of this pain is too much for either of them to bear on their own, that it’s only together that they can carry it, and I thought that that was such a beautiful, beautiful moment. But up until that point, for Claire, I think she has been so destroyed by the loss of Faith that in many ways she had built up this wall around her heart and it’s so hard for her to let go of the anger, which is mostly at herself. She, in some ways, is showing this anger towards him, but it’s because she doesn’t even know what to do with all of the pain and anger she has at herself. But then, when he tells her that he forgives and he’s forgiven her a long time ago for anything, you see that wall begin to crack and crumble and it’s the pathway to her being able to start forgiving herself.
The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Outlander’ Producer Defends Graphic Rape Scene: “We Wanted to Do It Justice”
THR: When you first found out that this was going to be your episode, what did you wanted to accomplish with writing the script?
Toni Graphia: I didn’t just hear it was going to be my episode, I was like, I will wrestle to the ground anyone who tries to take this episode. (Laughs.) When I read Dragonfly in Amber, this was the portion of the book that really drew me in. I titled the episode already in my mind, I knew I had to write this episode. I loved the star chamber, I love the baby and the emotions of the baby story. And [showrunner] Ron [D. Moore] is very generous. Most showrunners assign scripts in a hierarchy in who goes first and who gets what episode, but Ron trusts his writers and lets us tell him what spoke to us. I had said early on that this year, this is the one. It was a real honor to be trusted with this material and I wanted to do it justice. I know it’s a fan favorite in the book, and it’s so intense so it was really hard to write but I wasn’t going to get out of this season without having my name on it.
THR: The episode actually opened in Boston in 1954, which was quite the departure from the book. Why did you choose to open with a flash forward in this particular episode, and with that memory?
Toni Graphia: That actually wasn’t in the first draft. That chapter of the book opens five days after Claire has lost the baby and she’s in the hospital, and already knows the baby is gone. I thought that we couldn’t skip over that. I wanted to see that. I wanted to an 18th century version of ER and show Claire in the hospital with the King’s executioner as her doctor. I wanted to see the moment Mother Hildegarde told her she lost the baby. How could we not play that? My first draft opened with Claire on the table, and Ron always wanted to touch base back with Claire in her own time in a couple more places this season in addition to the premiere. He came up with the idea that this would be the perfect place to do it, to show her with her kid. When you see her with her red-haired kid, your heart breaks because you realize what she’s losing in the past in this episode. It makes it all the more poignant. And I chose the heron as a motif for the episode, for Claire to focus on something other than her own loss and grief because she just can’t even process it.
IGN: ‘Outlander’: Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe on the Fallout of Faith
“He feels so much guilt. He’s lost something, but he didn’t have a connection. He missed it all, so therefore there’s a great void for him. But for her, especially — he feels for her,” Heughan explained. “He’s betrayed her trust, and that’s probably the worst part for him.”
Praising Balfe’s performancing in “Faith” as amazing, Heughan admitted that it’s these dark, meaty scenes that both he and his co-star revel in. “In a weird way, those are definitely the scenes where me and Caitriona love to play,” he said. “Those are the days that we really enjoy the most. It’s great for us as actors because we get asked to go to these places and be challenged. There’s a wonderful scene when Jamie returns back from incarceration and sees her for the first time. They’re challenging but definitely the most rewarding scenes to play.”
Variety: How ‘Outlander’ Created Its Most Devastating and Powerful Episode Yet
Catriona, what was your first impression of Toni’s script when you got it? You knew that the miscarriage was coming before you read it, right?
Balfe: Yeah, I knew where the story was headed, and I knew that Toni was writing it, and Toni has such a beautiful, poetic way with her writing. I knew that it was going to be in very safe hands. So when I first got the script, I mean, I cried. I emailed Toni straight away, and I was just like, “This is so beautiful. You’ve made me cry like a baby.” I loved how Toni handled it. It was in such a respectful way, and such a beautiful way, and I think it’s such a defining moment in Claire’s life and for her character, that in a way, you just relish these moments as an actor to be able to go through this journey with the character.
Toni, how did you approach adapting the episode, because you have a lot of ground to cover in terms of narrative, and it unfolds a little differently from the books. Were there specific beats you wanted to hit, or a moment you wrote that made you finally feel like you nailed it?
Graphia: I think figuring out the moment when Louise comes and takes the baby from her, which is my favorite scene, was the moment that I knew that I had nailed it. Because in the book yeah, it goes on for chapters and chapters — and I loved those chapters, make no mistake, Diana did a great job — Claire’s in the hospital for weeks and weeks. Claire goes to Fontainbleau with Louise and Louise helps her heal, but over weeks and weeks, and I knew that we just had this hour-long episode. And I wanted Louise to figure prominently and I thought, in the book we do not see her in surgery or trying to save the baby. We don’t see the moment that they tell her the baby’s gone. The book chapter starts with five days after she’s lost the baby and she’s talking to Mother Hildegarde and she already knows the baby’s gone, and I thought, “How can we not see that? I want to see it.”
So I decided early on that my original opening was going to be rushed into the hospital, like an 18th Century version of “ER,” a show that I always loved, and to see how the King’s executioner, ironically, is the one trying to save her life. And then I wanted to see the moment that Mother Hildegarde had to break the news to her that the baby died, which I think will shock a lot of people who aren’t book readers because I think on network TV, they would save that baby if it would have been on a network. And I called on my Catholic school upbringing for how Mother Hildegarde would say it and she says, “She’s joined the angels.”
I thought, I don’t want to see it in real time when Claire’s saying, “Bring me the baby. Bring me the baby.” I want to show that she’s closed down and she’s angry at Jamie to the point of hatred of him and she won’t forgive him, and then when he comes back and she is forgiving him, I wanted it to remind the viewers and go, “This is why she’s been so angry,” because even finding out the reason that he did it, which is that Black Jack had attacked Fergus, when she’s telling Jamie the story of what happened, I knew I wanted to flash back to that moment. And I knew I wanted to give that moment to Louise, because she’d been such a frivolous character, a gossipy Paris woman, but she’s really Claire’s only friend there besides Master Raymond, her only woman friend, and because Claire had helped her. When Louise had the dilemma and was pregnant and wondering about her baby, Claire was there for her and said, “I’ll do either one. I’ll help you rid yourself of this baby if that’s what you really want, but if you want to keep it I’ll help you do that, too.”
And so I wanted the friendship of the women, just like the witch trial had with Claire and Geillis; I was very interested in portraying women’s friendships and this is already a love story, we already have plenty of Jamie and Claire, and strong men in Scotland and Dougal and Angus and Rupert. I always want to have more women characters and I wanted this to be a moment with her and Louise, so instead of Louise bringing her to Fontainbleau, I gave that moment to Louise where she’s the one that comes and takes the baby from Claire. I always knew that from the beginning that I wanted that to be the scene.
Vulture: Outlander‘s Caitriona Balfe on Claire’s Devastating Grief
Even though she was pregnant during the first half of the season, do you think Claire had more agency?
It’s an interesting shift. Last season, I feel like Claire was very reactionary, and all of these events were sort of coming at her fast and swift. She didn’t really have time to absorb any of the events, really. She would get captured, and then they would be on their way somewhere, and then something else would happen. It was all very fight or flight. Survival.
But this season, she was experiencing a huge life change, being pregnant for the first time. And in French society, she almost had less freedom than she had in Scotland, because of the role that women are supposed to play. The first few episodes, she was relegated to drawing rooms and apartments, and you could feel her frustration building. It was quite a suffocating thing to do, even as an actress! But that was great for the internal journey of Claire, because she was dealing with a lot of things in private, and she knew she had to keep them to herself, because Jamie was still suffering so much from the events of the end of last season. And in a way, because she wasn’t quite the outsider in France the way she was in Scotland, she learned she had even more freedom and agency.
Zap2It: ‘Outlander’s’ Caitriona Balfe ‘tears you to pieces’ in ‘Faith’
Zap2it: Let’s talk about the opening scene — young Brianna in 1954 is going to throw everybody for a loop, bookreaders and non-bookreaders alike. Can you talk about the choice to include that now in the series?
Toni Graphia: That scene was added kind of late in the game because the books actually start five days after Claire lost the baby and we never get to see her come into the hospital and Mother Hildegarde tell her the baby has died. And I thought we can’t skip over that, we definitely want to see the moment Mother Hildegarde has to break the news to her, that’s a heartbreaking moment.
So that was what my original draft was, but [executive producer Ron Moore] always had the idea that a couple times during the season he wanted to touch base with where Claire’s life was at in that era, in the ’50s and ’60s. He said this is the perfect place for it because we can show her with Brianna.
This is a flash-forward. Claire is actually remembering losing her first child, is how it’s set up. I liked it on the emotional level that you see what she’s lost. You see this beautiful red-haired girl and you realize this is what she could have had. It doesn’t matter that she’ll have one later, this is what she’s losing here. So I hope people will respond well to it.
The scene where Master Raymond heals Claire was less supernatural than I pictured when reading the books. Was that a conscious choice?
The healing scene was definitely a choice to make it more grounded. It’s one of my favorite things in the book — it’s very ethereal and mystical in the book. You imagine it with your mind and it says the room is glowing blue and on the page, your mind can fill it in. But on TV, all those things would have had to be special effects and they were at risk of looking cheesy instead of something that should be more beautiful and organic.
Inspired by Diana’s descriptions in the book about the blue color, Raymond says blue is the color of healing, that’s how I came up with the blue heron because I wanted to show it in an organic way so it won’t look silly but keep the same feeling as was in the book … He’s a magical character and they have a magical connection, so we didn’t want it to be too grounded, but we also didn’t want it to be where people are like, “Oh, c’mon!” So we hope we struck a balance.