‘The Making of Outlander’ – On Casting and Locations

Making of Outlander

On the day of The Making of Outlander‘s release, author Tara Bennett writes a bit about casting and locations for Outlander based on her research and interviews for the book.  She wrote this piece for Vanity Fair, so head over there to read the entire article.  Excerpts are below.

“We saw Sam and we really liked him,” Davis enthuses. The writers discussed his audition, which then prompted Davis and co-executive producer Ira Behr to book a Skype interview with Heughan. “We thought he was really good and we wanted to give him a little feedback about doing a scene. As soon as we got on the Skype call with him and I talked with him, I was like, ‘Oh my God, he is so charming,’” Davis laughs. “Sam is naturally very charming and in some ways has a lot of Jamie there.” Not long after, Heughan earned the title of first actor cast on Outlander.

Next came the alt-Randalls. Smith says she knew British theater and television actor Tobias Menzies very well from previous casting and asked him to audition. “He read a scene for Black Jack and he read a scene for Frank so [producers] could see the two sides to the characters,” Smith details. “The Black Jack scene was quite long, as it was the interrogation scene with Claire. He did it seamlessly.” Menzies was given some notes and a new scene to read for show-runner Ron Moore. “Ron met him, and we did a studio test with just him and some of the scenes. From that, he was chosen. It was very quick. Sometimes it’s like that.”

Producer Toni Graphia had seen pictures and video clips of Irish actress Caitriona Balfe online and, intrigued by her potential, flagged her audition tape for a second look. She was asked to do another self-tape, which Smith says made them decide to bring her in for a chemistry read with Heughan. When they first put the two actors together in a room, it was clear that the show had found its Jamie and Claire. Moore says Balfe was committed to her role from the start. “You could see she was in it,” he says, recalling the first day of filming. “Then in the scenes with Frank, there was a charm and fun to it. Then her running to the woods in the white shift. Then her scene with Jack Randall. With Cait, it was very apparent, very quickly, that this was going to work. She’s it,” he enthuses.

At various times, Eastern Europe and New Zealand were both in the running to simulate the Highlands, until Moore was able to persuade the network and studio to commit to filming in the wilds of Scotland.

“Being able to build an infrastructure for the show was really important,” [David] Brown says. Production began in an older warehouse complex near Glasgow that now features 200,000 square feet of soundstages, as well as workrooms for the costume, construction, and prop departments. “For Season 2, we built another two stages. So in the same time that we invented the show, we built the only studio in Scotland. And in terms of infrastructure, we’ve also employed over 800 different people. In a relatively small environment like Scotland, the show has an enormous impact.”

Source: Vanity Fair