SDCC Interview – Caitriona Balfe – Outlander
Caitriona Balfe plays the main character, Claire Randall Fraser, on the television show Outlander. I was able to interview her in a roundtable setting with other journalists at San Diego Comic Con about her work on the show. She began the interview pointing out how to spell her name with two I’s in reference to the ridiculous placecard they had to tote around with them to each table.
For the Outlander interviews, I represented both The MacGuffin and Outlander TV News.
[Spoiler Alert: This interview does discuss certain elements of the second season, so if you would prefer to stay spoiler-free, avoid reading this interview.]
Q: She is going to have an interesting journey in second season. Are you looking forward to taking this path with her?
Caitriona: Yes. I think Claire in season one was very reactionary, being thrust into this world and having one event after another just sort of happen to her. It wasn’t so much time for contemplation or really life was just sort of thrust upon her rather than figuring out what she wanted, and I think season two is different. First of all, you have … they make this decision to try and change the course of history and there is a lot of thinking about…I think the pregnancy has a lot to do with that. I think also trying to lift Jamie (Sam Heughan) out of sort of the effects of last season and give him a mission, give him something to sort of strive to do. You see her trying to create a world that she wants to live in. There is some incredible storylines and I am really excited to play them.
Q: Claire had a relatively unstructured upbringing with her uncle and the travel and everything. She had to adapt to eighteenth century Scotland. How does Claire feel about and handle the rules of the French Court and all the etiquette that comes with that?
Caitriona: It’s a huge adjustment for her, and in a way she had much more freedom in eighteenth century Scotland than she when she does when she first lands in Paris. I think finding her place in a very patriarchal society where the role of women is very restricted is very tough for her. It is not where she is most comfortable. What I love is that she manages to find an outlet for her independence, for her professionalism in a way. She meets Master Raymond, Mother Hildegard, which are two great characters that are coming in, played by the wonderful Dominique Pinon and Frances de la Tour. It’s tough. It’s really … both her and Jamie struggle in the beginning. They are very much in a place where it’s not their comfort zone, but they have to use their intelligence and their smart to figure out and navigate this new place. It’s interesting to see them inhabit a new world and how it affects them.
Q: For people who are not familiar with the book, can you tease a little about what to expect for the second season?
Caitriona: In the second season, you see Claire and Jamie arrive in France. They’ve made a decision to change the course of history if they can, so they want to stop the Jacobite Rising. Claire is also pregnant. A lot of it is dealing with the political intrigue, but also dealing in private with her own pregnancy and the insecurities that brings up, and the fear that brings up because she lost her parents when she was five, so she did not have this mother role model that she can really look back to or go to for guidance. It’s a real time for uncertainty for both of them, and then towards the second half of the season, you will see them return to Scotland, so in a way, it is a season of two halves again. It will be visually very different in the beginning.