SDCC Interview – Caitriona Balfe – Outlander

The MacGuffin: How is it working with Dominique Pinon, Master Raymond, because that is very much a counterpart to Claire in France?

Caitriona : Very much so. I liken it to when she first met Geillis (Lotte Verbeek).  It’s again this person she has a like-minded…they have a like-minded interest in herbs and healing. It is the first friend she meets in Paris.  He (Pinon) is an absolute joy. I’m a big fan of his work from before and when I heard they cast him, I was kind of like astounded. It’s like, “Wow! We got Dominique Pinon?” He is such a joy at work. He’s such a real, unique, fantastic character, and he plays him so brilliantly. It’s fantastic.

Q: You have been getting a lot of well deserved, great notice for your performance in Outlander. What has this done for your career in general? Are you getting more calls, more opportunities?

Caitriona: I get calls, and I’m like, “Well, I am kind of busy.”  It’s been fantastic of course. It has opened so many doors for me. I was lucky. I got to do a great film during the hiatus, and hopefully during the next hiatus I will get to do something else as well, but we shoot for a very long time, so it is limited time in between, but as an actor first and foremost, I just want to work. And then to be able to get a job that you love is amazing and that people respond to and they like is just…I could not be happier and more grateful.

Caitriona Balfe TV Still 1

Q: Can you talk a little about the evolution of Jamie and Claire’s relationship and how she approaches it now?

Caitriona: When we meet them at the top of the season, he’s still struggling with what happens at the end of last season. We really wanted this to be a continuation. It’s not a reset. You see two people very much still affected by everything that has happened, and I think Claire really has to put aside maybe some of her own issues at the moment to really get past what happened and heal. And part of that is giving him a mission, giving him something to focus on that’s not looking back on what happened. They are going through a very uncertain time. They are struggling with their own issues and maybe sometimes privately which has creating somewhat of a gulf between them, but ultimately they are there for each other and they are working to try and help each other. You see continuously with anything in life, adversity and getting past adversity will make you stronger, and that is a beautiful thing about this couple.

Caitriona Balfe TV Still 2

Q:  How do those incredible costumes help you get into Claire’s skin?

Caitriona: It does. It changes everything. The minute you put on a corset, it changes how you sit, how you breathe, how you feel, and Claire’s discomfort in this new world and in all this finery, it mirrors what you are going through. The costumes are so beautiful and it makes you feel like you are in a different place. Whereas before, I love a pocket. Before Claire, from the 1940s, I was like “Claire likes her pockets!” In the eighteenth century, women had pockets in their skirts, so there were a lot of pockets and you could trench around the fields and all that. There is none of that. It is pristine satins and silks, the most exquisite stuff, but it is just a very different…you have to carry yourself differently and it really does inform it all.

The MacGuffin: Since you say it affects how you play the character, do you guys rehearse in the costumes?

Caitriona: This year, because it takes so long to get dressed, usually I get half-ready for rehearsal. We will come in, block the scene, and do rehearsal, so I will usually just have the underwear as they call it because that is already three layers: the corset, the bum roll, the cage … if there is a cage because of the dimensions because that is also a big thing, you can’t really move around.  “I would like you to just stand together.” “Yeah, but I am this wide.” It does affect things, so yeah.

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