Droughtlander is almost over!
The stars and the creative team behind one of television’s sexiest and most compelling dramas, Starz’s time-travel epic Outlander, hung up their kilts and corsets for a trip to Hollywood to celebrate the first season with a Dolby Theatre filled with enthusiastic fans on Thursday.
With three weeks left to go before the final eight episodes of the season air, PaleyFest-goers were in for an early treat with a special screening of the return. But we won’t spoil the episode for those of you who weren’t there to see it – and believe us, it’s sexy and bold.
What we did take away from an hour spent with the exquisite Caitriona Balfe, the charming Sam Heughan, the handsome Tobias Menzies, along with the keeper of Outlander secrets Ron Moore and Diana Gabaldon, was that they are just perfect together. Here’s why!
1. They’re game for anything
You know you’re in for a treat when the evening begins with a “Scottish” drinking game, “Ne’er Have I E’er.” Meant solely to liquor the cast and producers up, it was clear early on that Balfe – who plays the main heroine Claire – can hold her own with the guys. After a few sips of hard whiskey, Heughan – who portrays Claire’s love interest Jamie – was in on the ruse, much to the amusement of the crowd. “I get your plan here,” he said to laughter after he downed another drink. Another highlight of the evening that could have gone south was the impromptu “Newlywed Game” that revealed just how close Balfe, Heughan and Menzies really are off-screen.
2. They admit they get the giggles, especially during sex scenes
Outlander isn’t shy about showing realistic sex, but that doesn’t mean the stars don’t get a case of the giggles during filming. When asked if they’d ever laughed doing intimate love scenes – and there are a lot in the episodes back – Balfe exclaimed, “Oh come on!” before clinking glasses with her regular scene partner Heughan, who in turn clinked glasses with Menzies (Frank and Black Jack). Is there something we should know about Jamie and Black Jack?!
3. They aren’t afraid to go to “harrowing places”
While the first eight episodes certainly helped establish the characters and the expansive world, the second half of the season goes to “some harrowing places,” Moore hinted. While many in the crowd had already read the first book, Moore said those who haven’t “will be surprised by the direction it takes” as they head toward the finale. “I’m very proud of the way we realized it,” he said of the finale. “[The actors] were fearless on stage and it comes through on the show. The finale is – it’s a weird word to use – a satisfying ending. There’s a completion to what we’re doing, a culmination [of events]. Fill in the double entendre there. It’ll take you to unexpected places which is what great stories do.”
4. They admit when they’re wrong
Gabaldon revealed that in an early cut of an early season one scene when Claire is tending to Jamie by the fire that one beloved Jamie line from the books wasn’t included, “You need not be scared of me, nor anyone else here, as long as I’m with you.” After telling Moore that the fans “will miss that,” he went ahead and put it back into the scene. Whew.
5. They love the double entendre
Sex was a common theme throughout the evening, and in one moment during the “Newlywed Game,” Heughan tasked Menzies to “rub mine out” – referencing the white board he was using to write his answers. Of course, the crowd – and Balfe – took it to mean something else. “Spoiler!”
6. They aren’t shy about wanting to stick to the books
“The plan is always to stick as close as possible to the books,” Moore said to cheers. “That’s the plan for the first season. That’s the plan as we approach the second season.” That’s not to say though that the writers may deviate at some point – though don’t expect them to rewrite the canon. “At a certain point, what you’re doing onscreen obligates you to continue taking those characters’ [arcs] in certain ways.”
Watch the full Outlander panel below.
Outlander returns April 4 on Starz.