Caitriona Balfe is stunningly beautiful. Sipping her tea she playfully talks about the second half of Season 1 of Outlander, returning to Starz on Saturday, April 4 at 9pmET. Looking far younger in person than as the head-strong Claire Randall she plays onscreen, Balfe laughs when I ask her if her character Claire is ever going to be able to listen to Jamie (costar Sam Heughan).
“Nope. Never. No. She’s a very head-strong woman. We know this,” Balfe says. “I don’t think that will ever change because that’s something that he loves about her. I do think that she’s beginning to realize how dangerous the world that she’s in now is. We’ll see her learn, she’ll definitely learn from these experiences, but will she change the fundamentals of who she is? No.”
Good, because that’s what millions of viewers (and readers of Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novels) love about that feisty Claire. When we last left her, she had defied Jamie’s wishes, putting both of their lives in danger.
“I think what we learn about how their marriage works is that even though they can’t accept some of the things that each other have done, that they can learn how to understand where they’re coming from and that that’s how then they can finally move past it,” Balfe says. Later adding without giving away spoilers, “I think this is two people who really love each other. No matter what they’ve been through and how they’ve hurt each other, at the very core, they know who that other person is.”
The second half of the season definitely gets darker as they both face traumas they never could have imagined. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore actually describes it best saying, “the show becomes more complicated and the emotional journey more wrenching,” yet viewers will find comedic moments and lighter tales mixed within these next eight episodes.
After wrapping Season 1 last year, Balfe said she enjoyed the hiatus but missed everyone. “We went back for a pick up in the beginning of December and it was just so great to see the whole crew. It was sort of a smaller crew obviously. It’s just so great to see everyone. Sam and I, whenever we can, we see each other. We’ll go out for some sushi. Unfortunately Tobias couldn’t be here [in Pasadena for the press junket] because he’s doing a play in London. We’re all scattered to the four winds. You sort of keep up via Twitter and things, but it’ll just be great to see all the cast and the crew.”
Season 2 begins filming in April. “We’re going to start French lessons soon,” she tells. “I speak a little bit of French but I’m going to have to polish up on that. There’s just so many great things coming in this second season. I’m excited.”
In addition to the recent press junket, Balfe did spend time with Heughan at the People’s Choice Awards in January where Outlander won for favorite sci-fi/fantasy TV show. “I think we’re still all a little in shock. It’s the fact that we’ve just done a half season. These fans predominantly were fans of Diana’s books. The fact that they got behind the show and they’re so passionate and they’re so generous with their time. They’re so generous in they’ve raised so much money for all the charities that different ones of us support. I don’t know, it’s just mental. It really is. I’m trying to be very nice and poised about it, but really inside I’m like, this is insane. It just feels amazing. As an actor you first of all want to get a job. You just want to work. You want to be able to do your craft. Then to get on something that, first of all people love or that these fans love, and then that they’re so great. I don’t know, it’s brilliant.”