Welcome to “RC,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television set, both before and behind the camera.
In today’s event, Variety’s professional editor of television Debra Birnbaum and Television set critic Sonia Saraiya talk to “Outlander” stars Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe as they discuss the character progression of Menzies’ Frank and Balfe’s Claire in the approaching third season of the Starz hit.
By the end of Season 2, Claire, who became pregnant by Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser after time visiting back to 1743 and dropping in love with him, went back to 1948 and reunited with her husband Frank. At the start of Season 3, the set struggle to progress after Claire’s infidelity.
“It’s some sort of exploration of deeply jeopardized, imperfect love, these two people who we’ve tried out to put the maximum amount of love and tenderness and compassion and goodwill shot through the whole relationship, but it’s a weird kind of disconnect and [their romance is] finally doomed,” Menzies said. “I mean, the major change is the appearance of the child at the end of occurrence one and I believe that, in different ways, effects both characters really strongly, and perhaps not in the way you’d entirely expect.”
Balfe added that it was important to the authors and actors to convey that Frank and Claire’s relationship wasn’t doomed right away.
“We really wanted to retain the simple fact that at a certain point, this was a happy and beneficial romantic relationship,” she explained. “That experienced Claire not experienced something that was so more deeply and touched her soul alternatively than just touched her center, she probably could’ve keep coming back and been very happy with Frank. For Frank, having learned of the betrayal, it’s hard to go past that. But at the same time, they’re two people who’ve a great deal of respect for each other, maybe not in the excited sense but in the platonic sense, it’s there.”
The couple also discussed the aging-up process for Frank and Claire, since Season 3 continues into the future, eventually arriving in 1968, with Claire now 50. “We advised it more through mental weight,” Menzies said. “It sort of just accrues and you will view it towards the end — being resigned — and that’s the way you see that they are older rather than groaning when they get right up from seats.”
Balfe concurred. “For Claire, she’s put this — which includes been such an enormous part of her personality — her sexuality has been completely shelved. In order that gives somebody a lttle bit of rigidity or hardness and that is more what I was seeking to explore somewhat than, does she have deeper crows foot around her eyes.”
Both Menzies and Balfe were quick to reassure people that the series will stay as true to the catalogs as it has been in the past. “The showrunners are extremely dedicated and focused on realizing the books in every their facets,” Menzies said. “The enthusiasts can trust that they are in very good hands, they keep a solid attention on that.”