James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, welcome to the promised land.
This week’s Outlander saw the marriage of Sam Heughan’s character to Caitriona Balfe’s Claire, an event quickly followed by young Mr. Fraser’s losing his virginity to his time-traveling wife.
We couldn’t let such a momentous event pass without somehow marking the occasion, so without further preamble, here are Heughan’s thoughts on the prosthetics, preparation and politics involved in the Starz drama’s latest hour.
TVLINE | The fans have made the wedding night into this big romantic thing — and it is — but what’s easy to forget is that it’s also comical. At first, Jamie doesn’t know what he’s doing.
HEUGHAN | [Laughs] Yeah.
TVLINE | Was there pressure on you to deliver this scene that fans of the book had been envisioning for years?
We were very aware, not only of the wedding night but all the way through the books, there are pivotal, key moments that the fans definitely want to see. This was definitely one of them. I guess I was a little nervous. But it always seems to be that when we get down to rehearsing it or talking about it, the sooner you immerse yourself in the characters and where they’re at, the pressure goes because you just have to be honest in that situation. That situation is that this is new for Jamie and for Claire, as well. It was great to be working with Cait. She’s fun, and she’s very relaxed. We were there for each other, so we sort of got through it together.
TVLINE | You’re naked a lot in this episode.
TVLINE | I’m wondering how naked you actually were while shooting.
Well, I mean, you probably see a lot, don’t you? I think I’ll leave it to your imagination.
TVLINE | The prosthetics on your back must take forever to put on.
It’s something you forget. You read a scene and you think, oh, this is cool. I’ve got to take my clothes off, that’s fine. But not only do I have to do all that, I’ve got to go into prosthetics. It’s about two hours – it started off about three hours. The makeup team is fantastic. They work so hard and so fast. But then it constantly needs touching up and makeup and obviously, rolling around on it and lying on it can really damage it, so it’s kind of all day that you’ve got this on. It can be quite difficult because you can’t really sit down in it without damaging it. So we’re lucky. We’ve got such an amazing makeup and prosthetics team. I think it looks wonderful.
TVLINE | What kind of conversations did you have about the episode before you started filming?
Diana [Gabaldon, author of the novels on which the series is based ] has been there for us from the very start. I don’t think she specifically gave us anything for that episode. She’s given us a lot of freedom to play the characters how we feel. She’s always there if we’ve got any questions and occasionally she’ll pitch in with something. I know she watches the rushes each day. Sometimes we’ll film something one day and the next morning, I’ll have a comment from her in my inbox…. Hopefully she likes what we’re doing.
With regard to the directing, we were very lucky. We don’t always get to rehearse scenes, but I think all of the producers and writers were very aware that this is difficult subject matter that can be difficult to film. So we were lucky we got a bit of rehearsal for this one, a couple of days for myself, Caitriona and the director and also the writers, as well. We looked at the script. You try and work out, almost kind of technically how it works, where you position your body and where we go and how the viewer will see it. I think it’s a very sexy episode but actually, do you see a lot? I don’t think you see an awful lot, the way it’s lit and the way it’s shot, it’s very sensual. That’s definitely more sexy maybe than exposing everything. So yeah, there are a lot of choices to be made, and I’m really pleased at how it came out.
TVLINE | I’d argue that the sexiest thing about the episode is the respect Jamie pays to Claire and the concern he has for her, which we’ve seen isn’t typical of the men he spends time with.
To the best of his ability, he’s playing a part and he’s playing the husband and continues to do that in later episodes. He doesn’t really know. He’s doing what he thinks is expected of him, and at times he maybe does things he doesn’t even believe is right. For instance, not going too far ahead, when he has to punish her, or later on, when he’s trying to be the laird of the household, he’s just doing what he’s learned and what the time and the place is. Whether he agrees with it or not is something different… I love those moments when we flash back to the Highlanders all sort of having a part and helping get all the things for the wedding like the dress and the ring. I think they’re wonderful details.
TVLINE | Dougal makes an overture toward Claire at the end of the episode that shows he’s still someone they’ll have to deal with.
Dougal is always playing politics and out to do things for himself. We saw in Episode 5, “Rent,” that he’s working toward restoring the Jacobite Prince Charlie back to the throne. There’s all sorts of politics within countries and all that, but there’s also the politics within the family here. And Jamie and Dougal have a backstory and a history.
It gets more and more twisted and difficult. Obviously, by marrying Jamie to Claire, Dougal is kind of controlling Jamie, and Jamie is less of a threat to become the next chief of the MacKenzies. But he unwittingly pairs Jamie and Claire together, and they become a really strong team.
Press PLAY on the video below for a clip of Jamie and Claire’s wedding night — then hit the comments with your thoughts about the episode!