“If I had any idea of all you (fans) out there, I might not have shown up first day on set,” joked Caitriona Balfe at the Paley Fest Outlander panel Thursday night at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood.
Entering along the same walkway that is covered by red carpet every Oscars night, I couldn’t help but notice the police presence as officers lined the centre of Hollywood Boulevard in protection of Barrack Obama, taping his visit to Jimmy Fallon at one of the theaters across the street.
*click on photos to see larger*
“Droughtlander” ended for those in attendance as Episode 109, “The Reckoning”, premiere segment to be aired upon the April 4th return-to-cable (Starz) TV series based on the immensely popular international smash novels by author Diana Gabaldon filled the screen.
Nearly bringing the house down, hero Jamie Fraser, implored villainous Black Jack Randall to “take your hands off my wife” whilst pointing a flintlock pistol directly at his nemesis, the lecherous English officer. Anyone who has read the first in the series of Outlander books knows what is to happen next, but that did not dilute the glee of the audience as the scene unfolded. No spoilers…
“E” ‘s Kristin Dos Santos moderated the evening. She passed around scotch to the entire panel, asking them True or False, “I have never” questions, followed by a focus on Cait and Sam with white boards as they answered “What was your favorite…” series of queries. Everyone had to drink if they answered in the affirmative. All in good fun, bringing lots of laughter.
Executive producer, Ron Moore, first to take the stage, added the perspective of behind the camera. He praised the wedding episode’s female director for doing such an amazing job. (Referring to the authenticity of the wedding night sex, Moore said “When you do something truthful, it becomes the female poit of view.”) When an audience member echoed Patrcia Arquette’s feminine equality comment during her Oscar acceptance speech, shouting “Did she get equal pay?”, supportive laughter and applause filled the room.
Actors, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Tobias Menzies, (Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall) represented the cast. Author Diana Gabaldon rounded out the panel with her complimentary and authentic praise of the book-turned-television series that “the readers have waited twenty three years to see come to life”. The first of the series, “Outlander” was written as an experiment to see if “I could write a (fiction) book.”
“Will the show stray from the books?” was asked of Moore.
“The intent is to stay true to the story. That said, we have given Frank a broader part in the first half of the series, so that will continue.” Moore promised a boxed set of the complete season one by Christmas to include some of the podcasts he has done as insight into the ‘making-of”.
Tobias was asked how he makes his two characters so eerily different. Self deprecating to the end, he insisted that it was the writing, production and costumery that place his Jeckle and Hyde across time look alikes so apart. “I hope it is subtle.”
Sam admitted with pride to doing nearly all his own stunts.
He will run the LA Marathon this Sunday for his favorite charity. “Do you have an a** double?,” asked the moderator, tongue in cheek. Sam never did answer that, laughing it off as he sipped his scotch. Yes, Sam smelled of scotch and clean, but then so did the whole of the panel
Fans rushed the stage at the panel’s conclusion with a gracious, Sam and Cait signing many autographs.
The fan that wore a “Sassenach” tshirt, riding home on light rail afterwards, proudly showed off “SAM” scrawled in shaky capital black sharpie-pen letters on the fabric of her shoulder. “Isn’t it amazing?”
All images except Starz Poster, by C.London