Claire finds her inner Merida
We’ve already seen Jamie Fraser’s moment in discovering his journey. But now we get to hear from Claire Randall/Beachamp/Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) talk about finding herself and who she was meant to be in this latest Outlander promo.
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Also, in a recent interview, Caitriona also talks about that sex scene and the Wedding and why it’s such a popular moment in the series:
What initially drew you to the role of Claire?
She felt like a very modern woman. She’s very intelligent, very strong, and has found herself in a place where she constantly has to fight to be who she is. It’s such a crazy concept for her not to stand up and fight for what she believes is right and just. She never sees herself as a victim and uses whatever she has at her disposal to get through adverse times.
How do you relate to Claire?
I am completely confident that I would not be able to go through so much and then get up and brush it off like she does. But I definitely think that her competency has shown me how strong I am. You know, I might be accused of being headstrong like her from time to time. I also like how she isn’t pious. She likes to get dirty, have a drink. And sexuality is a big part of her life.
Do you think some of her appeal is fueled by the feminist awakening going on right now?
Claire falls in love and gets married, but she is very uncomfortable with the idea of sitting back and being a wife. She still has her passions and her vocation of being a healer. I think women today are really struggling with these dual roles: How do you have a full-time career and be ambitious and still take care of your family? We’re having so many conversations about these same issues today.
And then there’s how the show portrays sex, with a women’s perspective in mind.
Exactly. It’s not just about women as objects. So often women are there just to be looked at and be objectified for the titillation of the male audience. We turn that on its head—without, hopefully, objectifying [men] too much—but I think it’s nice to see the female side of it. I got a letter from a fan who was writing on behalf of her 82-year-old mother and she was saying how much her mum loved it, even ‘the naughty bits.’ I think, for so long, women, especially the older generation, weren’t allowed to express that part of ourselves. It’s wonderful that we are now able to do it.
What was it like to film “The Wedding,” which was pretty much the hottest episode on television last year?
By that point, Sam and I had been working together for eight months, so we’d built up a friendship. We all talked a lot about it beforehand and rehearsed every detail to make it as honest as possible. We really tried to show how there was an attraction there, but there was so much going on with [Claire], so lots of conflict too. She wasn’t ready to jump in bed with this person, so we had to slowly break down the barriers of guilt to show the love. The great thing about our writing team is that whenever we rehearse a scene, they are so open to anything Sam and I have to offer. There was a lot of, ‘Well, you know, I don’t know if she would say or do this and she might wait a little before this.’ There was a lot of conversation and willingness on their part to work on things. I think that openness really does wonders for our show.
Besides the, um, sex scenes, what else do we have to look forward to in the rest of season one?
It’s now about making a marriage work, which is quite interesting. Many stories end with a marriage, but this one happens very early on. I think up until this point Claire has had a very singular journey and mission: She wants to get back home. But now she has to contend with the reality of staying, and I think it is quite jarring for her. It really tests her relationship with Jamie. These problems ultimately end up strengthening their bond, but it’s not an easy road.