- Outlander -'Outlander' Stars Caitríona Balfe & Sam Heughan On What Playing Claire & Jamie Has Meant To Them
After six seasons and eight-plus years, it's understandable to get nostalgic about a project. In an interview ahead of the world premiere of Outlander Season 6, Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan discussed what the roles of Claire and Jamie have meant to them. The pair have shared how life-changing it was to be cast in the Starz show many times before with their careers taking off since then. But even though they have both been involved in other projects outside of the TV series, it didn't seem in a Zoom call with reporters that Heughan and Balfe are done with Outlander... at least just yet.
When asked by a journalist how long they've been playing James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser and Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser and if these characters ever bleed into their own lives, Heughan brought up the end of Outlander (something he's occasionally done before).
"I don't know when the finish will be of it, but I'm starting to realize that without it, it will be quite a shock," he said. "I think we've been in it for so many years it just feels like this is what we do, right? And so then when, for instance, Caitríona goes off and does another job, or I do as well, you start to see the world outside of Outlander."
Before you start jumping to the conclusion that his statements must mean Season 7 will be the last, he made sure to articulate how appreciative he has been — and still is – for the role. "It's interesting to look back at it and realize what we've got and how lucky we are, how incredible the show is and how good the cast and the crew are," he said. "It's been an amazing journey. And I just guess when we don't have it anymore, then it is going to be quite a shock to the system."
Balfe also spoke a bit about the end of Outlander — but like her costar, she acknowledged that they are very much still in the show... after all, they haven't even begun to film Season 7 yet. "I think we've grown and we've matured as these characters have and maybe it won't be until we get to look back that we see the extent of what that's given us," Balfe said. "I think hindsight will be much more illuminating than when we're still in it."
Both actors also spoke about enjoying the experience of having characters who grow and evolve each season.
"I feel very grateful," Balfe said. "I was really surprised by Claire last season. I feel like I got to explore her in a completely different way than she's ever been explored before. And I don't think that is something that you always get being on a long-running show, to be challenged and to be surprised by your character sort of every season really."
Heughan had a similar feeling about playing Jamie. "He's been so many characters in a certain way, he's had so many different lives," he said. "It's every season, every episode, there's always a challenge. So this season isn't any exception to that."
Despite all their positive feelings for the roles, they certainly don't think they're morphing into their onscreen counterparts.
"I don't think I'm turning into Jamie," Heughan said. "I think earlier, I couldn't even remember my son's name. So clearly I haven't." (For the record, Heughan — it's William.)
Meanwhile, Balfe was a bit more reflective on the inherent similarities the actors might share with the time traveler and 18th-century Highlander. "I think obviously Sam and I were cast because we have something within us that mirrors or speaks to these characters. So I think, if there is any overlap, that's probably just whatever that's naturally within us."
"I think the beauty of doing something that is a period piece and has these sort of sci-fi elements, there's not so much of that you can bring into your normal everyday life," Balfe added. "Unless Sam decides to run down the road with a big sword one day, which could happen."
In fact, it kind of has already happened with Heughan's Outlander spinoff, Men in Kilts. So, for now, it seems Balfe and Heughan aren't ready to leave their Outlander parts in the past.