Outlander: How Sam Heughan avoided making Sunday's episode 'melodramatic'
The actor disagreed with an action line in the script -- so he changed it
Outlander‘s Sam Heughan is never one to openly disagree with the creative direction of the series, but he did publicly take issue with a moment in Sunday’s “A. Malcolm” when he was expected to break down over news of his daughter, Brianna.
In a tweet Tuesday with fans, the Outlander writers were asked why Heughan didn’t follow a script directive to “completely fall apart” and “drop in Claire’s arms” after seeing photographs of his daughter for the first time. The fan managed to obtain a draft of the script, which led to the question about Sunday’s much-anticipated reunion in the print shop.
In the episode, Heughan’s reaction to seeing images of his daughter was far more subdued and tear-free. That’s the way the actor preferred to portray the moment, lest it become too “melodramatic.”
“I use action lines as guide only,” the actor tweeted in response. “‘Falling apart’ doesn’t have to mean tears, can be internal. Was my creative choice. Plus felt melodramatic.” He went on to tweet that, “Jamie hasn’t met Bree. Has had relationship with Willie [the son introduced in a previous episode]. Plus wonder at situation, new tech, never seen B etc.Way was written felt stalled scene.”
It would seem the scribes who maintain the Outlander Writers twitter account, not to mention several fans of Diana Gabaldon’s books, would have preferred that he had stuck to the script. In “Voyager,” Gabaldon’s third book on which the season is based, Jamie is unrestrained in his reaction to the Brianna images.
“It’s our intention that all action lines are filmed,” the writers tweeted. “We’re disappointed this one wasn’t.” The writers promised to address it more in their weekly Outlander podcast, out later this week.
Ultimately, many fans sided with Heughan, saying the scene “played out perfectly” and how it’s “good to get a different perspective.” By Wednesday morning, the writers felt the need to clarify how they ultimately felt about Heughan’s interpretation.
Not every part of the ongoing twitter discussion about Sunday’s episode came with a certain level of discord. At one point, Caitriona Balfe tried to inject a little levity to the discussion.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.