Outlander author Diana Gabaldon on the scene that made Sam Heughan gag
The droughtlander has begun, but Tuesday night offered a brief respite to a select group of fans hungry for more Claire and Jamie.
In anticipation of the April 10 release of the Outlander season 3 Blu-ray and DVD, Sony Home Entertainment hosted an Outlander panel offering a sneak peek at exclusive content featured on the Collector’s Edition, as well as a conversation with author Diana Gabaldon and co-showrunner/executive producer Toni Graphia, hosted by EW.
In addition to tantalizing glimpses of deleted scenes, featurettes, and a gag reel, the evening also included juicy tidbits, including the news that Diana Gabaldon will not be making a cameo in the upcoming fourth season (though she doesn’t rule it out completely beyond that) and the possibility that future seasons could break up the books. “The plan was always to do a book a season, but I wouldn’t rule it out that we wouldn’t at some point pull from a future book into the current season or just split it up in a different way,” said Graphia.
Here are 6 tidbits to keep you warm under your kilt on those cold, Outlander-less nights.
They shot a bonus scene exclusively for the Blu-ray/DVD
EW debuted a clip Tuesday from an exclusive bonus scene featuring the marriage proposal between Lord John Grey (David Berry) and Lady Isobel Dunsany (Tanya Reynolds). Graphia revealed that the scene was commissioned specifically for fans buying the series to re-watch at home. “This was conceived actually after the episode,” she explained. “It wouldn’t have been part of the episode; it’s kind of off plot. But it was something that intrigued us. So when Sony asked us to do something specially for the fans, we were like ‘What would people really want to see?’ We looked at that episode and went ‘How did those two get together?’ How did that happen – the proposal? We love those two actors, and were like, let’s see the two of them together because we think it will be magic, and it was.”
Graphia said that with so much material in the books, it’s rare they decide to envision something Gabaldon didn’t already write on the page. “It’s hard to get everything in the book in the show, but occasionally or quite often, which is a credit to Diana, there’s other little paths we find ourselves wanting to wander down and go, ‘God, I want to see that.'” That was the case with this scene — though Gabaldon added that fans will get to see her take on it in the fourth Lord John Grey novel. And if you loved this bonus scene, there’s plenty more where it came from — Graphia told fans they’re planning to do even more exclusive scenes of this nature in the fourth season.
They added a scene to Episode 7 when it came in short
It likely seems impossible the Outlander creators could ever need to add additional material to an episode with such thick books to draw upon, but it happened this season. The runtime for the seventh episode, “Creme de Menthe,” came in short after the first cut. “We ended up actually shooting something, a scene that had been in the original draft that had been cut when they thought the script was too long, but when they [edited the footage], came in short,” explained Graphia. “We went back and picked it up, and we actually had to shoot it in South Africa. We’d already left [Scotland]. It’s the one where Fergus and young Ian are selling the barrels of alcohol to a guy before they go to a bar and celebrate where young Ian meets the girl and all. And we shot that in some alleyway in South Africa.” Gabaldon also noted the idea to hide a dead body in a cask of alcohol, a plot line that features in that episode, came from actual historical research she encountered. “There was a bit where somebody had died on a ship and they preserved his body by putting him in a barrel of spirits. And I thought, ‘Oh, I might use that,'” she explained.
Diana Gabaldon gets a copy of every script and watches cuts closely
Gabaldon is credited as a consultant on the show, and both she and Graphia describe her relationship with the team as a very collaborative one. “They send me the outlines of the scripts, they send me the scripts as they’re written, and the revisions each script goes through, 6, 7, 8, even more revisions before it’s filmed,” she said. “The main cuts are made during the editing process, which means I won’t see them until they send me the first cut. Usually I’ll see three cuts of each episode, so if there’s something I’ve seen in the dailies I thought was really important for one reason or another, I’ll send them a note and say maybe don’t change this particular thing and this is why. To me it’s like watching a kaleidoscope, the pieces shift periodically.” Gabaldon said she generally only asks for changes for two reasons: if it will affect the plot further down the line in a different season, or if she’s calling out historical, technical details. “There was a particular scene in one of the season 4 scripts that I wrote back and said, ‘This will come as a big surprise to the people reading book 9.’ They changed it,” she explained. “I approach the scripts and the effort they put into them with great respect because I am a writer,” she added. “I know how much work this takes. And I also appreciate the fact that they’re coming from a completely different place than I am. They don’t have anything like the scope, the time, the leisure to put something together, they’re very constricted. And also they’re not writing from my background, which is long and various. It’s very much a give and take. This is a collaborative process, and I’m honored to be a small part of it.”
Jamie’s seasick vomit was made from egg whites
Gabaldon happened to be visiting the set the day Sam Heughan filmed Jamie’s seasick scenes. She had come to say goodbye and found Heughan in a small room alone, looking disheveled and asked him what he’d been up to. “He said, ‘I’ve been throwing up in a bucket all morning and now I think I’m really going to be sick,'” she recounted. Heughan told her the vomit was made from egg whites, and he said, “They flavored it, they put green dye in it, and it was terrible.’ He said it made him gag.”
The ships for the ocean scenes were shot in a parking lot
It took a lot of movie magic to create the shipboard scenes that close out the season, much more, in fact than Graphia anticipated. “We were so excited about seeing the ships,” she said of the writing staff. “During lunch one day we watched an episode of Black Sails, because we knew we were borrowing their ships, and we watched this incredible hurricane episode and we were just blown away and were like, ‘Oh my god, the show’s going to look like that, it’s going to be great.’ And then when we saw the first pictures our crew sent over, it was just these big old wooden jalopies in a parking lot. They weren’t in the water. I’ve been doing this a long time and I know there’s movie magic, but I guess a part of me was like, ‘They’re going to be on the ocean.’ I saw them and was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right they don’t actually go on the water.’ But it had to be in a parking lot? I thought they’d at least be on sand. They had cars parked all around them, and it was very hard to imagine how our set was ever going to look like what we just saw on Black Sails.” Though, as Graphia and fans now know, the final result exceeded what she’d imagined.
Sam Heughan objected to one of Jamie’s lines
Filming the storm and shipwreck scenes were difficult for all cast and crew involved. Gabaldon recounted seeing dailies where Caitriona Balfe’s face accidentally got shoved into a piece of floating wood while filming. But the biggest hurdle was getting Heughan, who is rightfully possessive of his character, to say a line in the shipwreck scene as it was written in the book. He is trying to save a drowning Claire while the ship goes down around them. “[Executive producer/writer/director Matthew Roberts] told me that during that particular scene, Sam didn’t want to actually say the line, which is from the book and Matt put it in the episode too. ‘Sassenach, if you die on me now, I’ll kill you,'” said Gabaldon. “They were in the pool and Sam kept saying, ‘No, I don’t want to say that.’ And Matt’s going, ‘You have to say it.'”
Outlander Season 3 will be available on DVD/Blu-ray beginning April 10.