Friday, July 31, 2015

Will Outlander Seasons Ever Come Out All at Once for Binge-Watching? Starz Boss Says...

Ask any Outlander fan and they'll tell you without hesitation that there's nothing worse than the #Droughtlander.
We're supposed to survive the many long months until next year without any new episodes of's only been two months since this show left our lives and we're already dying for more of Jamie (Sam Hueghan) and Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) epic love story.
And now that Starz has announced that two of its series, new gritty ballet dramaFlesh and Bone and returning series Da Vinci's Demons, will be released in full for binge-watching, we immediately wondered if the same would be true of Outlander!
Could you imagine getting a full season of Outlander all at once? Could we even handle all that sexy romance in one sitting?!


But Starz CEO Chris Albrecht killed all our hopes and dreams during the 2015 Summer TCA press tour.
"No, some of the problem with this, and this is really what happened with the first season of Outlander, is just these shows take so much time to produce," Albrecht says. "We did 16 episodes, and we just actually started shooting Outlander again. If we waited for all the episodes to be done, so that they were all available at the same time, we would have to delay the debut of the first episode quite significantly."
According to Albrecht, they're already pushing the time constraints as is without adding in the additional deadline of releasing every single episode at once.

Outlander, Sam Heughan, Caitriona BalfeStarz/Sony Pictures Television

"I was just in the [writers] room with Mike O'Malley from Survivor's Remorse, and he was like, ‘Hey! We just finished [episodes] nine and 10!' And I was like, ‘Great…just in time!'" Albrecht says with a laugh. "It's just a function of the complexity of the premium programming world, how long it takes to get these things finished."
So, OK, we won't ever get full new seasons of Outlander released all at the same time, but that means we'll get new episodes released one-by-one sooner. Hey, we'll take it!
Are you happy with that, or would you rather wait a little longer to get a full season of Outlander released all at once? Hit the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

NEWS/ Eonline Liam Neeson and Sean Connery Were Almost Cast in Outlander—

Everyone's new favorite TV obsession is Starz's Outlander, and it's not all that difficult to understand why.
Leading man Sam Heughan, who plays Scottish dreamboat Jamie Fraser, isn't really that hard to look at. (He doesn't completely offend our eyes or anything.) And his accent? Swoon!
But did you know that Jamie could've looked a lot different had Outlander been made into a movie a long time ago? That's right, we might never have discovered our new favorite Scottish import, since Liam Neeson and Sean Connery were almost considered as Outlander's leading men!

We went behind the scenes of Outlander to bring you 16 fascinating facts, including which movie stars were first in contention, precisely what the men wear under their kilts, whose job it is to rub oil on Sam Heughan (seriously!), and more more.

Author Diana Gabaldon showed up in the episode, "The Gathering" as Iona MacTavish, a wealthy merchant's wife. She said two lines in what she (accurately, probably) refers to as a "very correct Scottish accent." Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore also appeared in the same episode, but had no lines.

Despite the dreamy setting and lots of references to witchcraft, the story of Outlander is more scifi than fantasy. At PaleyFest, Gabaldon explained that the time travel is science fiction and not magic, and that she alone knows how it works. The characters have to figure it out as they go along, and apparently we do too. Aside from the time travel, the story is set entirely in the real world, based on real world history. That world history will especially come into play towards the end of the first season and throughout the second, as Jamie and Claire become deeply embroiled in Scottish politics.

Outlander has an interesting connection to the Sony hack, when emails were leaked that revealed that UK Prime Minister David Cameron met with some Sony execs to talk about delaying the show's release in the UK, due to its politics. The show deals with Scottish rebels fighting against British rule during the Jacobite risings in the 1700s, and in 2014, Scotland was voting on whether or not it should become an independent country from the United Kingdom. Cameron apparently wanted to delay the show's release until after the referendum in September, which makes sense given how very pro-Scotland and anti-England it is. The "no" side won with 55% of the vote, meaning Scotland will continue to be a part of the United Kingdom, and UK viewers can now watch the show on Amazon Prime.

They may be a lot of fun to watch, but sex scenes actually sound pretty terrible to shoot. Despite the fact that those scenes are on a closed set with a skeleton crew, that's still 8 or 9 people in the room, and actors have to get almost completely naked. The scenes in the show are also very specific and intricate because they're meant to convey something about the relationship between Jamie and Claire as opposed to just being gratuitous sex or soft-core porn, so you're basically doing a choreographed dance with another person while naked with a group of people watching...and filming.

Before having to film their sex scenes in the pilot, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies wrote each other letters as Frank and Claire to help create some intimacy between actors who had only just met. Despite the fact that we are firmly Team Jamie, that's definitely very adorable.

Most of the stars of the show are from the UK, where the show has only just started airing. That means they've recently had to start tackling the big question: Do they let their parents watch? Particularly for the three leads, family dinners could get a bit awkward after their parents have watched them enage in explicit sex and torture scenes on a weekly basis. At PaleyFest, Balfe revealed that she had heard from various sources that her dad had seen the show, but she got the news that he liked it secondhand from her sister since he refused to actually discuss it outright with Cait.

We asked Tobias Menzies if he would let his mother watch the show, and then we felt bad for making him feel uncomfortable: "Weirdly I hadn't really thought about that. I feel a bit odd. My tummy's doing a funny thing thinking of my mum watching it, so I think I might have to warn her. Yeah, you're right. I'm glad we had this conversation,"

"This was years ago when I was first approached about adapting Outlander, when it was a feature film," authorDiana Gabaldan tells us. "But Liam Neeson and Sean Connery were the first contenders for Jamie." Gabaldan admitted that when she was first approached with Sam Heughan as a possibility for Jamie in the new Starz series, she found him "grotesque," but now she thinks he's perfect. "People say, ‘Do [Sam and Catriona Balfe] look just like your imagination?'" Gabaldan muses, "And I'm like, ‘Well, how could they?' But they don't need to. What an actor does is magic."

Producer Ronald D. Moore admits that finding Sam Heughan for Jamie, and Catriona Balfe for Claire, did not go as expected. "At the outset, I told everyone that we would find Claire first and then Jamie would be the last one cast, and of course it was exactly the opposite," Moore tells us. "It was really hard to find Claire. Sam came in really early in the process and he was literally the first one we cast. We saw the tape and we were like, 'Oh my god, there he is. Let's snatch him up now.' And then Claire just took a long time. A lot of actresses, a lot of tape, looking for really ineffable qualities. She had to be smart, she had to have a strength of character, and really, she had to be someone that you could watch think on camera. But then suddenly Caitriona's tape came in and we had that same light-bulb moment.

The line that convinced Ronald D. Moore that Caitriona Balfe was "the one" was when she was testing with the scene from the pilot in which she's on a horse with Jamie, who's injured. She says, "Help, stop, he's going over" as Jamie is falling off the horse. "We heard that line so many times we wanted to cut it from the show," Moore told us, "but when Cat did it, we all just suddenly were engaged in the scene again, and we all just went, "oh my god, there she is, that's Claire."

When author Diana Gabaldon first saw pictures of Sam Heughan, she did not approve. As she said at PaleyFest, her first thought was "grotesque." Regardless of how positive she then tried to make that word sound, it's still not a word you would think when you read about how attractive Jamie Fraser is in the books. However, Gabaldon's mind was totally changed when she watched his screen test, and we now we're not sure we could point to anyone who doesn't think Heughan is absolutely perfect for the role.

This season we get to meet Jenny—Jamie's spunky younger sister who's currently in charge of the Fraser estate. She's played by Laura Donnelly, who happens to already have a history with Sam Heughan. They acted together in a 2014 movie called Heart of Lightness, about a group of British actors who follow their narcoleptic director to the Norwegian Arctic Circle to film a play before they're overwhelmed by tension among the cast and also the fact that the sun never sets. Constantine's Matt Ryan also appeared in the film! Unfortunately the movie was released in Norway and is not on Netflix or any other US streaming sites that we can find, which is a shame because it sounds intriguing.

You know how Catriona Balfe (Claire) looks jaw-droppingly radiant in every single scene, without, it seems, a single stitch of makeup? Well, we asked Outlander's makeup supervisor, Julie Kendrick, how we can copy that look, and apparently, all you have to do is get a time machine, go back, and be born of her mother and father! "Catriona is naturally beautiful and has lovely skin," Kendrick says. "That's always a help when as a make-up artist your canvas is a good one! If we were to give away all our trade secrets, then unfortunately, they are no longer secrets! What we can tell you is with the long shooting hours and not that much sleep, you can never drink enough water or have too much blusher." BRB, running to CVS.

The 34-year-old native Scotsman admits he was "desperate" to get cast on Outlander, in part because of executive producer Ronald D. Moore's work on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, and he even managed to get some time on the lunch break during his screen test to talk to Moore about Captain Kirk. Heughan is also obsessed with another little time travel franchise known as Back to the Future. "I think that is one of the best trilogies ever made," he told us, and Caitriona added, "Sam tries to talk about it every day, if he can."

As you'll see, Sam's back scars (from flogging) are shown pretty often. Which means he actually spends the most time out of anyone in the makeup chair. "Sam has the unfortunate task of having a prosthetic back applied every time his 'taps aff!' as the Scots would say," makeup supervisor Kendrick explains. (‘Taps off' means to take your top off in Glasgow, by the way.) "The whole process for Jamie's back scars and many other scars is 2 hours 30 mins and it takes three of us to do. There are two large prosthetic pieces to apply and some smaller ones, and every single section needs to be glued onto Sam's skin, blended and coloured up. However the upside of having scars on, is getting the scars off at the end of the shooting day, this takes roughly 45 mins with oils and lavender flannels, Sam usually enjoys this process!" Somehow we can't feel too sorry for the makeup artists either…

No Velcro, no zippers, not a lot of shoes, and kilts are worn as kilts are supposed to be worn – with absolutelynothing underneath. These are true Scots! What's not authentic are the effects of war and journeying through the highlands. To achieve the look of well-worn clothing, the costumes are attacked with cheese graters, burned with blow torches, and aged by tying them up with string and baking them.

"All of our actors wear their kilts just a bit differently from each other,"Outlander's costumer Terry Dresbachtells us. "They personalize them and make them very much their own. We are talking about 12 yards of fabric that has to be belted and tucked by each actor, and they have developed their own ways of wearing them that belongs very much to them. It is incredibly important that they FEEL like their character, and helping them to find that place is an essential part of our job."

"Sam/Jamie wears his with almost a long skirt hanging down the back that swings beautifully when he moves,"Outlander costumer Terry Dresbach says. Sam himself told us that he hates wearing trousers and finds kilts "liberating" and "freeing"…Especially while riding a horse. [See the video.] And now we forgot what we were saying.

Interesting extras

People in the Scottish Highlands didn't have much access to proper medical care of the time, so they relied, as Claire discovers, on some interesting local remedies. People were whipped with nettles to relieve aching joints. Cow's dung was used to clear scabs or blotches on the face. Epilepsy was treated by drinking water out of the skull of a person who had committed suicide, and yet a person with knowledge of germs and anesthetic might be suspected of witchcraft.


Get ready to learn a lot about Scottish politics in the 1700s! That may not sound exciting, but it is when you consider the fact that Claire is from a future where things don't go so well for the Highlanders she comes to call her friends (and more-than-friends). "I think it's a really interesting time that we're setting the show in," Heughan tells us, "the second or third Jacobite rebellion, the battle at Culloden, which was sort of the end of the Highland way of life, so they banned the use of Gaelic language and kilts and the playing of pipes, and all of that kind of culture, so it's kind of like a doomed race that we meet in the first series."

While Scottish dialect has had sort of a revival from being thought of as slang, Scottish Gaelic of the 1700s is very different from anything anyone speaks today. It was not easy for the actors to learn, especially since they had to get used to a whole new set of sounds and had to learn to loosen their throats. One Gaelic word you'll hear a lot on the show is "Sassenach," which means "outlander." It's supposed to be a slightly offensive term for someone out of place, but it also becomes Jamie's affectionate nickname for Claire.
Phantassie Setting: Preston Mill and its Outlander Fame


Outlander’s Claire and Jamie. Photo source – the National Trust for Scotland

Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot, which have been in the care of the NTS since 1950, have recently received an influx of new visitors and increased international attention due to their starring role in the hit TV drama series, Outlander, by author Diana Gabaldon. Lead characters Jamie, Jenny, and Claire can be seen in Episodes 112 and 113, playing out key scenes around the picturesque red-roofed buildings at the popular NTS location.

The critically acclaimed TV series, which was filmed entirely on location in Scotland, features the Category A listed Mill alongside several other iconic Scottish buildings selected to provide the backdrops for the popular fantasy time-travelling tale. In fact, the NTS has put together a handy ‘Discovering Outlander’ guide, which allows fans to travel in the footsteps of the show’s stars, Claire and Jamie. You can download this fantastic guide here.

NTS Property Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot in East Lothian.

Since hitting screens in 2014, Outlander has gathered a global fan base. So much so, that tour groups have flocked to the East Lothian region to visit the NTS Property, Preston Mill, for a chance to see – and have their picture taken – against the now famed backdrop featured in their favorite show! With its quaint red-tiled roofs and fast-running stream nearby, the Mill is instantly recognizable from its screen debut. Given the heightened publicity and audience reach, NTS staff members are simply delighted with the extremely positive impact and rejuvenation of foot traffic and general community buzz about Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot.

Given the 17th century Mill’s distinctive silhouette, it is unsurprising that it was chosen to star in some of Outlander’s most pivotal exterior scenes, including in the flash-forward 1940’s narrative. On screen, the mill becomes part of the Jamie’s family home – The Fraser Estate aka Lallybroch. A particularly memorable and tense moment occurs when an unclothed Jamie hides in the mill race (pond) from the Redcoats.

Having been approached by the local miller to help repair the broken Mill, while visiting his family home, Jamie is initially seen inside the Mill, attempting to fix the problem with a hammer, to no avail. His character resorts to jumping into the water, alongside the Mill wheel, to try and fix it from there! While chest-level deep in water, the mounted Redcoats appear in the distance, agitated and determined to find him. Luckily, characters Claire and Jenny spot the threat in advance and hastily arrange their long skirts to cover the pile of Jamie’s discarded clothes. Now alerted to the looming danger, Jamie takes a very deep breath and hides underwater, foiling the Redcoats.

Another exciting plot scene was filmed in the property’s Exhibition Room. Here the space was transformed to look like the ante room at the court; the location of the preliminary trial for Claire and Gellis Duncan following witchcraft allegations. Two nail-biting events!

NTS’s Preston Mill

The recent wave of publicity though the hit TV series, Outlander, is not the first time that Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot have received such admiration for their stunning aesthetic qualities. In fact, long before their presence hit silver screens across the world, the properties served as a muse in the late 19th to early 20th century for Scottish artists. Most notably, acclaimed artists Robert Miller and William Miller Frazer have both featured the Mill in their paintings. Today, artists still regularly set up their easels among the grounds to capture the property’s unique beauty and form.

Over the course of 10 days in June 2014, 150 cast and crew members from the hit TV show Outlander set up camp at the NTS Property Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot, to film some of the first season’s most pivotal scenes.

In this special post, we give our readers an exclusive behind the scenes glimpse of what happened when Outlander met Preston Mill…

Before the cameras were rolling…

Several aspects of the Preston Mill property had to be altered to make it aesthetically suitable as the backdrop to fit author Diana Gabaldon’s plot. For example, in order to convincingly transform the Mill into part of the 18th-century Lallybroch estate, some structural site changes took place – namely, removing all signs of 21st -century life – including modern fencing, signage, and even gates! Several trees and bushes were then drafted on-site and tactically positioned around the Mill, in order to conceal the nearby urbanized road and houses.

Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot site seen from above with neighboring village and infrastructure. Image via Google Maps

Conversely, some 18th -century implements were added to the set by the film crew, including the construction of an animal pen. During Preston Mill’s operational period, it has been said that its miller kept 3 pigs. The producers certainly did their research! To continue to boost authenticity and set the scene, burlap sacks were piled high, and a wooden cart was also added.

The crew then undertook a little horticultural work and kindly trimmed the nettles surrounding the mill pond so that the unclothed Jamie wouldn’t get stung on his way in and out of the water!

Some of the historic props drafted in to set the scene. Image via: Pinterest

As one of the well-placed final touches, set designers covered the interior of the Mill with flour to make it appear like just another day-in-the-life at an authentic working mill. In reality, Preston Mill stopped its commercial activity back in 1959.

Undoubtedly one of the most demanding physical changes on set involved artificially raising the water table on the mill race (pond) – from 12-18 inches to 5 feet – in order that it be deep enough for the heroic Jamie to plunge into. This task was skillfully achieved through a combination of man-made dams and controlled flooding. Luckily for actor Sam Heughan, the filming took place in June – however, as we Scots know all too well, it can’t have been easy to act out a whole scene in what would have still been close to freezing water!!

Outlander’s Jamie striding past Preston Mill. Image via: Blogspot
Lights, camera, action!

After a few labor intensive days of set dressing, the Mill was ready for its close-up…but not without an inevitable hitch seconds before the cameras started rolling…

The Redcoats approach on horseback. Image via: Outlander Online

Once Jamie had jumped into the water, the director gave the command for the English Army to gallop onto the set for the episode’s critical ambush scene. However, this turned out to pose a somewhat unforeseen problem – many of the actors had never even ridden a horse before! Needless to say, the filming was halted; a period of intensive riding lessons ensued for the Redcoats to get up to standard before filming could resume! Eventually, after much practice, a few of the Redcoats managed to approach the mill at a respectable ‘trot’! Through the magic of film, canny directing, and unbeknownst to the viewers at home, the horses’ grooms were positioned just out of sight, ready to rush in and help many of actors halt their horses when the camera wasn’t looking!

Jamie in the freezing mill pond – rather him than us! Image via Outlander Online

They say “beauty is pain”…and well, for the sake of art and capturing this next shot, it would appear that all notions of health and safety were cast aside to shoot the brave young Jamie inside the workings of the Mill, attempting to repair the damage using a hammer. For this shot, the cameraman was wedged into a tight space between the fanner and the gears, with his head just a few inches away from the moving parts of machinery! The situation could have potentially become disastrous, but thankfully the experienced crew member held steady and emerged without a scratch, while the director was able to shout, “that’s a wrap”!
That’s a wrap!

During the filming period, the property was closed to the general public, but with the production complete, Preston Mill’s dedicated conservation team set about restoring the site back to its original appearance. Wheel blades were replaced, the flooded mill pond was drained, and all gates, signs, and fences were carefully put back in place in preparation for everyday visitors and NTS members to once more enjoy Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot!

Jamie and Claire visit Preston Mill whilst at Lallybroch. Image via: Blogspot

During the re-setting of the property, the NTS conservation team decided that the flour, which had been tactfully dusted around the interior of the Mill, provided a nice addition to the authenticity of the room’s original purpose. As such, they decided to leave the set designer’s work alone, in the hope that its presence would help visitors to envisage the now unused mill back in its working days. Although a great visual addition to the story, before long the flour turned black and mouldy, attracting some very unwelcome visitors – not Redcoats this time, but rats! The flour swiftly becoming cement-like in its consistency; luckily, the conservation team at the property were able to expertly remove all traces of the flour without damaging any of the Mill’s original 17th-century materials.

Character’s Claire and Jenny saved the day – crisis averted! Image via: Pinterest
Fame, fortune, and funding

In April 2015, the scenes filmed at Preston Mill appeared on screens across the world, and visitor numbers subsequently soared! Fans from around the world began flocking to the NTS property to see where the famous mill pond scene was filmed. This special NTS property is still experiencing a surge in visitor numbers and enjoying the international attention that the TV show has propelled.

Behind-the scenes-Outlander shots: Preston Mill’s close up!

Here at NTSUSA, we have managed to get our hands on some exclusive never before seen photos taken over the course of the 10 day filming period at Preston Mill!

We’ve already told you all of the filming secrets and tales, so, as our last blog post on the subject, we thought it would only be fair to share a few special photographs with the dedicated Outlander fans who have enjoyed our two previous posts!

Becoming Lallybroch: Preston Mill’s Outlander makeover
A Phantassie setting: Preston Mill and its Outlander fame
Step back in time with us, to June 2014 and beyond, to the fictitious happenings of 270 years ago…

As seen in the above photos, the NTS property was completely taken over by the production! We have it on good authority that the already small parking lot became even more of a squeeze than usual with all of Outlander’s trailers, rental vehicles and equipment!

The set designers get to work transforming the surroundings of the Mill! Here they can be seen hard at work, erasing any evidence of 21st century life, by covering up tell-tale signs with tactically placed trees and props!

Even fences and posts were temporarily removed! On the right, the crew receive directions on how to take Preston Mill back in time.

The mill’s wheels were no exception; flour is dusted on the interior wheel, while the set designers get the outer wheel ready for its close up! It appears that one member of the crew even lost his head during the process (above right)!

Lights, camera, action! A meeting of old and new: extra lights are added to the roof of the mill.

The novice Redcoat riders receive a lesson or two on horseback before the filming begins…

Actor Sam Heughan discussing his next shot – perhap he is expressing his apprehension at having to jump in the freezing water?!

Stars Caitriona Balfe and Laura Donnelly (Claire and Jenny) prepare for their next scene.

The inner exhibition room appears as an ante-room for the preliminary witchcraft hearing – the second scene filmed at Preston Mill.

Caitriona Balfe, and Sam Heughan on how Season 2 changes the course of history.

Thu, Jul 30, 2015 5:54pm - Tara Bennett
The second season of Starz's hit drama, Outlander, based on novelist Diana Gabaldon's beloved book series, is deep into production this summer with primary shooting locations in Scotland, Prague and southern England. All of them are doubling for Paris circa 1744, where Claire and Jaime Fraser have escaped to in the wake of their terrifying ordeal with masochist British soldier, Captain "Black" Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). (**OHP Editor's note: B.J.Randall is a sadist, not a masochist, as the article's author states) . Their new goal is nothing short of changing the course of history. From Paris, the Frasers will try to stop the impending Jacobite risings by thwarting Bonny Prince Charles Stuart's (Andrew Gower) funding from French king Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser).

In a recent Blastr interview with showrunner Ron D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and cast members Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, the trio said the sophomore season (based on the book Dragonfly in Amber) has felt like a new show in some ways.

"We felt a little bit of discomfort in the transition, because we were so used to playing in this gritty, Scottish mud," Balfe said about leaving their Scottish location shooting behind. "Everything was very muted with the wools. Now all of a sudden we're in these luxurious apartments and grand houses."

Moore concurred, and explained, "Every set, costume and prop [from Season 1] had to be set aside. Now, it's a whole new series. We're going to Prague for the streets of Paris, but we're still doing most of the interiors on our soundstages. There are other locations in Scotland we'll use like exterior home gardens. And there are some palaces in England that will be stand-ins for Versailles."

As for where Jaime and Claire will be emotionally when the series returns, Balfe explained, "Claire is dealing with her pregnancy and [wondering] how do you support someone going through a trauma like [Jaime's]? How do you help him get over it, or get past it? The idea they have of changing the future, she uses it like a mission and something for Jamie to put his focus and energy into so he's not dwelling on what's happened. In a way she sacrificed herself a little bit because she's dealing with her pregnancy on her own in a way. They are going through a very complicated time in their relationship. It's not an easy time for them but it's beautiful to watch how they figure out a way to support each other."

As to their secret mission, Heughan said, "Jaime's thrown himself into it whole-heartedly. He's in it but he's not relishing it at all. We see them slowly get better at [playing the game] and learn they can undercut people and be quite political themselves. Publicly he's a good businessman and very charming, but in those late nights with Claire we see the mask come off. They are bonded mostly by their child and it carries them through." - with additional reporting by Jennifer Herens

Outlander Season 2 will return to Starz in 2016.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

For everyone who wants to see stills of slowed down SNEAK PEEK Season 2