Monday 11 November 2019

Fans love it when I get rough, tough and naughty - Outlander star Caitriona Balfe

Caitriona Balfe feels liberated playing Claire Randall in Outalnder
Caitriona Balfe feels liberated playing Claire Randall in Outalnder

Elaine McCahill

Outlander star Caitriona Balfe has revealed that she watches "happy films" to wind down after long days of filming.

Balfe plays Claire Randall, a World War II nurse who, after an encounter with some mysterious ruins, is transported back to 1743 - a time when some Scots were rebelling against English rule.

She has to hide her identity in case the locals think she is a witch and so she disguises herself as an Englishwoman who has spent time abroad.

Claire is eventually attracted to a sexy Highlander named Jamie Fraser although she is still married to Frank in her own time.

With lots of blood, murder and death, Catherine says: "I rely on happy films like Manhattan, Breakfast at Tiffany's and A Woman is a Woman for a pick me up".

The show is known for its intimate sex scenes and Caitriona believes they represent women as being more than "objects".

Caitriona Balfe in Outlander
Caitriona Balfe in Outlander

"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," she explained.

"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," she added.

There is an upcoming scene that viewers may find unpleasant where Jamie must publicly discipline Claire - as was the custom at the time - for doing something he told her not to do.

Caitriona (35) admits it was a tough scene to film.

"Not only is it a physical wound to her but it's a big psychological wound - that this man she fell in love with would do this," she said.

"I talked to the writers and wanted to make sure it wasn't flippant or sensationalised."

The show, which has taken off in the States, has already been commissioned for a second season and shooting will start in May.

The second season is set to be 13 episodes long which is a bit of a relief for Catherine as the first season took a year to film.

"It was a very long, very intense shooting schedule. You're very immersed in the character. You got to live and breathe it," she said.

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However, the Monaghan native does feel that playing such a tough character has made her realise her own strength.

"I think there's something about playing someone who's so fearless and so strong that it just allows you to exercise that part of yourself," she explained.

"And when I look back now and we filmed for 200 days and I think about the hours that we put in and I think about the conditions that we were working under, I can feel really proud."

"And I can feel really that, wow, I'm a lot stronger than I thought because that was a great experience and I didn't break," she added.


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