×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: ‘Outlander’ Star Caitriona Balfe on the Secret Behind TV Adaptations and Claire’s Family Life in Season 4

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Debra Birnbaum chats with “Outlander” star Caitriona Balfe about the fourth season of the hit Starz show. As Claire Randall, a time-traveling nurse balancing both family and love, Balfe finds herself juggling romance with some horrors of early American life in the new season.

“Claire, especially last season, was very much focused on her professional life and this idea that she was this trailblazing professional women in the ’50s and ’60s, and that was really gratifying to play,” Balfe says.

This season, though, the actress continues, “we get to see this woman, and this couple, choose their home and sort of choose how they want to live their life and what that community that they want to build from the ground up, what that will become.”

Some of the challenges of the new season came for Balfe with a storyline that saw her character encountering slavery up close and person, as well as one in which Native American characters force Claire and Jamie (Sam Heughan) to confront land expansion.

“I think in this process of adaptation… it’s a fine line of how you tell these stories,” Balfe says. “Those are never nice subjects when you have to come upon them, but I think it’s important that those conversations are still happening. You have to address it.”

Outlander” saw immense success as an eight-part book series, but when the television adaptation aired in 2014, Balfe says she wasn’t sure if the series would stick around. Luckily, she says, fans of the books also took to the show, which now boasts four seasons and more than 70 episodes.

“They really embraced us from the start, but…what’s been so nice is that we’ve managed to branch out of that, and the show has sort of won its own fans,” Balfe says. “It’s been quite a wild ride, but it’s been a good one.”

The secret behind the adaptation’s success, she believes, is executive producer Ronald D. Moore whose inspiration for the show comes from the books themselves.

“I think that if you have people who are in the show [and] who are making the show, if they are fans, they retain the essence of what the book fans really love,” Balfe says.

At the same time, however, she says both Moore and the show’s other executive producers are still able to make each episode tell its own story. After all, “you still have to make TV for TV’s sake,” she says.

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

Let us know what you think of Variety’s podcasts! You can email us at podcasts@variety.com to offer comments, suggestions, and ideas for interview subjects you’d like to hear from. 

More TV

  • Florence and the Machine

    Florence & the Machine Premiere New Song on 'Game of Thrones'

    [pmc=related] If the voice singing the song during the end credits of “Game of Thrones” tonight sounded familiar — or unmistakable — yes, it was Florence + the Machine. The group’s version of the original “Game of Thrones” song “Jenny of Oldstones” debuted during the closing credits of this season’s second episode, following a rendition [...]

  • Game of Thrones Fan Theories

    Best Fan Theories for the Final Season of 'Game of Thrones'

    After eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” fans will finally see if their long-held theories will pay off. Dozens of important characters and a complex plot have made diehard viewers try to foresee plot twists for years. With the original R+L=J theory confirmed, meaning that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were the real parents of Jon [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • Tryion Lannister Game of Thrones Episode

    'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Episode 2 Leaks

    The second episode of “Game of Thrones'” final season has leaked online ahead of its Sunday night debut. Fear not, “Thrones” fans: though the internet is dark and full of spoilers, this post is free of any details from Season 8 episode 2. Rumblings of a leak began on the “Game of Thrones” Reddit and [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content