Out­lander’s Ron Moore tells us about the High­land drama’s move to the courts of Paris...

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Time for more time travel.

If you could go back in time and change events to pre­vent the death of thou­sands, would you do it? That idea drives the se­cond sea­son of Out­lander, which finds he­roes Claire ( Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser ( Sam Heughan) in Paris us­ing their good stand­ing in the Court of King Louis XV to try and thwart the loom­ing Ja­co­bite ris­ing.

While time travel was a sub­tle el­e­ment in the first sea­son, the con­cept is the back­bone of the se­cond, as Claire wres­tles with des­per­ately want­ing to save Jamie and his Scot­tish kin from death on the Cul­lo­den moors in 1745, while

also try­ing to pre­serve the ex­is­tence of her hus­band, Frank ( To­bias Men­zies), in her orig­i­nal time of 1945.

It’s heady stuff that nov­el­ist Diana Ga­bal­don has been ex­plor­ing for more than 20 years in eight ( and count­ing) Out­lander books, but now it’s up to se­ries showrun­ner Ron­ald D Moore to make it work on TV. Luck­ily, Moore has a his­tory of weav­ing the me­chan­ics of sci- fi into riv­et­ing per­sonal drama from his long ca­reer guid­ing shows like Star Trek and Bat­tlestar Galac­tica. For Moore, Out­lander has proven to be more of a lo­gis­ti­cal beast than a cere­bral one. The show shoots on lo­ca­tion in Scot­land, but sea­son two has ne­ces­si­tated trips to Prague ( dou­bling as Paris) and south­ern Eng­land ( as Ver­sailles) in or­der to ser­vice the story.

“The pro­duc­tion it­self is very dif­fi­cult,” Moore tells Red Alert. “TV is typ­i­cally pro­duced with a home base, an apart­ment build­ing or the bridge of the En­ter­prise as a stand­ing set, which makes things faster, eas­ier, cheaper and there’s a com­fort level. Th­ese books travel and you leave things be­hind. As a re­sult you are de­sign­ing and prep­ping and shoot­ing movies over and over again. It’s a very com­pli­cated pro­duc­tion. The se­cond sea­son is even worse be­cause now you are in Paris and ev­ery set, cos­tume and prop [ from sea­son one] had to be set aside. It’s Parisian sa­lons and their par­ties and the Court. All the rhythms and feel­ings of sea­son one are in the rearview mir­ror. Now it’s a whole new se­ries.”

Ac­tress Caitriona Balfe, who plays the fiercely in­de­pen­dent and re­source­ful time-hop­ping Claire, ad­mits that the change af­fected ev­ery­one. “It’s a dif­fer­ent world. [ The dresses] change how you carry your­self and it changes how you in­ter­act with peo­ple. All of a sud­den in­stead of hang­ing out with hairy High­landers, you are at the Court. It’s a dif­fer­ent set of so­cial rules and it’s been a very in­ter­est­ing change.”

For Sam Heughan, who plays rugged Scot Jamie Fraser, the shift in tone has been per­haps most pro­nounced for his char­ac­ter. The ac­tor’s had to rein­vent Jamie from a wanted man on the run to a pol­ished Machi­avel­lian political in­sider who is firmly try­ing to shift the al­most zealot- like goals of Prince Charles Ed­ward Stu­art ( An­drew Gower). “I was ter­ri­fied of be­ing lost in ruf­fles,” Heughan laughs about his ini­tial re­ac­tion to the sea­son. “I told Terry [ Out­lander cos­tume de­signer Terry Dres­bach] from day one that’s not hap­pen­ing. She’s ter­rific and of course she didn’t do that. We see him tak­ing on this new per­sona but he’s not lost his roots. The kilt is very much used as he’s a proud Scot.” Asked how he would de­fine the course of the sea­son, Heughan as­sesses, “If sea­son one was about young love and in­no­cence, sea­son two is about adult­hood and par­ent­hood.”

In the first half of sea­son two es­pe­cially, as Jamie works within the Court to turn tides, Claire has the bur­den of tend­ing to her preg­nancy and find­ing a proac­tive role in this new world that is the most for­eign place she’s ever tried to ex­ist. “It’s in­ter­est­ing,” Balfe ex­plains. “In a lot of ways Claire has less free­dom in Paris than she did in Scot­land. The role of women in that so­ci­ety is al­most more re­stricted. They like to sit around and have tea and Claire wants to pull her hair out be­cause that’s not where she feels most com­fort­able. She feels a lit­tle lost for a lot of time in France.”

As it turns out, Claire finds her path through new char­ac­ters, par­tic­u­larly the enig­matic apothe­cary Mas­ter Ray­mond and Mother Hilde­garde, who runs the L’Hôpi­tal des Anges. “Mas­ter Ray­mond is her healer coun­ter­part who she meets and he’s played in­cred­i­bly by Do­minique Pi­non,” Balfe en­thuses. “He’s just such a unique hu­man be­ing and a fan­tas­tic ac­tor. They con­nect on a pro­fes­sional level like when she first met Geil­lis Dun­can ( Lotte Ver­beek). And then Mother Hilde­gard is played by Frances de la Tour who I was so ex­cited to work with. Th­ese are friends for Claire who, for the first time, are equals and she has sim­i­lar in­ter­ests with.”

Out­lander sea­son two starts on 9 April in the US on Starz, and comes to Ama­zon In­stant Video in the UK a day later.

Th­ese books travel and you leave things be­hind. It’s very com­pli­cated

Sea­son two is based on the book Dragon­fly In Am­ber. Don’t worry – this isn’t Pride And Prej­u­dice And Zom­bies.

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