*click on pic to enlarge
**click on colored words for details and links
1- Actor Simon Callow was not a sure thing.
The unceasingly sublime actor Simon Callow, who plays The Duke of Sandringham, initially refused the part but then accepted it after he requested, and was allowed, to base his appearance on The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. It was not meant to be a smear on the character of The Duke, but rather the actor’s penchant for ringlets and bows.
“There is something about ringlets and bows that bring out the aristocrat in me...” Callow is quoted as saying. The whiskers and red bow were removed for filming, with great expense, with CGI technology.
The way The Duke skittered away from danger when Jamie's duel got real was a sheer genius move by Callow who was obviously channeling the lion in spirit as well as looks.
2- The time between seasons was much longer than initially planned.
These 2 photos, leaked out of Season 2 production, show the reason it came in grossly over-budget and barely ready for the opener in April. It seems that producer Ron Moore, in a rather Picasso-esque move, wanted this season to be known as his 'Blue Period', so it was shot mainly in blue, or with heavy use of blue accents. Many months were needed for dyeing the materials for dresses, couches, drapes etc…to match. In their never ending commitment to authenticity, the dye used was make on set by the women using the same urine recipe as the ancients used (see #2 in the prequel to this blog piece:
15 Things You Didn’t About Outlander…kinda) and to maintain a ‘blue’ atmosphere, Bobby Vinton’s 1963 hits ‘Blue On Blue’ and ‘Blue Velvet’ were piped into every set and played on a loop between takes. All day. Every day.
Mr. Moore changed his mind however, and re-shot the entire season when the lone local pub owner went on holidays and with the subsequent closing of his doors and lack of beer in the community, the urine supply for the dye went dry. Imported vats of beer could not replicate the distinct local brewery ‘flavor’ needed to match the established dye and 'The Blue Period' dreams were abandoned.
A fake Black Jack Randall (BJR) hand/forearm prop* had to be created to replace actor Tobias Menzies’ real arm when it became stiff and sore from hours of prolonged and uncomfortable usage during the process of this cover shoot. His wily agent advised him, for 'insurance purposes', to refuse further participation unless, of course, there was a pay increase. There wasn't.
*Replicas can be bought in the ‘Deviant Sex Toy’ section of the Outlander Gift Store. Shipping to the US and UK only.
4- Fowl play was afoot during filming.
A strict Yolktarian (much like a vegetarian but morally against the systematic and ruthless consumption of unborn chickens), actress Laura Connelly (Jenny) needed assistance when she almost fainted during an egg beating scene in the kitchen of the Lallybroch set. Law suits were avoided by Starz agreeing to court ordered sensitivity classes for the entire cast and crew.
5- Hannibal was here.
The material used to make the ‘cast' for Jamie’s damaged left hand is actually the recycled mask of Hannibal Lecter from Silence of The Lambs, which was used for the specific purpose of becoming a trivia question in a soon-to-be released official Outlander trivia board game, with the working name thus far of Outbrander: The Laphroaig Whiskey & Scotland Tourism Board Trivia Game.
6- An unscripted flippyapeshit moment was caught and used on film.
Writers of Outlander on Starz had to quickly write in a violent grief scene that was not in the books when actor Graham McTavish went berserk during filming after hearing that a comical sex scene he had in The Hobbit had been cut. A 6 minute Dwarf on Dwarf action sequence called ‘Dwalin Does Dallas' that took 7 takes to perfect was a rough go according to the actor:
“You try doing a 34.5er [a dwarf sized half a 69er] over and over again in 28 pounds of prosthetics and under those hot lights! Pure Hell…and for what?”
Running late and unable to re-shoot, Starz producers simply dubbed in some quick dialogue for Dougal (the inconsolable new widower) in the editing room and hoped fans wouldn’t watch anyone's lips too closely.
In keeping with the quest for authenticity which is a hallmark of Outlander Starz, dinner entrées included freshly baked ‘mewn briwsion bara godi pidyn gafr’ (Welsh for ‘breaded erect goat penis’), a Welsh dish made traditional over the centuries in various parts of Scotland. The lower parts.
8- Camaraderie was high during filming. Higher than a kite.
Actor Sam Heughan was often found asleep in the hills surrounding the shooting sites after partying all night with Caitriona Balfe and Graham McTavish. It got to be such a predictable occurrence that Starz had to attach a GPS homing device to his clothing (seen here being re-secured by a vigilant Starz staffer after Sam was located still asleep, just after dawn one morning).
9- Statistics matter to Starz.
The fact that only one in every 750,000 Scots is over 5’2 feet tall is impressively represented here in this crowd shot. Kudos to Starz for keeping it real.
10- Scotland has no trees.
The same 6 trees, single shrubbery and tree stump (brought in from a farm near Glasgow that rents them to film companies and photographers) are used in every Highland outdoor shot. They are multiplied with trick photography and CGI's for forest scenes etc…that need a thicker looking landscape. They are permanently potted which makes them easy to maneuver and place.
11- Outlander film locations have become a Time Traveler's mecca.
This picture has gone viral over the internet as Starz producers swear that they did NOT hire the extra wearing modern red striped clothing and sporting the era-busting buzz-cut seen here on set while filming. Time Traveler aficionados are adamant that this is proof of Travelers being interested in our era, and Outlander. ‘Captain Stripes’, as he is now refereed to, is being actively sought and notices around the world are asking that he please email his admirers at WeBelieve@takemeplease.com or call them at 1-800-GOT-TIME or tweet them using @portalmortal2016
12- Pets are allowed on set.
Actress and rare animal lover Laura Donnelly (Jenny) is seen here unhappily taking her pet llama outdoors after another one of his nasty ‘accidents’ on set.
13- Armand the caterer and Caitriona Balfe became life-long friends while filming Season 2.
Dedicated method actor Caitriona Balfe gained a remarkable 64 pounds to add realism to her pregnancy in the story. She admitted that keeping the weight focused on her stomach and away from her face and the rest of her body was very difficult but manageable by following the Medieval Roman practice of ‘adipis suillae distributo’ which loosely translated means ‘lard distribution’ and basically instructs pregnant women to eat whatever they want, but only while hanging upside down. Scientists cannot explain the phenomenon. Filming had to be done out of sequence to allow Cait time to shed the extra poundage safely which she did in 2 weeks with yoga and cutting out bacon from her diet.
14- Outlander fans are not to be trifled with.
The partial spine of the first Starz writer to change Diana’s story to suit his own without regard to the 'fansequences' of his actions is displayed in formaldehyde on set as a gruesome reminder to not mess around with the hearts and minds of myriad women of a certain age, who are young enough to fall in lust/love with Jamie but old enough to work a chainsaw. This may or may not be true and could well be just sensationalized PR stunt to gain media attention…but it IS a fact that all Outlander writers use a pseudonym (like Mercy Crabcakes is a real name! pffft!) and wear prosthetic noses and wigs. The limps are fake too.
15- Military protocol was replicated to a T.As per custom in the 1700’s, women arrested for crimes against the King were taken to prison but NOT until they had a bath and their clothes were mended, washed and pressed (as seen here). Appearing for one’s jail sentence and probable torture and execution was looked upon as uncouth if one had a dirty face and hands etc…and soiled, wrinkled clothes. The soldiers, however, were required to remain a little grubby and disheveled.
a) All of the above is pure fiction and not in any way true (except for the Time Traveler, that is true).
b) If you believed any of it, I want you to marry my ex.
c) If you are offended by any of the aforementioned fictional writing, please accept my sincerest wishes for the fleas of a thousand camels to infest your crotch*.
*I may or may not really mean that.
UPDATE: Graham McTavish replied to my blog on Twitter! My day is made...LOVE that man! He says 'spooky' in regards to the cover of Simon as the Lion...but I wonder if he read his part of the blog? *snicker*