Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sam Heughan - You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

By: Marielle Wakim, Los Angeles Magazine

The Scottish-born star of Outlander on upstaging Michael Fassbender, mastering the Metro, and skipping work in London for an audition in L.A.

I've been to L.A, on and off for the past 12 years.  I think I pretend to be an Angleno - I like to play the role of one. I was flown out to test on a TV show in 2004, and at the time I was a struggling actor working in London in theater, which doesn't pay an awful lot. I remember the whole experience, from having a limo driver to flying first class to staying at an amazing hotel.  I'm wandering around, thinking, "This is insane.  I probably don't have enough money of my own to buy a beer," but I had some time off and went to see the Chinese Theater and the Kodak Theater.  I'd just arrived and was looking down at the stars on the street, and my phone rang.  I was working at a bar in London part-time, and it was my bar telling me that I had missed my shift.  They asked if I would be there in about ten minutes, and I said, "I'm really sorry, but I'm in Los Angeles!"  They thought I had slept in.

I came back after that on my own for pilot season, and a producer set me up in a house in West Hollywood. I still hadn't gotten a grip on the city - I couldn't drive at the tme, so I went to all my meeting on the bus. It would take hours to get anywhere, and I'd turn up sweaty and exhausted and slightly lost.  They'd say, "Do you need to validate your car?" and I'd be like "No,.."  But I got to learn the streets and the city pretty well, and I could tell you what bus to get.  My first driving experience in L.A. is so embarrassing. I passed my test in the U.K. because I knew I was coming to America.The first car I had here was a bright yellow Fiat 500, which is the smallest car in the world. And I'm a pretty big guy. I remember driving up to CAA - the valet got in an parked my car between a Mercedes and a Porsche.  And there was my little car. But in a way I felt very proud of it. I don't drive it anymore; I take the Metro a lot. I enjoy it when I'm going to Staples Center to watch basketball and ice hockey because then you can drink some beer.

I had never walked the red carpet at the Golden Globes until we got nominated for Outlander this year.  It's incredible to have spent so many years coming to L.A. and finally having something to show for it.  At least half of the people in the bleachers must have been Outlander fans because they started to chant when we arrived.  I was standing next to Michael Fassbender, and suddenly film crews are turning around, going, "What is this? What's going on?" That was a great moment.  Later I did the drunken thing, where you walk up to Harrison Ford.  I told him I was a big fan, and as soon as it came out of my mouth, I was like "What are you doing? Leave the poor guy alone!"  He was looking at me like he couldn't understand what I was saying, probably because I'd had too much whisky and my Scottish accent was so strong. But he was a gentleman.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Scottish Men are Better Lovers and More Romantic than their English Counterparts, New Survey Reveals

By Kashmira Gander, The Independent UK

Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

As the vote on independence divides Scotland, it seems there is at least one thing that unites the nation – the prowess of their men in bed.

Scottish men are not only more passionate lovers than their English counterparts but are better partners overall, a survey has suggested.

On average, Scottish men scored 7.7 out of 10 across 11 categories, while English men only scored 6.2 in a survey of almost 1400 female members of a dating site.

Scottish men earned a near-perfect nine for their passion and their kissing skills. English men, on the other hand, scored a measly 5 for passion, and a barely-better six for their attempts at lip-locking.

But aside from their physical prowess, Scots also ranked highly in their bid to woo their partners emotionally. Women ranked Scottish men a heart-warming nine for their romantic efforts, and an eight for their sense of humour and their generosity.

They also clinched the secret weapon of a sexy accent from their English rivals – ranking 7 and 6, respectively.

However, all is not lost for Englishmen, as their good looks earned them a 9, compared with a woeful 5 for Scots. (Blog editor's comment- Well, except for Sam Heughan, Rik Rankin and Graham McTavish!) And their their party animal antics – for which the English scored 9 against Scotland’s 6 – is a more dubious attribute.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

'Money Monster' Official Trailer-Watch for Cait!

By: Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter
Blog Editor's Note:  First things first...Huge Congratulations to Caitriona Balfe on her second nomination for Lead Actress in a TV Drama from IFTA  (Irish Film and Television Awards)!

Caitriona Balfe in Money Monster

Money Monster Trailer

Jodie Foster directed the thriller, about a financial talk show host who is held hostage by an irate viewer.

Jodie Foster's Money Monster — starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts — has landed a berth at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, sources tellThe Hollywood Reporter.

Julia Roberts in Money Monster

The news means that at least one major Hollywood studio, Sony, will have a presence at this year's festival, which is set to run May 11-22. So far, the lineup has been kept under tight wraps as festival director Thierry Fremaux and his team finish watching films and mull their options.

Money Monster isn’t expected to be the opening-night film on May 11, according to insiders, but could screen the next day since it hits theaters in North America on May 13. It will mark Roberts' first trip to the iconic festival with a film.

Sony declined comment.

In 2011, Foster's The Beaver also debuted at Cannes.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group chairman Tom Rothman scooped up Money Monster when running TriStar Pictures. Clooney plays TV personality Lee Gates, who offers stock advice on his hit show, Money Monster. Trouble unfolds in real-time when he's taken hostage by a viewer (Jack O'Connell) who claims he's been ruined financially.

Dominic West and Caitriona Balfe also star, with Roberts playing the executive producer of the TV show and Clooney's love interest.

Foster shot Money Monster last year in New York City.

In terms of other films that could play at this year's Cannes Film Festival, one possibility is Woody Allen's untitled romantic comedy set in the 1930s and starring Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll and Ken Stott.

Allen is a Cannes regular, and Amazon recently acquired North American rights to the film and is planning a traditional theatrical release this summer before making it available to Amazon Prime members.

Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.

Outlander Herbalist Claire McKay Searches Out French Remedies for La Dame Blanche

*Blog Editor's Note-So excited to be meeting Claire MacKay at her herbal class during Tartan Week in NYC!! 

By: Scotland Now

Outlander Season 2 is on the horizon at last!

We’re all waiting for Claire and Jamie to land ashore in Paris aboard the Cristabel, but we can rest assured whatever they encounter ahead of them, Claire is going to be well equipped to handle it.

Of course, she has her futuristic nursing skills which come in handy from time to time for patching up the wounded and miraculously curing the inflicted.

But if she’s worried about leaving her surgery at Castle Leoch behind, there are a few familiar remedies to be found in France that will make her feel at home, and find a place in her medicine chest.

The ‘auld alliance’ between Scotland and France runs deep in history and undoubtedly has led to much being shared between cultures. As Claire finds out in Dragonfly In Amber, this also includes some of the humble folk-remedies of the Highlanders.

With a new setting in Outlander Season 2, fans can rest assured that Claire Fraser will have familiar remedies in France. Here, the show’s herbal advisor Claire Mackay takes a closer look..


Lus na friange is the Gaelic name for tansy, which translates literally as Frenchweed. In the highlands it was used as a flooring material (which had the benefit of being aromatic and keeping insects away too). It’s primary medicinal use was in treating worms, and tansy tea was still drunk in the highlands in the 20th century to prevent and treat intestinal worms. Tansy pudding, derived from a traditional French recipe was also a favourite traditional dessert and still popular in World War 2 times. Claire perhaps already knew of its medicinal properties, but there was certainly some gowing near Lallybroch, as we find out when she walks with Jamie to the mill.
‘Care to walk wi’ me Sassenach? It’s a fine morning and ye can bring yer wee basket. ‘He smiled down at me, taking the basket, while I stopped to pull up a stalk of tansy’


Scots have a longstanding affection for the yellow flowers of the broom, but the French have historically held just as much enthusiasm for the plant. Enough to name the lineage of Plantagenet kings after the useful shrub. Plantagenet actually comes from ‘Planta Genista’ which was the name for broom at the time. In France and Scotland alike, the blossoms were picked and pickled for a dish known as ‘grande sallet’ , a mix of wild leaves and flowers in dressing or pickled. Broom was used for dropsy (a condition caused by oedema), kidney and bladder problems, and was also used to regulate the heart. It was worn round the neck in the Highlands to prevent nosebleeds.

Saimbhir in Gaelic this plant’s name comes from the French ‘Saint Pierre’ and the salt-loving Coastal succulent was pickled by both the French and Scots, and highly sought after by fishermen (since it wasn’t extremely common in Scotland). It was a highly esteemed digestive in times when food was often a tad undigestible.


Saileach the Gaelic name is borrowed from an Old French word saille meaning ‘to rush forth’ (on account of how quickly it grows). The Latin name is now Salix. Willowbark tea is a speciality of Claire Fraser, and makes many an appearance throughought the Outlander series. It’s traditionally known as a painkiller and for treating fevers, and is the medicinal plant from which Aspirin was derived. Which might explain why in Dragonfly In Amber, Claire suggests it to Jamie in France, the morning after he had been at the mercy of his cousin Jared’s hospitality! “Have ye got anything in here for a verra vicious headache Sassenach?”

Master Raymond

All Things Weird and Wonderful…

Scottish Film Studio: Government-backed Wardpark Movie Studio Plan in Cumbernauld to Take Major Step Forward

By:Phil Miller, Herald Scotland

A new £5m Scottish film studio complex could be built on the outskirts of Cumbernauld next year.

Wardpark Studios, in an industrial site near the M80, has been the home of the first two series of the Outlander US TV series and is now set to expand with funding from the public purse.

Terry Thomson, chairman and owner of the studios, is to submit a planning application to expand facilities with a new 30,000 square feet sound stage building with a 50ft ceiling next to the existing site.

The plan is being backed by £4m in public money, with £1.5m in grant from Scottish Enterprise and £2.5m in the form of a loan.

However, Mr Thomson said that the building of the new sound stage, which can be divided into two and would take the Wardpark facility to six possible stages of nearly 80,000 square feet, would depend on the demand for studio space in Scotland.

The planning permission, to be sought from North Lanarkshire council, is the first major announcement by the Film Studio Delivery Group (FSDG) since it was established by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland three years ago.

Mr Thomson said the new studio space, to be built on a parking lot next to the existing studios, would greatly expand the offer of Wardpark to film producers.

Scottish Enterprise believe the status of the public money given to the project would not breach crucial EU 'state aid' rules.

Allan McQuade, director of business infrastructure at SE, said the state aid situation was "robust".

A separate, wholly private £140m bid to build a large studio complex in Straiton, on the edge of Edinburgh, is currently having its planning permission considered by Scottish ministers.

Wardpark believe that they already have a substantial studio complex built in Scotland - insured at being worth £35m - and this new development is just another stage of the work they have already done.

Terry Thomson, chairman of Wardpark Studios, said: "What we have been doing in the last two years is what Scots do best - getting on and getting it done.

"In Wardpark we have four sound stages, six editing rooms, props stores, construction workshops, dye rooms - Scotland has a permanent film studio, now.

"We've been very quiet but we have been creating Wardpark studios in the last two years. Scotland has a film studio today."

The existing four sound stages and the rest of the main building are being fully used by the Outlander production.

What is being planned now is work in two phases - the creation of a new car park first, and then the building of a new sound stage.

However, Mr Thomson said the decision on building the new stage would be made later this year, when he - with advice from Creative Scotland - decides whether there is enough demand.

If he receives planning permission from North Lanarkshire he will begin phase one - building the new car park to replace the current one on which the new sound stage would be built - this summer.

Mr Thomson does not yet know whether Outlander, and its producers Leftbank Pictures and Sony, wish to remain using Wardpark for series 3.

"Who knows," he said.

He added: "If series 2 is a great success and they want to come back for series three, we would welcome them with open arms and we hope Scotland would do the same."

Mr Thomson said he gets companies looking for studio space about once a week.

David Smith, director of Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise said its commitment has been "unwavering and we want this to happen as much as many in the industry do - it may seem obvious, but I want to put that on the record.

"We have done a lot behind the scenes in the last two, two and a half years."

"What is significant about this week is that we have reached the stage where it is imperative to move forward with a planning application, which means in short that Wardpark [Studio] can go public with their plans."

Fiona Hyslop, culture secretary, has formally announced the plans to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee.

The FSDG has also confirmed that conversations are also underway with "potential private sector investors in relation to additional studio sites in Scotland, and the group remains keen to hear new proposals."

This week Creative Scotland has also confirmed it has made its first conditional offers from its new £1.75m Production Growth Fund. Totalling more than £800,000, these offers will support two productions to film in Scotland.

A third application to the Production Growth Fund is currently under consideration.

Ms Hyslop said: "Wardpark Studios Limited’s decision to seek planning consent for new studio facilities in Cumbernauld marks an important milestone in our work to strengthen the Scottish screen sector."

Jim Logue, leader of North Lanarkshire council, has welcomed the Wardpark Studios’ development proposal.

He said: "The scale of the hoped for expansion at the Wardpark Studios presents a tremendous opportunity for Cumbernauld and North Lanarkshire.

"We are, potentially, looking at hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of pounds pumped into the local economy over the next two decades.

"On a single day, as many as 300 people could be working on site.

"We have already been working closely with the studio owner and have built a strong relationship.

"For all the glamour of a film and TV production facility on our doorstep, the reality is in the number of tradesmen and women who will benefit; electricians, painters, plasterers and joiners before we even think about the specialist technical roles associated with a studio.

"North Lanarkshire enjoys tremendous transport and communications links which film and TV can only benefit from."

Natalie Usher, Creative Scotland’s Director of Screen said: "In order to support local productions and attract UK and international productions, Scotland needs a full range of options for stage space and production offices: purpose-built studio facilities; full-time conversions such as the space currently used by Outlander at Wardpark; and build space like The Pyramids in Bathgate, and the Pelamis Building in Leith.

"Converted and build space in Scotland that is currently being marketed compares favourably with similar space marketed by other UK nations, but we also need purpose-built space in order to compete effectively.

"We are working through the FSDG to realise a purpose-built studio facility in addition to the existing full time converted space at Wardpark. "We continue to investigate other potential options where there is interest from the market and appetite from private investors."

Mr Smith added: "A huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes since we published the feasibility report and invited the private sector to submit their proposals.

"We’re really excited about the ambition Wardpark Studios has for the site and we’ve been working with them on various iterations of their business plan to secure further investment in Scotland’s screen infrastructure.

"The company’s plans remain at a critical stage of consideration.

"But I believe Wardpark Studios’ decision to apply for planning consent to increase the size and scale of the existing facilities in Cumbernauld illustrates their long-term commitment to operate world-class studio facilities in Scotland.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

If It's Not Baroque, Dinna Fix It!

Editors's note:  take a listen to Bear's interview on NPR's All Things Considered!

'Outlander' Season 2 Will Feature Music Composed by the Real Comte St. Germain

By Sachin Trivedi, International Business Times-Australia

Photo Courtesy of Starz

Music composed by the real historic figure Comte St. Germain will be featured in “Outlander” Season 2, composer Bear McCreary revealed in a recent interview. The TV series has won high praise for its authenticity in depicting Highlander culture and is now set to repeat that success with a French setting.

Bear McCreary

In an interview with Collider, McCreary explained that he conducted intense research on the music of the time period. Upon learning that Comte St. Germain (Stanley Webber) will be making an appearance in the TV series, McCreary focused his attention on the historical figure.

Stanley Weber at Le Comte St. Germain.  Photo Courtesy of Yahoo

McCreary pointed out that among St. Germain’s many talents was a talent to compose music. He asked a historian to bring him a collection of music composed by St. Germain and McCreary liked one of them. The theme music that plays when the character is on screen is the music the historical figure wrote centuries ago.

“Stuff like that you can only do on a lush period piece like this when you have the time to do the research,” McCreary explained. He described “Outlander” Season 2 as “essentially a different show while they’re in Paris.” “When we go to Versailles, the music that’s being played there is the definitive music for that place and that time period,” he said.

The music composer said that very few people watching the show will actually realise that the music being played is more accurate to the time period. For the others, the show will feel much more authentic because “it actually is.”

“Outlander” Season 2 will bring Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) back to Scotland, but for the most part of the season they will remain in Paris. McCreary said that he got a lot of time to do his music research because he got an early version of the first half of the season. He said that he didn’t know much about Baroque French music initially, but now jokes about being an expert.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Diana Gabaldon's "Virgins" To Be Released as a Stand Alone E-book!

By: Outlander Central

Previously available only in the anthology Dangerous Women, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novella "Virgins" is set to be released on April 8th as a stand alone e-book.  "Virgins" is the story of a 19 year-old Jamie Fraser and his friend, 20 year-old Ian Murray, who travel to France in 1740 to become young mercenaries.

Fans have been clamoring for this novella to be available on its own since it's release (although, there are some great stories of strong and fabulous females (good and bad!) in Dangerous Women.  If you're interested in the entire anthology, the publisher's description is as follows:

"All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in DANGEROUS WOMEN include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a  tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones. 
Also included are original stories of dangerous women—heroines and villains alike—by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn,  S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others."

 Cover for U.S.A. hardcover edition

Thanks to Karen Henry of Outlandish Observations for the information about Virgins and its release date!

Golden Globe Nominee Caitriona Balfe Joins Cast of 'Trust No One'

From: PRNewswire

Caitriona Balfe, winner of a Saturn Award and and Golden Globe nomination for her role as Claire Beauchamp in Outlander, is joining a star cast of young actors making an action/thriller movie funded through Kickstarter.

Simon Kassianides and Brett Dalton are raising $65k to shoot their movie 'Trust No One' this summer. (PRNewsFoto/Trust No One)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actors Brett Dalton and Simon Kassianides star in the movie and are raising funds to make the film through Kickstarter. $65k to be raised before filming begins 
this summer.

Kassianides and Caitriona Balfe taken from Simon Kassianides' instagram. Caitriona is staring in Kassianides' new movie 'Trust No One'. (PRNewsFoto/Trust No One)
Kassianides and Caitriona Balfe taken from Simon Kassianides' instagram. Caitriona is staring in Kassianides' new movie 'Trust No One'. (PRNewsFoto/Trust No One)

Trust No One has been written by Simon Kassianides, who will direct and act in the film when shooting begins this summer. No stranger to the action/thriller genre, Kassianides played Eva Green's treacherous lover Yusuf opposite Daniel Craig's Bond in Quantum of Solace. More recently, Kassianides appeared as agent Bakshi in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where he met Brett Dalton, who stars as agent Grant Ward. The pair enjoyed working together so much they decided to make their own movie.

"Films like Bond, The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible and Ronin have all been an inspiration for the film's action sequences," explained Kassianides. "But the big difference with this movie is that the combat scenes aren't between trained assassins.  They are between ordinary men and women, fighting for their lives in an extreme situation."

Will Balfe train in martial arts and boxing to portray her character? Kassianides says that's a secret that only his Kickstarter investors will be privy to as the shoot date nears this summer.

"Trust No One is an action thriller, so I don't want to give too many spoilers. But the plot is believable. It could happen to you or me. Except we're going to shoot this in a way you've never seen before, getting the audience closer to the action with bungee rigs, lipstick cams, multiple versions of the sets that will give us angles that make it feel like you're in there with them. Daniel Katz's incredible cinematography is going to bring this ambitious plan together. And our investors will be the first to know all the details every step of the way."

Kassianides and Dalton are still casting for the final characters to join the shoot in LA and are finding time between Dalton filming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Kassianides filming Warner movie To Have And To Hold with Katherine Heigl to promote the project.

Actress Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Jemma Simmons in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is among the first backers, all of whom can look forward to rewards including signed scripts, a personal Dubsmash video and social media credits.

For press enquiries please contact:

To back the project visit:

Project is SAGAFTRA affiliated.

SOURCE Trust No One

Outlander Star Sam Heughan Heads Down Under

By:  Staff Writer,

Sam Heughan is heading to Sydney!  Photo courtesy of Starz

Outlander star Sam Heughan will visit Sydney this month ahead of the premiere of the second season of the popular series in April.

The Scottish actor will be in Sydney on March 21 and 22.

Filming has just wrapped in the UK on the second instalment of 13 episodes, based on the the second of eight books in Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling Outlander series, entitled Dragonfly in Amber. 

Ronald D. Moore, Jim Kohlberg, Andy Harries, Maril Davis, Ira Steven Behr, Toni Graphia and Anne Kenney serve as executive producers of Outlander, which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Heughan plays 18th century Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser alongside Caitriona Balfe as Outlander’s time-travelling heroine Claire Randall/Fraser.

In Outlander S2 Claire (Balfe) and Jamie (Heughan) arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart, and stopping the battle of Culloden. 

With the help of his cousin Jared, a local wine merchant, Jamie and Claire are thrown into the lavish world of French society where intrigue and parties are abundant, but political gain proves far less fruitful. 

Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship. 

However armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.

Outlander S2 will premiere Express from the US, from April 10 at 8.30pm AEST, on Foxtel’s SoHo channel.

It Was A VERRA Good Day for Photographer Kristie De Garis

Kristie De Garis is a photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

In February, she was the verra lucky lass to photograph our Sam when he was at Edinburgh tailor Stewart Christie & Co ("The oldest bespoke tailors in Scotland. Est.1720") getting fitted for his new tweeds for Tartan Week NYC!  Many thanks, Kristie, from all of us crazy Outlander fans for sharing your beautiful photos of Sam! (Did ye use a tripod, lass?  We have no idea how ye kept your hands steady in 'the presence'!)

Here's what Ms. De Garis has to say in her blog, The Wild Air Photography:

"Late last week I found myself in the verra fortunate position of photographing Mr. Sam Heughan who plays Jamie Fraser in award winning Starz TV show, Outlander. I've long been a fan of the books and loved the first season of the TV show so it was pretty great to meet one of the main actors in person. The story lines that have been tackled are sometimes very difficult and I'm genuinely impressed with the team behind Outlander for facing them head on and casting actors capable of doing them justice. #bigfan

Sam was being measured for a bespoke suit by Dan Fearn and Vixy Rae (owners and designers at Stewart Christie) that he would wear for future red carpet engagements. Sam is about to embark on a world press tour so we were lucky to grab some time with him before he left for Japan. Vixy will be hand delivering the finished three piece tweed suit to Sam during NYC Tartan Week where Sam has been chosen to be Grand Marshal of the 2016 New York Tartan Day Parade. For info on the parade and events please visit the linked website or the NYC Tartan Week Twitter or facebook. Stewart Christie have an interview with Sam up on their blog right now too.

My first thought upon meeting Mr. Heughan was 'Do we have a step ladder?' because at 6,3 he is quite a tall laddie. I love that Outlander is partially set around the time that Stewart Christie was established (1720) and seeing 'Jamie Fraser'  walking into this shop was pretty fantastic. Except this time a tshirt, jeans and leather jacket in place of the eight feet of tartan.

Sam was very chatty, easy to talk to and easy to work with. All in all a great day with a lovely guy who was very helpful, very humble and very photogenic. Stewart Christie team were fantastic as always.

Below are some Images from the day."

The Sam Heughan Profile

Stewart Christie’s interview with Sam Heughan of Outlander, by: Nicholas Policarpo


Photo by Kristie De Garis

It’s not often that the origins of two seemingly unrelated entities coincide in a way that allow for an exchange of creative inspiration and collaborative endeavors. Stewart Christie’s beginnings are rooted in the same period of the Jacobite Rebellions, around which the new Starz series Outlander centers. To celebrate this common history, it is our pleasure to invite one of the stars of this new historical fiction into our esteemed tailoring firm to enjoy a piece of Scottish heritage off-screen, and demonstrate the cultural significance of the two institutions coming together. Sam Heughan sits down with us to give a bit of insight into his experience playing Jamie Fraser and what it means for him as a Scotsman to bring to life a part of Scottish history integral to the country’s present day culture.

1. What is the most rewarding part about playing the character of Jamie Fraser as a Scotsman?

This role has been a real "homecoming" for me. I was born and brought up in rural Scotland, but I left for over 14 years. Now I’ve been able to rediscover my childhood/ancestry and fall in love with my home country again whilst being able to bring the things I love about it to an international audience.

2. Outlander being historical fiction, what do you think is the most relatable part of the show to the modern viewer?

Outlander lets the viewer have access to a world that is familiar, yet undiscovered. We imagine ourselves, like Claire (the main character), going back in time. How would we cope? What would we do? It's pure escapism that’s based in a very real historic period.

3. Since Jamie finds himself in Edinburgh at several points in the series, just around the time Stewart Christie was founded, what do you think your character would have commissioned from us? 

I've discovered a lot about the history of the kilt and of tartan; its origins, and how it became fashionable. Ultimately, for Jamie, it's a practical piece of clothing, a warrior’s utility belt, so to speak, serving a variety of purposes. I think he'd go to Stewart Christie for something finer, a quality suit, to change into after roaming the highlands!

4. Playing off of that last question, what was your favorite costume to wear during filming?

Haha, can you guess?? (Kilt!)

5. Thinking about Stewart Christie’s attention to each customer’s individuality, how would you describe your personal style?

I'm definitely developing a taste for quality, gentleman's clothing. Anything that is well made, from durable, yet luxury materials. It's subtle, but I think it makes a huge difference to the way one feels when wearing it. Plus, people respond well to a well-dressed man! Ha!

6. Twelve yards of fabric can be tricky to handle, but can you tie your own kilt?

Absolutely. It's an interesting process (especially in a small enclosed space) - laying out the fabric and folding pleats, then laying down to tie it around the waist. It's part of a ritual, and one that warriors and highlanders share.

7. Considering that Outlander is largely filmed in Scotland, have you ever found yourself on location at a place you’ve visited, or think of fondly, having grown up in Scotland?

This has happened many times. Recently we shot around Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfrieshire, which has many ties to the subject matter (the Jacobites having stayed there etc). Plus, I was brought up nearby and had visited as a child. It's such a gift to be able to bring that to a role: the history and sense memory of a place.

8. Aside from the history found in the textiles and fashion portrayed in the show, Outlander’ script features much of the Gaelic language. Have you picked up any particular words or phrases that you think should find their way back into the modern Scottish lexicon? 

There are many words we use in Scottish English that have Gaelic roots. I love to look at place names in Scotland, see their Gaelic or Norse roots, and realize what a diverse and ever-changing country we live in. Gaelic names, once translated, reveal a hidden meaning or detail. Mountains, Lochs, people etc.

9. Playing Jamie Fraser, you’ve had the unique opportunity to experience firsthand (at least in some respect) Scottish life in the 18th century. What do you think has changed most?

Technology, warmth and roads. We've become soft. They were hardy people and probably didn't live long!

10. Finally, what are you most excited about for the future of Outlander?

We are finishing filming season two, dealing with Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie and major Scottish history. It's terrific! I’m excited to see how it's received and whether we do another season.

Outlander and Saks Team Up for a Costume Extravaganza!

By Laura Byrne Christiano of Hypable

Outlander fans know what an amazing job costume designer Terry Dresbach did with the costumes in season 1. Things are on a whole new level in season 2.

Outlander season 1 featured an amazing array of costumes that ranged from 1940’s, post-war England to the 18th century Scottish Highlands, both daily and formal dress. Many were surprised when the series did not receive an Emmy nod. Game of Throne’s author, George RR Martin, even remarked, “And Outlander, how in the world did they overlook Outlander, with its music and its costumes and its cinematography…”

The season 2 costumes are quite simply going to be impossible to overlook. It’s hard to know where to begin with adjectives that adequately describe the Outlander season 2 costumes. Do regal, sumptuous, lavish, and breathtaking even begin to do Terry Dresbach’s work justice? It is a rare thing to see designs of this caliber in cinema, let alone on a TV series when the characters are just visiting France. If she is overlooked at the Emmys this year, it will be a serious injustice.

Thanks to a partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue, fans won’t have to appease themselves by ogling at the costumes on their TV screens. They will actually have the opportunity to see the costumes up close in either New York City or Los Angeles. According to Starz, “The partnership will feature exclusive Outlander-curated windows on display from March 22 through April 11 at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York and Beverly Hills flagships in advance of the series’ April 9 premiere. Saks Fifth Avenue will bring Outlander to life by creating six window vignettes capturing the 18th century within Saks’ New York flagship as well as two window vignettes in the Beverly Hills store. The windows will prominently feature, with a Saks twist, the original 1700s Parisian fashion costumes and props from the upcoming second installment of the hit series.”

In addition to the costume display, Sam Heughan (Jamie) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire) are gracing the cover of Saks Fifth Avenue’s Spring 2016 Magalog. “Outlander is a drama both rich in romance and intrigue,” commented Roopal Patel, Senior Vice President, Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue. “We are thrilled to celebrate the highly-anticipated second season by highlighting the stars in our Spring 2016 Magalog as well as exclusively showcasing the beautifully-designed costumes by Terry Dresbach and props from the series in our flagship windows for all to enjoy.” For fans wanting even more inside detail, Dresbach updates her blog with various tidbits on design and fashion.

With Sam Heughan having recently been named as the Grand Marshall of New York City Tartan Week, maybe he can stop by the Saks windows while he is in town to admire the display before tuning in to the Outlander season 2 premiere that airs later that evening on Starz.

Season 2 of Outlander follows the story arc of book two in the Diana Gabaldon series, Dragonfly in Amber. It begins as Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart, and stopping the battle of Culloden. With the help of his cousin Jared, a local wine merchant, Jamie and Claire are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant, but political gain proves far less fruitful. Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship. However, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.

Outlander returns April 9, at 9 p.m. on Starz.