By Andie Teran, Elle.com
I'm ready to give Stanley Weber an earful when he arrives. As Outlander's newest villain, the dapper French actor plays Comte St. Germain, a sadistic courtier who shrewdly terrorizes the show's protagonists, Claire and Jamie Fraser. I've binged on the second season of the Starz series in anticipation of meeting Weber, and when he arrives at the nondescript office building in Beverly Hills, looking scruffy and suspenders-clad, I'm somewhat disappointed—there's nary a floral waistcoat or curled ponytail in sight.
Well, somewhat disappointed. Instead of the Comte's clean-shaven sneer, I'm greeted with a warm handshake and stubbly smile. 29-year-old Weber is an extremely nice guy, not to mention a skilled actor, and as we sit outside on a patio decorated with sparse, potted cacti—a far cry from Versailles—we discuss his first day on set, making the Comte human, and what it was like filming an extremely intense (and journalistically embargoed) scene with co-star Caitriona Balfe.
'Outlander,' as you know, has a rabid fan base. Were you daunted when you got the part?
I was really excited. I felt very blessed. I didn't realize straight away that it was this big, but then I started to watch season one, and I was like, this is a really good show. The chemistry between Cat and Sam [the show's stars, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, who play Claire and Jamie] was so incredible. A lot of people were asking me about the fan base, if I was scared, and all of a sudden my Twitter and Instagram went crazy. [The fans] have been so nice and have sent supportive messages.
Which is encouraging considering you're playing a dastardly villain.
Yes, exactly. They all have loads of expectations I guess, but you have to withdraw yourself from it in order to do sincere work. On the other hand, you have the responsibility to bring this guy to life and be as faithful as possible to the book and the scripts, which are really well written, so it wasn't hard to do. I'm still realizing how big it is.
What was your first day on set like?
I was wrapping up a movie and two days later I was in the Comte St. Germain suit, so it was a bit overwhelming. You never know when you arrive on such a big set with people who have been working together for so long how it's going to go or if they're going to be nice to you.
The first person I met was Cat. I was very anxious. I hate first days—they are the worst. I was in front of my trailer smoking a cigarette—because this is what you do when you're French and stressed, you smoke cigarettes and drink coffee—and Cat arrived with cupcakes for the crew—so lovely! She saw me, came up, and gave me a hug.
It's a very English or American thing to do but in France we're like, hello [pulls a face], and try to be cool. The feeling I got on the first day being surrounded by these lovely people—from the crew to the cast—and Cat and Sam spreading this charming energy around made everyone very comfortable. It was something I was really impressed by. The first day became my favorite day.