Friday, May 27, 2016

Outlander's Stanley Weber Explains What Went Into the Comte St. Germain's Big Scene

By Lauren Piester, E! News

Stanley Weber as Le Comte St. Germain

See ya, St. Germain.

Outlander's French baddie met his end in the Starz hit, and he could not have suffered a less dignified death. As part of her payment to the king for getting her husband out of the Bastille, Claire helped in a sort of trial to determine if two men accused of black magic—her friend, Master Raymond, and her enemy, the Comte St. Germain—deserved to be punished.

She tried to get them all out of there alive by having them both drink a potion she knew would make them visibly suffer but not die, but Master Raymond had other plans. After he drank it, he spiked the fake poison with real poison, and sent St. Germain sputtering and writhing to the floor.

After weeks of torturing Claire and Jamie as payback for what he viewed as Claire's meddling that got his ships (and therefore his livelihood) destroyed, St. Germain definitely deserved something, but did he deserve this? His portrayer, Stanley Weber, seems to think so.

"I guess that's fair enough," Weber tells E! News. "It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? I had every good reason to be angry at them, and every good reason to seek revenge. So once I started to go on this rage and this journey of vengeance and really really bad things, I was asking myself, well, actually I think this guy is enjoying the challenge."

The challenge is made even more enjoyable by the people he's fighting against, who are just as clever as he is.

"I think he sees [Claire and Jamie] as good enemies, good people to be fighting against, so I think there is a sort of like almost unhealthy excitement about it, about fighting those two and trying to do some terrible things to them," Weber says. "So when it comes to that last scene and he gets stuck in this thing, I guess yeah, that's fair enough, and he looks at her and he's like, well played. You beat me, and I wouldn't think that anyone could beat me."  

If St. Germain looked like he was having a great time being a villain, that's because Weber really was—in part because of the character, and in part because of the environment on set.

"I was having so much fun with my cane, walking around, taking myself so seriously, being angry at everyone, that was the most enjoyable thing ever," he tells us. "I think acting's all about being deeply connected to your inner child. The child you were back then, he didn't have any boundaries. He was free for real, to do or to try anything. That's even easier when you're working on such an easy and comfortable set."

Weber says he didn't know what to expect, jumping into such a big, global phenomenon of a production, and it took him a while to find that "inner child."

"When you don't have all the layers on that you have in society, walking around on the street pretending to be this guy that you're not—like I was doing the first day on set, I was just smoking a cigarette outside trying to look cool, because this is what we do when we're French—when you get rid of all of this, and your mind is actually much more connected to your heart and your body, there are so many surprising things that can happen, and they're the beautiful things about acting."

Weber's biggest scene this season was arguably his death scene, which is a notoriously hard kind of scene for any actor to pull off. St. Germain's death in particular was extremely dramatic, accompanied by dramatic camera work, and clearly a lot of thought had to go into it.  

"I've seen people on death's bed, but I haven't seen anyone dying live, so it's a very hard thing to imagine," Weber says. "You don't really prepare for that. Yeah, you prepare mentally and you try to of course do some research about what sort of poison it is, what sort of pain it's going to cause. What is going to be the body feeling where the poison is going to get stuck and start to spread in your body? Then, you work in your body language and physically to have a sort of fire spreading in your body so you can actually feel your bones shaking. You don't want to make it impressive or sensational, you just want to make it believable. That's the most important thing, and for that, you just try to stay humble and truthful to the character and to the people around you."

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