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When Outlander returns for its fifth season next month, the feeling will be a bit different–at least initially–than previous seasons because Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have been able to spend quiet time at Fraser’s Ridge building their future.

It is as if Jamie has been able to fulfill his destiny. While not the Laird of Lallybroch he was set to be once his older brother died, he can be considered to be the Laird of Fraser’s Ridge, and while Claire is not a medical doctor in the 1960s, she has built quite the surgery in their new home and is tending to patients as best she can in the 1770s.

So, the day-to-day part of their life is moving along nicely, but what does it mean for their passionate love story, which is what drew in readers and TV viewers alike? Are they too settled now as a couple, or is the flame still ignited?

“The circumstances of this season have really allowed us to invest in those relationship moments,” Balfe tells Parade.com “We see a lot more of the intimacy and the passion of Claire and Jamie, because we have that luxury of them being in one place a lot of the time, and it’s so nice. Sam and I have been talking a lot about this today, that we get to see how they work together as a couple, the strains and the pressures of these outside things, but they’re able to come together and touch base with each other and support each other. It’s really lovely to see them just converse as a couple in this supportive and emotionally supportive way.”

But the idyll is broken when Jamie gets called up by Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) in season five to hunt down the Regulators, so they also spend some time apart from each other, even as it is their time together that matters most.

“Claire has her surgery and the dealings going on there, and Jamie has this political side,” Heughan says. “He’s working with the British. But they touch base, and they always need and yearn for each other, and they reconnect. It’s those moments we see that are quite domestic. It’s their home life and it’s actually really touching. And those are the really fun scenes to play, to see them need each other and reconnect.”

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When we are first introduced to Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) in season one of Outlander, the pair are nothing but wee things. The year is 1743 and Claire is 26, about to turn 27. Jamie is 23.

As the intervening seasons, and books, unfurl whole decades go past, time during which their characters get steadily older. When season five begins the year will be 1770, which means that Claire is 54 and Jamie is 50.

Outlander has always taken great pains to ensure that this ageing is reflected in its portrayal of Claire and Jamie. When the pair were reunited in season three at the print shop – an episode burned into every Outlander fan’s brain – both Balfe and Heughan stressed how important it was for the scene to reflect not only the passion of the couple who found their way back to each other, but also their maturity and growth as people. Here are two soulmates who believed they would never gaze upon each other’s face again, miraculously finding themselves together once more. Of course, that’s going to be powerful. But it also has to be realistic.

“We wanted to show that they fall back very quickly into that initial passion for each other, that initial love and lust,” Heughan said in an interview after the release of season three. “But then over time they quickly realise that they’ve become different people, and it is awkward, and it is almost teenage-like, nervous and exciting. It’s fun to watch them rediscover each other.”

By the time the show picks up in season four and, soon, season five, Claire and Jamie are very much in middle age. While this won’t impact their chemistry or passion – “We ALWAYS bring the heat,” Balfe joked on Twitter, when asked the very important question of whether the new season of Outlander will have as many sex scenes as previous outings – getting older does impact how these beloved characters look onscreen.

In early images from season five, both Jamie and Claire are pictured with some grey hair and wrinkles, as befitting a couple now in their early and mid-50s.

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The Outlander actress is all about out-there fashion. If she loves it, she wears it — as it should be.

Let it be known that Caitriona Balfe doesn’t take a red carpet lightly. Case in point: the 2019 Golden Globes, where, among a sea of standard fishtail gowns, Balfe — a four-time nominee for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Claire Fraser in Outlander — turned up in a strapless custom Moschino dress that featured a voluminous burgundy velvet tulip skirt. A less confident woman wouldn’t necessarily opt for a silhouette that balloons at the hips, but Balfe, 40, isn’t afraid of Fashion (with a capital F). “That was probably the most polarizing thing I’ve worn,” she says with a laugh. “But it was different, and I loved it. I always say if I love it, then I’m happy. It doesn’t have to be for everyone else. Some of what I wear is crazy, but it’s good crazy. And if my mom hates it, then I’ve probably done the right thing!”

It wasn’t always this way. High fashion didn’t really enter Balfe’s consciousness until 1999, when she was approached to become a model while studying drama in her hometown of Dublin. She spent the next 10 years hitting the catwalk for such houses as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marc Jacobs before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Going from runway darling to Hollywood ingénue was an adjustment fashionwise. “When you first start, the availability of what you get offered [to wear for big events] is different — you’re just grateful that somebody’s lending you a dress,” she says. “I was fortunate to have had prior relationships with many designers and to get the opportunity to work with them again in a different way.”

Now, with Outlander going into its fifth season on Starz and a major role in the upcoming blockbuster Ford v. Ferrari, out in November (she plays Mollie Miles, the wife of legendary 1960s race-car driver Ken Miles, portrayed by Christian Bale), Balfe has even more opportunities to show off her fashion prowess, although comfort is essential. “I’m never going to do a 20-foot train because I need to be able to get from point A to B and go to the bathroom by myself,” says the actress, who works with stylist Karla Welch to prepare for the red carpet. “Plus, there’s no point in walking out the door in something that doesn’t make you feel great. If you don’t wear something with confidence, it doesn’t matter how it looks.”

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Starz’s centuries-spanning romance drama Outlander won’t air any new episodes in 2019. The series will return in early 2020, Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch said at TCA Friday.

He was asked to address the decision to delay the premiere of Season 5, based on the fifth in Diana Gabaldon’s series of novels, which is well into production having started filming two months ago.

“The decision behind everything that we do in terms of our programming schedule, is based on delivery schedules,” Hirsch said. “We try to have something on the air to serve the premium female audience. We have some shows coming before that serve the Power audience.”

The supersized final season of Starz’s biggest series, Power will air in two parts, 10 episodes starting Aug. 26 and five in January 2020, network’s programming boss Carmi Zlotnik said today.

Long breaks are not unusual for Outlander. Since switching to 13-episode seasons in Year 2, the show has taken 17 months between the Season 2 and Season 3 debuts and 14 months between the Seasons 3 and Season 4 openers. Season 4 of Outlander premiered in November 2018. [Source]



As the latest episode sets the show on a new course, Balfe reflects on four seasons with Claire and looks to the future.

On December 30, 1996, Delacorte Press released Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon’s stealth blockbuster Outlander series. Tonight, 22 years to the day of publication, the most anticipated, beloved, compelling, and frustrating scenes in that book come to life on the series’ wildly popular TV adaptation. Though the episode revolves around the shaky dynamic between a young woman and the father she’s never met, it’s the mother, Claire Fraser, and the woman who plays her, Caitriona Balfe—the series’ linchpin, the gravitational force keeping the Outlander world on track and viewers coming back for 51 episodes and counting—who quietly shapes the hour.

Titled “The Birds and the Bees,” the episode focuses on 20th century-born Brianna Randall Fraser (Sophie Skelton) tracking down her mother Claire (Balfe) and father Jamie (Sam Heughan) in 1769 North Carolina. A thorny communion plays out between the stubborn, 1970s-shaped American and the Scottish Highlander father she’s meeting for the first time. Confused? Welcome to the world of Outlander, in which a certain subset of the population can travel through time with the help of specific prehistoric monuments. More on that in a bit.

This is what fans who devour Gabaldon’s books and track cast members’ every move (a fandom the New York Times describes as “one of television’s most passionate fan bases”) have waited more than two decades for: Claire and Jamie, the textbook “perfect couple,” reunited with their long-lost daughter to complete the Fraser family unit. “When Brianna comes back, you see Claire look around the table like, Oh my God. I’ve finally been able to have it all,” Balfe explains over the phone from LA after a dizzying month spent promoting Outlander’s fourth season.

It’s an image Claire never allowed herself to imagine, and the road to this moment is paved with three-and-a-half seasons’ worth of timeline-hopping and tangled family trees. To quickly recap: In 1946, Claire, an English World War II nurse, accidentally travels to 1743 through a group of mystical standing stones in the Scottish Highlands. Though married in her own time, Claire weds a Highlander, Jamie Fraser, for protection, and they fall in love. Two years and a half-dozen life-threatening adventures later, Claire returns to the 20th century pregnant with Brianna. She’s fleeing the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, the Scottish conflict with the British that spells the end of Highland culture—and where Jamie plans to die alongside his comrades.

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Caitriona Balfe grew up in a tiny village in Ireland and took off for Paris at age 19 when she was signed to a modeling contract. That was years before she became known to TV fans as Claire Fraser, the time-traveling heroine of Outlander, the Starz show based on Diana Gabaldon’s popular series of books, which begins its fourth season on November 4.

The 39-year-old actress, who is newly engaged to Irish music producer Tony McGill and working on a new movie about car racing in the 1960s, Ford v. Ferrari, recently talked to Parade about avid fans and growing up a “ballsy” girl.

What were Sundays like growing up in Ireland?

Sundays always started with my mom bribing us [Balfe, her three brothers and three sisters] to get out of bed. She makes the most incredible homemade brown bread and scones. She’d bring us up tea or coffee and scones and then we would be dragged out of the house to go to Mass.

And afterward?

We’d have a big noisy lunch and then everyone retreats to their corners. There was always a lot of reading, or if TV was on, I’d watch Formula One racing with my dad. It was always quite a noisy, big family day because everyone was in the house.

In your house, the girls outnumbered the boys.

Yes, and in more than just numbers. My sisters are all quite strong. Ballsy is another word. I think the boys just did what they could to survive.

What’s a typical Sunday like for you now?

I’m a big brunch person, so I drag myself up, then find the best brunch place close by. I love to get the newspaper and sit around and read. If I can get a walk in, that’s always really nice. Sundays are supposed to be a guilt-free day where you can just relax, but usually there’s a little bit of homework to be done, especially if we’re filming Monday.

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Sam Heughan isn’t the only one who gets to perform all the cool stunts.

At the end of Sunday’s episode of Outlander, “Heaven and Earth,” the script called for Claire (Caitriona Balfe) to quite literally take a leap of faith off of the Porpoise to help Jamie out of another jam. That meant a night of airborne action — and plenty of fun — on the show’s South Africa set last March.

“I did some rehearsals when we got there,” Balfe recalls to EW. “I was jumping off the side [of the ship] onto a cherry picker with a crash mat about 15 to 20 feet down. I was doing my jumps and climbing back up. It was really fun. It’s not an insignificant jump and you’re landing on a cherry picker, which is up in the air. They always want to make sure that everything’s done safely so I won’t break a leg and shut down production.”

Before making the jump, Balfe uttered Claire’s signature line of dialogue, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” It’s an expletive that comes in handy during moments of anxiety or frustration, but it’s not always so easy to deliver.

“It’s a funny one because when you read it in the book, you go through it fast in your head, but it’s a quite a mouthful to get out in moments of frustration when we would normally say ‘s—’ or ‘Christ,’” Balfe says. “In season 1 we had a lot more of them. The writers realized its not as succinct or doesn’t fit in as well as maybe when you read it in your mind. But it’s such a classic line from the books that we do try to find places for it. It would be a shame to lose it completely. We definitely don’t have a quota, but we try to retain fan favorite things as much as we can.”

Though Claire and Jamie make landfall in episode 11, they won’t stay safe or, ahem, dry for long.

“This is not a Caribbean vacation for Jamie and Claire,” teases executive producer Matthew B. Roberts. “There are no umbrella drinks going on here. There is an umbrella, but it has nothing to do with a drink. It is rough going for both of them.” [Source]

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Outlander

Role: Claire Randall
Release Date: 2019
An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.
Ford v Ferrari

Role: Mollie Miles
Release Date: 2019
American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
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