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It has been more than five years since Starz’s time-travel drama TV series, “Outlander,” premiered on television and the stars of the top-rated and critically-acclaimed show are looking great.

Scottish actor Sam Heughan, 39, and Irish actress Caitriona Balfe, 40, have remained looking youthful. The two talented thespians, in fact, are the same humble and charming actors we interviewed more than five years ago.

Sam, who portrays the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, and Caitriona, who plays the role of the married former World War II nurse Claire Randall who in 1946 finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, have now also taken the roles of producers of the show.

Renewed for the fifth and sixth seasons with the fifth premiering last February, “Outlander” is a historical drama TV series that was based on the novel series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon.

We recently talked to the “Outlander” stars and below are excerpts of our interviews.

What’s your relationship to Claire?

Well, I’m very protective of her. I think that’s sort of the first thing that comes to mind but, you know, it’s hard to know because I spend so much time playing her.

We shoot for 9, 10 months of the year and more of my waking life these days is playing Claire quite often than not, but I think her confidence and her forthrightness has definitely installed some of those attributes in me.

I have a tendency to be shy sometimes and with playing Claire, that’s given me a confidence or her just sort of can-do attitude has definitely rubbed off on me a little bit and that’s in the best way.

You have been to some amazing locations. Is there still an adrenaline rush?

We shoot this season in quite different locations than we have before. Obviously we’re making Scotland double as North Carolina and so the type of places that we’re shooting are quite different.

I think before in Seasons 1 and 2 it was a lot of highland and rugged and now we’re in much more pastoral kind of beautiful fields with these ancient trees and much kind of grander rivers and that’s what’s surprising, because Scotland has all of these things and as an Irish person who is an honorary Scot, I suppose at this point, it’s amazing.

At the end of the season this year we shot at a place called Dunkeld and it looked like something from “A River Runs Through It,” and it’s breathtaking how beautiful it is and that’s one of the really fortunate things about shooting in Scotland even though it’s not technically Scotland anymore.

One of the allures of this show is the romanticism of it so how much more of a romantic has the show made of you?

You’d probably have to ask my partner but I don’t know. It definitely has to rub off. I don’t think you can even if you’re simulating those great big emotions. When you feel it and when you experience it then you want more of that in reality, right and I feel very lucky that also through this show that I managed to meet the love of my life, so it’s probably made me more of a romantic for sure.

Do you ever get annoyed with Sam and vice versa?

We actually very rarely do we ever even get annoyed with each other, which is quite astounding considering that we do work so closely together. His time keeping can sometimes irk me when I’m left standing waiting for him quite often.

I probably boss him around a bit so that probably irks him about me but we made a very conscious decision in the very beginning when we started the show that we were the only two people who would understand each other’s experience and that if we had each other’s backs throughout this because we didn’t know what it was going to be but we knew that we had to stick together as a team.

We have done that and it’s so important. I can’t imagine having done a show of this magnitude for this long without having a partner with us and it’s made it easier 100% and I’m very grateful for that.

If you can pick a character for an “Outlander” spinoff, or a whole group of characters to interact with, who would it be?

They’re talking about doing the John Grey because it’s obviously a book series but who would I like to see? We used to always joke that there was like a Mrs. Fitz series where she just holes up in a room sewing all of these costumes for Claire because she just arrived and all of a sudden had this wardrobe of about 50 things.

Geillis would probably be a really good spin-off. That whole story to find out where the Geillis and Dougal love story and all of her witchcraft and how she really and all the husbands she’s killed I mean that would be quite interesting. I don’t know. I’d watch it.

Can you bring us to that moment when you started on the show and the journey that you took and how it has changed you? What were you afraid of and what was groundless?

There’s one photo I remember so particularly. It’s myself, Tobias, Sam, Graham and Lotte and we were all just like, what is going on. This is crazy and it was so exciting because we didn’t really know what the reception was going to be, and I can’t remember if the show had just started airing or it was just about.

I think it was just about to because we had our premiere there and we’d been so sequestered away in Scotland making this show and when you’re so in it, you don’t really get a sense of how it’s going to look because the day to day is just coming so fast and so quickly that we had only seen an episode or something at that point too.

Before that I had been in L.A. for about four years and I had done maybe three or four jobs. Two of them, I didn’t speak and it was such a wild moment because it was like all of this. I’d worked so hard. I’d always dreamed that I would be able to support myself as an actor and it was just really exciting and it was fun that we had such good friends to go through it with as well and there was a lot of drinking too. But it was all about things. It’s mad to look back on that now.

As a producer, what was that like for you to straddle in front of the camera and have a say in how things were interpreted?

This season, we got our producer credit very late after the books – after the story had already been broken and first couple of scripts had already been written.

Obviously, we get early drafts and we get to give our notes and things like that but what was important to me this season was to learn and to see where I can be of help and what I can do to be of benefit to the production.

Towards the end especially the last few episodes where Claire has a very strong storyline, it was really great that I got to be very integral into some of the choices about how that episode was going to be told and I worked very closely with Jamie Payne who was our director just on how to tell this particular storyline in a new but very sensitive way. It was really interesting.

You have to have two different hats because obviously looking at things just as an actor, as a character is very myopic in one way and as a producer you have to have an overview and understand that the reasons for doing certain things might have a cost reason or a time reason or location reasons. It’s been great and I’ve expanded my horizons. I feel that my investment in the show and I suppose what I get from the show has expanded as well with the role expanding so that’s really nice. [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.
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