Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe shares bosses’ concerns over her playing Claire ‘Too skinny’
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Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan portray Claire and Jamie Fraser, the devoted couple at the heart of Diana Gabaldon’s internationally successful Outlander franchise. With a new season coming out on Starz soon, Caitriona has revealed she wasn’t always considered the perfect actress for the job.
Claire Fraser star Caitriona revealed some of Outlander’s producers were worried her body type wasn’t quite right for the series’ protagonist.
The now BAFTA-nominated Irish star was cast in the role back in 2013, shortly after Sam was announced to be playing author Diana’s Scottish romantic hero, Jamie Fraser.
While fans have grown to love their on-screen romance, Caitriona was concerned she may not match up to readers’ vision of Claire in the books.
“Claire is often talked about as having a very plump rear end and I know they felt I was too tall and too skinny,” she admitted to RadioTimes.
Caitriona first broke onto the scene as a model, before landing small roles in films like The Devil Wears Prada and Super 8.
She undertook her most prominent performance to date when she was cast in the Starz series and will return in at least two more seasons of Outlander.
Despite Claire being described as being five foot six and slightly plumper in the books, fans have looked past the physical differences and Caitriona has been accepted as the definitive version of the character.
Caitriona also revealed she hadn’t worked for four or five months before landing the role, and even had to ask her sister to lend her money for rent.
She was left with no official qualifications after dropping out of her drama course in Dublin to become a model, and only had a handful of credits to her name.
Thankfully, despite the producers’ concerns, Caitriona’s chemistry with co-star Sam was undeniable and she signed on to her biggest role to date.
Teasing the upcoming season, which premieres this Sunday, the actress confirmed fans will get to see a side of Claire that has yet to be explored in the series so far.
“Season five ended in a very dark place,” she recalled.
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“We see Claire experience a horrific attack and rape. In season six we explore her recovery, which is important.
“We see her unravel in a way we’ve not seen before but she eventually becomes stronger and emotionally healthier.”
Claire and Jamie’s return to screens, still defending their home on Fraser’s Ridge, is now one of the most highly anticipated TV events of the year after two years of ‘Droughtlander’.
Although the series and its cast have grown even more popular with each new season, Sam admitted there were similar concerns about his look when he originally signed on.
Author Diana is well-documented to have called the Scottish heartthrob “grotesque” when she first saw he was up for the role.
“I wasn’t the Jamie she expected,” he admitted. “But when she saw my audition, she thought I transformed into him.”
The producers at Starz thankfully decided to take a chance on the two relative unknowns, and their passionate performances as the Frasers have helped catapult the sequel to international acclaim.
Outlander season 6 premiers Sunday, March 6 on Starz in the USA and StarzPlay in the UK.
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