Apart from the epic romance between Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Outlander‘s first season was marked by its great storytelling and tragedy. As far as the latter is concerned, Jamie’s imprisonment and sexual assault at the hands of Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) was definitely one of the more shocking and dramatized moments of the season.
In fact, Menzies received a Golden Globe nomination for his overall performance in Outlander, which included the prison rape scene in the “Wentworth Prison” episode. While the hit series gears up for its second season, Heughan and Menzies sat down with Entertainment Weekly and opened up about their approach to the sexual assault scene and its larger role in the series moving forward.
For starters, Heughan explained how he and Menzies worked together for an entire week prior to shooting the episode. They discussed the script and decided on how to act out the brutal piece. Overall, the two actors “approached it a lot like a play,” though when filming began they had to just “go for it.”
For Menzies, the scene was more about the psychological elements than anything physical. Furthermore, the actor emphasized how the rape had to fit into the flow of the story of Season 1 of Outlander, or else it wouldn’t have worked as well as it did.
“It was about trying to get the tone right. I was keen for it to be as psychological as possible. I just didn’t want it to feel sensational… If you’re going to have Jack rape Jamie, you have to really earn that, really get to a place where that scene is within the realm of the story.”
While Menzies said that he did not speak to Heughan in between takes, he added that their mutual trust helped them get through the difficult scene. At the same time, Heughan revealed that his character’s imprisonment and sexual assault went beyond anything physical.
“It’s not about rape. It’s not about the act at all. It’s about two men battling their wills to beat each other… Obviously Claire is involved in this so it’s about honor. It’s about a man’s word and this battle that’s been going on between these two characters ever since day one when Black Jack Randall started this never-ending battle. It’s kind of epic and it continues throughout season 2.”
Indeed, Menzies’ echoed these sentiments and went a step further by revealing some of the motivations behind his character’s actions.
“… That’s when Jack understands how that is the person he has to contaminate. It’s all about, in some weird way, embodying Claire… If he can poison that relationship, then he can undermine who Jamie is in a very profound way.”
In addition to Heughan and Menzies, author Diana Gabaldon also shared her thoughts about the dramatic scene in an interview with Radio Times. Gabaldon began by explaining how the scene served a purpose in the overall story and praised the series for not holding anything back.
“They filmed those scenes pretty much straight out of the book – the scenes in the prison and so forth – and in the book it builds, this conflict which is actually a triangle you might say amongst Claire, Jamie and Black Jack Randall and you see it developing, the dimensions and aspects, through the entire story.”
The new season of Outlander will feature Jamie and Claire leaving Scotland for Paris, France. Although their main goal is to change Scottish history by preventing the Jacobite Rebellion, Jamie’s past demons will definitely come back to haunt them.
Outlander’s second season is to air on April 9 on Starz.
Tell us! Do you think that Jamie Fraser’s brutal rape and torture by Black Jack Randall will carry over into Outlander Season 2? Let us know in the comments, and check out the latest trailer below.
[Image via Starz]