Outlander: How did Caitriona Balfe feel about Sam Heughan during first meeting?

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Starz drama Outlander has cemented the star status of its two lead actors Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. Outlander is adapted from the novels by Diana Gabaldon with the two actors playing Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. With each season of Outlander, the show’s popularity has grown further, and they have become household names – Heughan is even touted to become the next James Bond.

When the show was initially in development, the programme-makers went through a rigorous casting process to find the perfect pair to play Jamie and Claire.

However, they had initially thought it would be easier to cast Claire because she was a strong, modern and independent woman.

The producers believed it would be tougher to find the Highlander hero to embody Jamie.

Ironically, their assumptions turned out to be wrong and the reverse was true with Heughan being cast days into the process.


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On the flip side, the show was only days away from starting filming when Balfe was cast as Claire after the programme-makers had seen numerous actresses.

As part of casting Balfe, she did a script reading with Heughan which saw the two actors meeting for the first time.

The video of their audition together has ended up online with the two performing a scene in a bid to see if the chemistry was right between them.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly back in 2017, Balfe reflected on her first impression of Heughan during this chemistry read.

She said: “I remember I was running a tiny bit late, which is never a good thing for a test.

“But I just remember Sam being very calm and very sweet and he was just very friendly.”

The Irish actress went on to say: “And there didn’t seem to be – I mean, I’ve said this a million times – but some people, who walk into a room and they’re very poser-y and they’ve got a lot of ego and there’s a lot of posturing.”

She added with a quip: “That didn’t come until much later with him.”

Summing up, Balfe said: “At the beginning, he was very, very sweet. I just remember him being a very calming influence and it was helpful when I walked into that room and I was very nervous. Because he’d already got the job at that point.”

While Heughan shared his thoughts, saying: “I just remember, we did the scene by the water in season one – I can’t remember what episode.

“But it’s a very big scene of the book and they basically sort of gave us the book to do.

“It was like seven or nine pages or something, it was a big scene and it got very physical like it tends to on this show.”

He joked Balfe was “p***ed off” when he went in to give her a bear hug.

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From the chemistry test video, it appears the two actors got on with each other from the start and they proved to be a hit with the producers.

Balfe and Heughan have made a formidable onscreen pairing with their chemistry having fans swooning.

Not on this, but they have become heavily invested in their characters. In the last season, the actors also earned producer credits for their work on the show.

In fact, the two were key in the look of the penultimate episode of season five which saw Claire suffer a horrific sexual assault ordeal.

To deal with the trauma, she disassociated herself from her reality and this interpretation was something the actors wanted to convey in a stylistic and sensitive manner.

Their pairing continues to go strong with work now taking place on season six of Outlander.

While there will be questions over when the series is going to be airing, Balfe and Heughan are going to have a big role in the show going forward behind-the-scenes now – as well as in front of the camera.

Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video now

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