Outlander is famous for its sex scenes—but unlike many shows on television, these scenes don’t just serve to titillate and objectify. They’re stories within the story, never superfluous, and always purposeful. They drive character development, and are essential to the relationship between protagonists Claire and Jamie. They’re also just really beautiful to watch, because guess what? Sex is normal and showing it on TV isn’t a big deal!
In celebration of Jamie and Claire finally getting back together (across time and space, no less) in Outlander’s upcoming episode, MarieClaire.com spoke to cast members and creators about the making of the show’s four most memorable sex scenes.
The Wedding: Season 1, Episode 7
In what’s probably Outlander’s most iconic and visually stunning sex scene, Claire and Jamie make love for the first time in order to consummate their marriage. The room is bathed in soft light, and filmed with a male and female gaze in mind—with equal time spent undressing and highlighting both characters. Filming the scene took several days, and it was intricately choreographed.
Anna Foerster, Director: “I think we were five days in the wedding chamber—and not just the sex scenes, everything leading up to them, too, all the connective tissue. There are moments where you do maybe two takes, and you’re fine. But then we did pick-ups—I’d choose several angles and within those pick a moment and film it several times. For example when Claire walks around Jamie and traces her hand around his back, it was very important to get the fluidity and sensuality. We’d shoot a pick-up like that as many as six times, and [sometimes] I’d talk to the cast and camera operator while shooting.”
Matthew B. Roberts, Producer: “We tried to make it like any other scene because you don’t want to make the actors feel different than they would otherwise. But as the production, we were careful with how we prepped the scene—we gave it much more attention without a doubt. They were choreographed, we got rehearsal, the lighting in the room was tested, there were tests on what the costumes would look like. We don’t always do that for every scene, there’s not enough time. What we normally do for intimate scenes like this is rehearse first, prior to the day. You want the actors to be comfortable with the moves they’re making—you have to let them be free to open up in front of the crew.”
“We taped out the floor plan of the wedding chamber, and went through a very specific choreography.”
Anna Foerster: “It’s a huge responsibility to make the actors feel safe. Part of the way we achieve that is through rehearsal time—which is not always possible on television. We spoke very clearly about what the moments were, what the emotional beats were–and then we did something very technical and specific: We taped out the floor plan of the wedding chamber, and went through a very specific choreography, movement by movement. The actors felt comfortable—they knew where to move, which direction to fall on the bed, how their hair was falling so I could capture it—it’s very technical.”
Matthew B. Roberts: “We always close the set and have the bare minimum of crew—just the two actors, camera operators, and costumers. We also close the monitors to just the director, the creative producer, writer, and director of photography. During a normal scene you have open monitors and as many as 50 people wandering around doing things.”
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