I always enjoy watching Dan Stevens in interviews, but my favorite by far is Off Camera with Sam Jones. 54 minutes filled with talk of imagination, voice acting, and career trajectory. in black in white.
when I sit down to watch it, I settle in with anticipation and am instantly entranced. the first subject to be discussed? accents. I’m in love already! Dan talks about not just learning the lines on the page with a particular accent but the physicality that comes with learning an accent, the way you hold your body and how the sounds sit in your throat. Sam asks if he’s ever practiced an accent by pretending to be that character in public. Dan says that he has, though it’s harder now that he’s recognizable and people already know what he sounds like. he goes on to say how much he enjoys that aspect of acting, the researching of a character:
“I like the feeling of working. I like the sense of exploration, of research. I like feeling like I’m learning. If I’m fulfilling a character properly, in my mind, I’m learning something about the world, about people, about the way things have always been done, or the way that things might be done. I feel like I’m absorbing new information and sort of feeling my way out through this particular character.”
we’re off to a good start, because I love accents as well. and research! our ideas of research differ a little though in that my subject of choice is Dan himself… next up is the concept of imagination. Sam references an essay Dan wrote about an Invisible Watch
the way Dan’s eyes light up when he talks about the sound effects of radio plays and how that engages our imagination. first accents, and now imagination and sound effects? they are speaking my language! the talk of radio plays moves into discussing theatre and how Dan didn’t train by going to drama school, but rather from performing with The Peter Hall Company, learning on the job instead:
“Through the formal training that I got from Peter Hall, I learned that speaking verse, doing Noël Coward, is very precise, tersely written dialogue. The tempo of that and finding the musicality of great writing is something that he really taught me. That really played into learning the rules, and then, learning how to break them.”
the musicality of writing. I really like that description. they talk about Legion a bit, and then Dan says something that I find very interesting. he says that he makes project choices with specific people in mind:
“It might be a small group of friends, one friend, my wife, or my kids. But there will be somebody that I’m picturing, almost like I’m handing them the DVD and being like, “I was thinking about you when I made this.” That helps me focus my choices, but it also leaves me open to doing different things in different ways.”
he goes on to say that you’re not going to please everyone all the time, especially now when the internet makes it so easy for people to say how terrible they think things are. he brushes that off by knowing that the person he made it for liked it and that makes him happy. that’s nice, isn’t it? Dan, if you want to make something for me, I’d like a comedy about your shoes. Katherine Heigl did ’27 dresses’, you could do ‘a Legion of Doc Martens’! a mad idea, maybe. speaking of madness:
“If you find another mad person who thinks you’re maybe not so mad, that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
*hugs all my fandom friends*
They touch upon Dan’s time at university, when he tried his hand at stand up comedy. during the course of this part of the conversation Sam asks Dan if he thinks he’s an extrovert. Dan is a little evasive about it at first, joking that it depends upon what room they’re in, how big the room is, how many people are in the room, but then he admits that he’s not someone who needs to be the center of attention. watching him answer that question confirms what I’ve suspected- even though Dan can be a real ham, there’s shyness underneath.
They talk about the ‘big move’ next, when Dan left Downton Abbey and moved to America (which, by the way, the internet still can not seem to shut up about. if I had a dollar for every time I saw someone tweet how mad they still are at Dan for this, I could have my own Doc Martens collection). he came for a play (The Heiress), stayed for a movie (A Walk Among The Tombstones) and then settled into Brooklyn to stay (until he moved to LA earlier this year). I always think of his wife when this discussion arises, moving across the ocean with two very small children, for something that isn’t a sure thing. Dan is sure to emphasize how much her support means to him:
“having a partner in life who meets that mad idea and doesn’t run in the other direction, but says, That’s kind of beautiful. I want to come on that adventure.” … “Having the love and support of somebody who can hold your hand through those difficult moments where you realize it’s going to be okay, something good is going to come out of this—that’s a wonderful thing.”
They close the interview by talking about Beauty and The Beast, how Dan found the right voice for The Beast and if the singing aspect of the film was intimidating. Dan talks about the tool bag of an actor here, how it used to be that every actor had a bag of skills that he automatically brought with him, singing, dancing, acting, being able to have fun and then be able to cry, etc. and that’s the way he still looks at it. he wants to be the type of actor who can rise to the challenge and keep adding to his skill set. with a career as varied as Dan’s: sci-fi, period dramas, crime thrillers, comedy, horror, and a tool bag that contains acting, singing, dancing, narrating, writing, he can give those Golden Age of Hollywood actors a run for their money.
It may seem like I recounted the entire interview here but I didn’t. it’s well worth a watch. and another. and another. go download it (it’s only $1.49). you know you want to…
This is a ‘bookmark’ post for me, a collection of Dan Stevens related videos that I’ve found and want to keep coming back to, gathering them in one place to make it easier to view when I need a fix. My bookmarks and ‘likes’ on social media become so chaotic when I start a new crush. Some things I mark because I like them and want to keep coming back to them, other things I mark because they look interesting but I haven’t viewed them yet, while others I mark to remind me to watch more of that type, etc. It all becomes a bit disorganized and confusing! I’ve only touched the very tip of the ice-berg in relation to Dan, so these are just some of my favorites at the moment.
Dan Stevens:reading Madame Bovary
a series of videos presented by ‘Carte Noire’ coffee, where Dan reads excerpts from classic books. I find them greatly enjoyable for the combination of his reading voice and eye contact. ‘I need your eyes, your voice, your thoughts.’ too true!
Dan Stevens- guilty man crush
at the 2013 GQ Man of the Year awards, Dan was asked who his man crush is. his quick thinking response and dry delivery are priceless, as are his piercing blue eyes when he looks straight at the camera.
Interview with Dan Stevens, Narrator of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein audiobook
I love hearing these snippets showcasing the ‘old Hollywood’ voice Dan uses to narrate this book. I’ve never read this classic myself but his description of the story makes me want to.
a scene from Dan’s FX show ‘Legion’, where he plays the banjo and sings ‘The Rainbow Connection’. his character is terrified in the moment shown, which is why his voice is all shaky, but I’ve always loved this song. the way Dan’s long legs are drawn up into that sitting position, reminiscent of Kermit the Frog, makes me smile big!
Dan speaks French
promo for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ where Dan answers a few questions related to France. his pronunciation sounds lovely to my ear, and his facial expressions during the ‘cemetery’ answer are funny.
he speaks German too. here’s a link to apress conference for the film ‘Hilde’, where he answers a question in German.
Vanity Fair: in conversation with Dan Stevens ‘The Guest’
(note: this interview snippet cuts off before any mention of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, like the video title suggests)
Dan looks very sharp in his suit here and his eyes are lovely. and now I kind of want to record myself reciting ‘The Gettysburg Address’ in my accent, just to see what it sounds like.
The Guest- Locker Scene
scene from Dan’s movie, ‘The Guest’. I’ve cued this fanvid to show the point when David’s demeanor transforms from normal to menacing by just using his eyes and a slight shift of his lips. it’s creepy and impressive.
Dan Stevens-GQ Men of the Year awards Red Carpet with Tom Hiddleston
just a short fuzzy moment where old friends give each other a hug. I like hearing Dan call Tom’s name in surprise and then Tom affectionately calls Dan ‘gorgeous’.
confession- I’ve started each day this past week by watching these 4 fanvids while I eat breakfast:
only dan stevens(multi character)
I’ve only seen a few of these characters so far but the shots chosen are pleasing, and the song fits my thoughts perfectly at the moment.
Sydney & David- As Long As You Love Me (Legion)
David and Syd’s relationship in ‘Legion’ is so cute and swoony. Syd can’t touch others so instead of holding hands they hold onto a ribbon of cloth between them, and they ‘kiss’ by using their reflection in the window. the song chosen is beautiful too.
The Guest- Dan Stevens- The Red Crayon Aristocrat Club
this video and song choice fits the tone of ‘The Guest’ perfectly. the pace and transition between scenes is done really well.
the editing in this vid is superb! really great representation of ‘Legion’.
and I’ll include these pics too, just because:
I don’t know how old Dan is in these pictures or what the backstory is but he just looks so fresh faced and adorable in them!
I love airport pics because they give us an unhindered view into the personal clothing style of our crushes, i.e. the ‘hot mess’ look.
okay, I think that’s a good place to stop. for now.
When I previously shared my history of celebrity crushes on this blog, I left off with Jamie Dornan, knowing that there would eventually be someone new to add to the list in the future. I tend to collect cinematic crushes. I’ll see someone in a movie that really sparks my fancy, which then leads to a manic bout of researching his past roles and getting a feel for his off screen personality through interviews and career related appearances. Sometimes I’ll join fandoms related to him or his characters in order to share my newfound interest with other fans, and other times I’ll just fangirl on my own (i.e. flood my Twitter and friend groups with pictures and videos of said new crush) Some of these crushes burn out after six months or so, while others stick around for years before the shine starts to fade and I get enraptured by someone new. I’ve recently become enraptured by someone new, and his name is Dan Stevens.
Most people know Dan from his time as Matthew Crawley on ‘Downton Abbey’. I am one of the scant few who have never watched that show. not one episode.
I did recently watch a trailer for the series, so I at least know the premise now. I don’t live under a rock, I have heard of it, but I’m always reluctant to jump into anything that’s popular just for popularity’s sake. I’d much rather stumble across it on my own before it’s gained a heavy following, or years later when the hype has died down. So I found Dan through the FX show ‘Legion’ instead.
I really enjoy the Marvel comic book inspired movies. X-Men, Captain America, The Avengers, and to a lesser extent the DC side of things like Superman and Batman. When I started watching Legion, I didn’t realize it was a tie in to the X-men franchise. I saw ads for it during the Superbowl and it intrigued me, so I set the DVR to record the first episode. That first episode was… odd. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue but I gave it a chance, and from the second episode onward, I was hooked. Eventually I realized it was indeed a tie in to the X-men and that ‘David’ wasn’t really crazy but a mutant instead.
I wasn’t familiar with the Legion comics though, so I was pretty much in the dark concerning his story. I just wanted to find out who that creepy dude was who kept popping up in the corner of all his memories, and what the bobble-head was trying to distract us from. It was confusing and trippy and sweet and fun and I just couldn’t get enough of it! I didn’t watch/read any of the press concerning the show, and I’m glad of that. Not knowing beforehand what David was capable of or who his father just so happened to be, made it more exciting for me.
As the 8 episode season of ‘Legion’ was winding down, I Googled Dan Stevens to learn more about who he was. Surprise number one: he’s British! His American accent was superb, I never would have guessed that it wasn’t natural. I have a thing for accents, I find the differences in regional dialects really interesting, so I was impressed with Dan’s ability in this area. Surprise number two: he was portraying ‘The Beast’ in the new live-action remake of Disney’s ‘Beauty and The Beast’ with Emma Watson.
My daughter expressed a veiled interest in seeing it (she’s 12 going on 16, so she didn’t want to seem too interested) after finding out Dan was in it, I agreed to take her. I had seen the animated version but I wasn’t sentimentally attached to it; I was 16 years old when it was released and hadn’t actually seen it until years later. I really like the new version though, I was smiling throughout the whole thing. I happen to love Disney and drag my kids to Disney World every few years, when I’m sure they’d rather go to amusement parks filled with thrill rides instead. I had already started my ‘research’ into Dan by this time and so was trying to spot his personal facial expressions in the beast. I found a few but mostly because I was specifically looking for them. Afterwards I came home and gobbled up all the promo interviews he did for Beauty and The Beast, learning about the physical hardships he had to go through in order to portray this motion capture/CGI version. I was doubly impressed.
Now I was in full ‘research’ mode, hunting down photoshoot pictures, past interviews, and anything that gave me insight into who Dan was. I found his personality infectious
his eyes mesmerizing
his facial expressions addicting
and his talent for voices (and fashion) thoroughly enjoyable.
I had learned that he attended school with the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne. His natural accent sounded posh to the ear but he didn’t seem so in the videos that I was seeing. His presence felt familiar, not intimidating. I know he’s smart, with a literary degree, an online writing publication, and had even been a Man Booker Prize judge, but he seems so unassuming.
Yesterday I decided to watch his 2014 movie ‘The Guest’. It sounded like something I would enjoy, a creepy throwback to a 1980s-style thriller. So I settled down to watch, with apprehensive expectations. I expected cheesy, I expected over the top sound effects, I expected mediocre performances. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, or to be so impressed with Dan’s performance.
The sound effects were over the top, but enticingly so. The humor was subtle, in that delicious way that is sometimes hard to catch. I laughed out loud during so many scenes; maybe I just have a twisted sense of humor. I didn’t find ‘David Collins’ all that creepy. A bit off his rocker, certainly, but I wouldn’t back out of a room he was in.
I particularly liked the scene where David blew up the diner. The choice of background music, his facial expression before he does the deed, and then the way he quickly limps out the door. That whole scene cracked me up! (warning: scene contains gun violence)
I also really liked the pumpkin carving scene. The way David flicks that knife around and the brother’s reaction to it (the brother has great reactions to David’s unstable demeanor) and the advice he gives him about how to go about handling bullies.
The scene where David buys a gun is a high point as well (one of those unexpected moments of violence that made me laugh out loud in shock), and the drink orders before the bar fight scene, can’t forget those!
The shoot out scenes were particularly enjoyable too, a definite throwback to the 80’s. The excessive amount of bullets being bounced around in slow motion, and the way David dives through the window and then army crawls through the house.
Aside from all the fun though, I thought Dan’s acting was very impressive in this, as was his accent. The Southern American accent always seems to trip people up. It either sounds too drawn out, like you’re going to fall off your seat waiting for them to finish a sentence, or it’s a caricature of a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon. Dan’s, on the other hand, was entirely believable and very easy on the ears. I quite liked hearing him talk in that accent. I had to repeatedly remind myself that it wasn’t his real one! Truthfully, if it wasn’t for his striking blue eyes, I wouldn’t have known it was the same guy who portrays David Haller on ‘Legion’.
This crush on Dan Stevens is relatively new for me. I still need to catch up on his past work, read more interviews, see more photoshoots, etc. but I feel very confident placing Dan on my Cinematic Crush list. Since Legion isn’t returning until next year…
I will look forward to his other future projects, and furthering my growing admiration for this talented man.
The person writing the article (Hadley Freeman) seems to know Jamie personally and helps puts those misconceptions to rest.
The only thing worse than a model/actress, the old snarky joke goes, is a model/actor.And I might once have snarked along with that joke, until I met Jamie Dornan. Jamie and I became friends exactly a decade ago, when he was 22 and I was 26 and a mutual friend introduced us at a party. Neither of us, to be honest, was in the best of shape at the time. He was heartbroken after the recent end of his long-term relationship with Keira Knightley (it took about a month before I even saw him smile) and I, meanwhile, was deep in my belief that the way to make the most of my 20s was to get as wasted as possible, as often as possible.But somehow through our own personal fogs, we clicked.
I found out rather quickly, when looking into who Jamie was, that he used to date Keira Knightley. I vaguely recall seeing pics of them together at that time and Jamie being referred to as the “model-boyfriend” of the popular movie actress. When Jamie was younger he seemed to still be growing into his bone structure. I would see one picture of him and think he was really attractive and then see another, and pass right by.
Someone whispered to me early on that Jamie was a model, but I didn’t pay much attention to this information. It wasn’t until I went to New York for fashion week a few months after meeting him and saw him nearly naked on a giant billboard advert for Calvin Klein that I began to think my condescension might have been a tad misplaced. In fact, my new sweet and sweary friend from Belfast was one of the most successful male models in the world at the time, working for Dior Homme, Aquascutum, Zara, Armani and dozens of others. But you would never have known it from talking to him: as much as I tried to goad him by quoting Zoolander, he would just shrug and smile and change the subject. He never mentioned that he had spent the day, say, writhing naked with Gisele or Eva Mendes for a shoot, as most young men might reasonably have done, and in 10 years of knowing him I have never once seen him glance at his reflection in a mirror or window. I’ve never even heard him mention going to the gym.
He’s married now, to film composer Amelia Warner, and father to 16-month-old Dulcie. But when he was single, he was neither a shagger nor a flirt. Though some of my female friends made it very clear they would be happy to do either with him, he simply seemed to have no interest in his looks, or the benefits they could bring.
and that is a suspicion of mine that I’m happy to see confirmed. Jamie was a young man when he first became a model and that career seemed to take off rather quickly for him. When you factor in that he did happen to be dating someone in the movie industry, he had his foot in two very enticing worlds. It would be understandable how certain opportunities could go to your head but from what I’ve seen and read myself, he just didn’t seem to be that type. this thought intrigued me: how could one not be a flirt, oozing confidence about yourself and your body, in the situations that Jamie found himself in? I’ve seen him say in other interviews that he was self-conscious about his body, always having been lanky with a baby-faced look about him. So was he honing his acting craft even back then? or was there a certain kind of inherent charisma present instead? (I think it was both)
Today is the first and only time I’ve seen him wear a fashion freebie; we meet for this interview in a west London cafe and he turns up, having come straight from the golf course, wearing a cap with the slogan “Double Bogey” on the rim. “A golfwear company gave it to me; isn’t it cool?” grins the former face of Calvin Klein.
It wasn’t that he was ashamed of being a model, exactly, just that he knew he wanted to be something else, and that something was, of course, an actor. And to be honest, that puzzled me as much as his fondness for golf. I used to assume that when people said they wanted to be an actor, they really meant that they wanted to be famous. But Jamie didn’t show interest in any of that. He is the only celebrity I’ve met who never namedrops, even now when he is working with A-listers. “I just never thought any of that was relevant,” he says, looking surprised that I find this surprising.
He does have a group of acting friends (including Eddie Redmayne, Rafe Spall and Andrew Garfield), but the only people he ever brings up in conversation are his father and two sisters (his mother died from cancer when he was 16) and the tight group of friends from Belfast he has known since childhood. I couldn’t imagine him hanging out with luvvies in the Groucho, competing about who knows Harvey Weinstein the best. Why does he want to be an actor, I’d wonder? Why not just take the modelling money and spend the rest of his life on the golf course? It never occurred to me that it might be because he was good at acting.
In 2013, I eventually learned that I had underestimated him, when he appeared as Paul Spector, the psychopathic murderer in Allan Cubitt’s acclaimed BBC2 series, The Fall. Jamie, who was almost unrecognisable to me in the role, promptly won several awards. “That show has given me ev-er-y-thing,” he says, with rolling Irish emphasis on the last word. “It’s a serious bit of fucking culture and just such a treat to do. I know that every opportunity I get from now on is because of The Fall.”
Jamie’s Irish accent is mentioned here, and this is something I find particularly enjoyable about him. He still has a nice voice when he tries to disguise the accent but a big part of the essence it brings to him is lost. I think this is what people who aren’t familiar with Jamie and are only seeing clips of him in Fifty Shades of Grey, react to. I see again and again the perception that he’s creepy, arrogant, or just a pretty-boy. that’s due in part to the character he is portraying, of course, who is supposed to be all of those things but Jamie has used that faux accent previously in commercial ads as well. this is why I try to direct others to interviews where he’s speaking in his everyday voice.
A third series of the thriller has just been commissioned although the critical consensus turned during the last season, which was widely panned for plot implausibility. “The thing is, the show had to develop and expand. You can’t just regurgitate what you did in the first series. But then, some people’s argument is that you should stop after the first series,” Jamie says. “But I would happily play Paul for ever and one thing I’m learning is: ‘Ah, fuck it, you can’t please everyone.’ Which is hard for you because you’re a people-pleaser, I say. “Yeah, exactly. And now I’ve chosen a job where I see just how much or little I’m pleasing people!”
I’m afraid you set yourself up for that one, Jamie. Agreeing to portray Christian Grey, with not one but two fandoms already attached (the Fifty Shades book fandom and theTwilight fandom that the book grew out of), is a lot of pressure no matter how you look at it. someone, somewhere is going to find fault with you somehow. always.
There is, though, another character that’s as little like Jamie as The Fall’s serial killer; Fifty Shades’s cold, money-obsessed S&M freak Christian Grey. “I know, I know, that’s the thing,” he says. “I consider myself quite light-hearted, pretty easy-going, and I keep playing sick psychopath bastards! It kinda worries me sometimes how comfortable I am in that zone.”
When it was announced that he had the part in Fifty Shades of Grey, I texted him to say it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. “And I still feel that way myself!” he laughs. “There are times when I’ll be like: ‘Huh, someone made a Fifty Shades movie, that’s funny.’ And then I’ll be like: ‘Wait, I’m the guy?!’
It’s not easy to find a tactful way to ask a friend why he is doing something that you find hilarious but, well, why did he take the part?“You know, I’m not naive as to why people would think it was a bad [career] choice, or why there is a snobbery about it. But I’m also not stupid, and I knew with [director] Sam [Taylor-Johnson], and [cinematographer] Seamus McGarvey, the film would be in safe hands. And, you know, it does no harm to be in a film that makes half a billion dollars.”
When it comes to Fifty Shades of Grey, either you see the love story that’s hidden in those pages or you don’t. If you don’t, then it’s really easy to scoff and make fun. Even if you do, it’s still easy to make fun, but you know why an actor would want to tackle that character. it’s a challenge to find that balance between intimidating and intriguing, between creepy and taboo, between meanness and self-loathing.
Aside from the occasional awkward moment, of course: Jamie recently took Dulcie to a playgroup, which was being held in his local cinema. As they walked in, a screening of Fifty Shades was ending. He held his daughter up in front of his face and used her as a mask until he was safely beyond the Christian Grey fans.
The film has, unsurprisingly, been a massive commercial success, but, just as predictably, not a critical one (“The Guardian’s my homepage, but of course it would give it one star!” he laughs). But in its defence, it is a thousand times better than the book; classier and free of EL James’s verbal diarrhoea. The Daily Telegraph, which loved the movie, described Jamie’s performance as “a good kind of absurd … a cold slate with questioning eyes”. (Jamie, however, prefers to quote his bad reviews.) It is a testament to both the film and the actor that Christian Grey feels like a character at all considering that in the books he’s barely a cipher. I didn’t fall off my cinema seat laughing when Jamie/Christian snarls: “I don’t make love, Miss Steele – I fuck. Hard.” Which surely says something, although I did have to cover my eyes during the sex scenes. “So did my sisters,” he says. “But Dad was well into it …”
Since the film’s release, there have been rumours of discord from the set: that James and Taylor- Johnson hate each other; that Jamie and his female co-star Dakota Johnson loathe one another; that both Taylor-Johnson and Jamie are desperate to get out of the next two instalments. Jamie is far too tactful to comment on personal relations, but is he on board for the next two Fifty Shades shag-a-thons?
“That was always the plan,” he replies with careful wording. And Taylor-Johnson? “The plan was always for her to do them, so hopefully that will happen. But I don’t think it’s going to be imminent.”
More imminent are his other projects. As well as the next series of The Fall, he has a slew of films coming up, including two war movies that he’s shooting back-to-back this year, and an untitled project in which he’ll co-star with Bradley Cooper. Pretty validating for that 22-year-old model who so desperately wanted to act, right? “I know, I know,” he smiles, with an embarrassed tug on his Double Bogey cap. But honestly, I still think he’d be just as happy playing golf.
Outlander, the new Starz television series that premiers tomorrow night (August 9), is based on my favorite book. I have been reading and rereading this series since about 1997, so needless to say, I’m close to the characters. I was delighted when it was announced that the first book was being made into a television show, but I was nervous as well. The fans had been casting future film portrayals for years, some suggestions were exciting to imagine, others- not so much. Now that it was really happening though, who would end up playing my “friends” and how much would the plot be changed or watered down to meet the demands of the venue?
After watching the sneak-peak preview of the first episode I was impressed in some areas (photography and costume design) but disappointed in others (characterization and accents). It seems that the majority of fans love this first episode to pieces. Hmm. Well, here are my thoughts:
Frank Randall: Throughout the series Frank is often thought of as the wrench that gets thrown into Claire and Jamie’s epic romance. why can’t Claire just forget about him and move on? who could possibly choose Frank over Jamie, it’s ridiculous! I’d choose Jamie every time but Claire’s reluctance is not ridiculous. Book-Frank is likable, playful even. Although the problems that are awaiting Frank and Claire’s marriage are foreshadowed, they were happily in love on their second Honeymoon that opens the story. The playfulness is taken away from TV-Frank though and given to Claire instead. What’s left in it’s place is the inference that Frank is fighting inner demons from his time in the war. So Book-Frank, the passionate professor, is now TV-Frank: the vulnerable survivor.
Claire Randall: Claire is sassy and cynical, but most of that stays in Book-Claire’s head. On the outside she appears more stoic and practical, due to her experiences as a combat nurse and being raised by an archeologist uncle. Book-Claire defers when she needs to meet society’s demands but she doesn’t rein in her forward thinking words and actions completely. TV-Claire, on the other hand, seems to be the opposite. I did not like 1940’s Claire much, she seemed like a Hollywood cliche of that time period. I hope my opinion improves when I meet the 1740’s version.
Black Jack Randall: The villain of this story has a very acute first meeting with Claire, right after she unexpectedly travels through the magical Standing Stones. In the book we’re given a teasing glimpse of Jonathon Randall’s personal blend of charisma and sadism. TV-Jack just seems like an entitled military man, now you see him- now you don’t; very disappointing.
Jamie Fraser: Ah, Jamie. The biggest shoes to fill in this story.
As the writer of the book, Diana Gabaldon, warned early on in regards to casting: expecting to see my Jamie- the one inside my head, was not realistic or fair to the actor chosen to portray him. But while this is not my Jamie, he’s an enjoyable substitute. The look and demeanor of this Jamie differs from my Jamie in that he’s not as rugged and has a less natural sounding accent.
Speaking of accents, I’m finding these ones kind of distracting. (I’m particular about accents) The actor who plays Jamie is native to Scotland himself, so while his accent is a bit softer than a Highland one, I think I would have preferred it (book Jamie had traveled a good bit, so not having a strong accent would have still fit into the storyline). The actress who plays Claire is Irish, so her attempt at an English accent is commendable, I’m just being picky. Mrs. Graham’s mishmash of every cartoon Scot though, is a different story altogether…
The photography for this series is beautiful, it really does help to set the tone for the story, like it does in the book. Having just visited Scotland myself a few weeks ago, I can say that the scenery really is that stunning in real life. The care and research taken with costumes is something that needs to be praised as well. It’s so easy to fall into stereotypes when dealing with period dress, let alone when you’re dealing with kilted clansmen. I felt that they stuck to what was appropriate for the time and region rather well.
I’m going to have to put my love for the book aside while watching this series and give it a chance to stand alone. Watching the sneak peak premier episode a second time and doing just that, I was able to see that it is a good set up for the story ahead. We see that Claire really did have a loving husband and so it will be understandable when she goes to the lengths that she does to try and get back to him. But we also felt the chemistry between Claire and Jamie. We witness Jamie’s protective and caring nature that he keeps hidden just under the warrior surface. We see how Claire will use her medical knowledge to remain useful but also as a shield to hide her fear.
So even though I have complaints, I did enjoy this first episode. I didn’t squeal with fangirl glee and faint, like I’ve seen others doing, but I’m not sure I’m really the squealing fainting type to begin with.