the waitress at milliways (fenchurchly) wrote in ontd_sassenach,
the waitress at milliways

Highlights from Ron Moore's 1x16 Podcast (ft. Ira Steven Behr)

Download the podcast HERE. (It also should show up on iTunes eventually)

  • The first sequence of the escape from Wentworth was originally twice as long in early drafts of the script but was condensed for time.

  • The shot of Jamie and BJR on the cot had a lot of discussion around it - specifically how much blood there should be, what the hand would look like, and if there would be full frontal shots of the actors.

  • Ira and Ron both believe that BJR would have held up his end of the bargain and given Jamie an easier death.

  • Ira says Sam seemed "totally cool most of the time" during the shoot, but as each day went by you could "tell what it was taking out of him". He was uncharacteristically serious.

  • Ira says the weight of the shoot emotionally affecting cast and crew alike except for Tobias. Ira says that as soon as they cut a scene Tobias woud be back back to being chatty and talking normally, even though everyone else was in tears.

  • The hallways where the cows ran down were built specifically to stand up to the physical weight, and the cows were very well behaved and good actors ;).

  • Ira says there was one person on set, who he doesn't name, that was terrified of being in the corridor with the cows and "feared the worst".

  • Ron mentions that the book is very vague about how the cow escape actually works and Ira made a small noise like "ugghhh yeah".

  • Originally Ron had planned to keep the aftermath and Jamie's rehabilitation in France, but they would have ended Season 1 right after the escape and them on the boat, and then picked up Season 2 with them at the Abbey.

  • He then decided it made more dramatic sense to deal with the consequences in Season 1, but have the Abbey in Scotland so the sense of danger is not gone until the end of the episode when they are "free" on the boat to France.

  • The inside of the cell at Wentworth and the interior of the Abbey were built on sound stages.

  • The guy playing Marley was down to have rats all over him and didn't move at all. He had a great attitude and was game  for anything.

  • All of the Jack/Jamie scenes were written by Ira with Ron polishing them. Ron had a hard time figuring out the right way to attack the scenes, specifically the moments of rape, so he asked Ira for help.

  • Ira makes a sort of weird/interesting(?) comment about having to think "if this was a woman being abused how would it be written? You have to really go for it... you have to make it really uncomfortable... just because it's this strapping Highlander, this very masculine guy, it doesn't matter. He's being taken advantage of, and it has to be painful to watch".

  • Ron agrees that it can't be shied away from because that would be cheating the story, so in the edit room he kept shots in that were hard to watch but he cut when he felt he had to look away.

  • Ira says (it's not clear which moment he's talking about, it's either where Jack is holding Jamie on the ground or when Jack touches Jamie under his kilt - around 14:00), was a "tough time" for Sam and Tobias - they "really did not want to play this moment" but Ira felt strongly that they had to go "there". "They went for everything that they asked of them", but that scene took a lot of conversation.

  • Ron calls the cast "fearless" and admires that Sam and Tobias opened themselves up so much to vulnerability.

  • Ira talks about the concentration Sam had to keep up for the whole episode and "go to a place in his head that I'm sure was not easy. People were tip toeing around him a lot... he was talking to people, don't get me wrong... but there were one or two places where when he walked off the set" Ira realized Sam needed to be left alone for a moment.

  • The sequence of how Claire set Jamie's hand was taken almost directly from the book and then vetted by a doctor.

  • There was discussion about if non-book readers would get that Claire was pregnant based on her vomitting, or if they would think it was just nerves or a sickness.

  • The scene between Claire and Father Anselm was originally placed later in the script, and was taken in and out of the episode a lot. Diana fought for it they justified keeping it by deciding once Claire had decided Jamie was going to heal physically, Claire would then start to wonder about her mental health/spirituality.

  • Ira loves that while Father Anselm looks so "fire and brimstone", his reaction to Claire's story is so touching.

  • Ron likes that the scene affirms Claire's faith and that the church is a good thing for Claire. He remarks you don't see that on television very often. Ira agrees and says the show gets away with this without making a statement about religion being good or bad because it's a period piece.

  • Originally the redcoats arrived at the gates of the monastery and the Highlanders were preparing to fight them, but Father Anselm talked the redcoats out of coming for Jamie. "Another moment of danger".

  • Ron was very attracted to playing the scene between Murtagh and Jamie in Gaelic without subtitles because he finds a power and beauty in it, even though he acknowledges that since we have Jamie's PoV that subtitles could have been used logically.

  • Duncan and Sam did a lot of rehearsal together and were nervous about doing the scene. "The two of them stood outside the sound stages and kept going over it, again and again".

  • Ron says the BJR/Jamie scene at about 30:00 is all about BJR's motivation - what does he *really* want from Jamie? What has he been obsessed with for years? It's not just a sexual thing.

  • Ira remarks that he cannot think of another television character that has gone through what Jamie has gone through. "We would have never thought of it" if it wasn't in the book, and "even if you reversed it, and it was a woman, in television you wouldn't go to this level either".

  • They had a lot of conversation about what the brand would look like, and to make sure the letters were legible.

  • Ron felt that Jamie branding himself was a turning point - it was a kind of surrender but not the ultimate one, as Jamie deliberately brands himself on a different part of the body than what Jack asked for. "The last gasp of defiance".

  • Ira and Ron both wonder what BJR's limit is - what's his line? Does he have a line?

  • There was originally another subplot where Claire and Murtagh go into the village to negotiate passage on a ship. And on the way back they have an encounter with a red coat patrol, and Claire has to chase after one of them and kill him. This becomes par tof the sin Claire confesses to to Father Anselm. It ended up getting cut for time and money. (OP Note: :( :( :( )

  • Ron and Ira both talk about Willie being the one to keep stepping up to help Jamie and Claire, and how the character really grew from being a flat side character (that was almost cut in early drafts of the show) into something more three dimensional. Ira jokes that Willie is deeply secretly in love with Claire and Ron jokes back that if Jamie weren't around then it might not be such a bad idea!

  • The scene between Murtagh and Claire was scripted differently and took place at a different time in the show, and so most of their conversation is actually ADR and was added in post.

  • Ron loves how the Claire and Murtagh relationship grew on the show, and Ira says Cait and Duncan play off really well together.

  • Ira says originally Murtagh was going to be more like the book and not speak often on the show, be very closed off, but they are glad they expanded the character. Ron says a lot have that had to do with how good Duncan is, and writers reacting to how he played the character.

  • Ira says they saw a lot of actors for Murtagh but as soon as he saw the audition he was immediately the character, it was a no brainer to cast him even though he was "too tall", per the book.

  • There was a lot of rehearsal of the Jamie/Claire fighting it out scene, trying to make sure the breakthrough moment was believeable.

  • Originally the script had it so Jamie's depression was all about being branded. But then they realized that was wrong, and changed it so the real problem is that he found sexual comfort and release from BJR, and feels intense guilt about it.

  • "It was how he felt, it wasn't the action. It was the feeling that got to him", says Ron.

  • Ira isn't sure if it was his idea, or Tobias's to pour the bucket of water of his head in order to make his hair curl like Claire's.

  • Ron remembers watching Tobias and Sam in rehearsal and he says when he saw the moment of BJR taking his hair down and letting it drift over Jamie's face he thought "wow" - that he was legitimately moved by the acting, and the story, and he was sort of surprised that they were actually going to tell this story (not in a bad way).

  • Ira recalls that they had to do the entire scene again because of a glitch, after already telling the actors that they were done. He remembers feeling very badly for Sam because Sam would have to put himself in that head space again.

  • Ira loves the "how could she ever forgive you" line BJR says to Jamie after they finish. He remarks "in terms of Season 2, that is something to remember. That [line] has not left his head". Ron agrees.

  • Ron talks about Jamie's character and how he has so much to come back from - that he is constantly having to re-evaluate his ideas about his own masculinity, truth, power - finding his own limits. Ira remarks that just a few episodes ago he was trying to figure out how to be Laird. How to go from a boy to inhabiting his father's role.

  • Ira says the fight between Claire and Jamie was obviously not as hard to watch as the BJR scenes, but it wasn't easy. Everyone was emotionally exhausted and ready to be done.

  • Ron hates the shot of the brand inthe fire, he doesn't think it looks like flesh.

  • Ron loves the shot on the beach because it's like a giant exhale. We're no longer in claustrophobic, dark spaces.

  • Ira was aware that we would not be seeing some of the Highlander characters for awhile and so he wrote the beach moment to honor them and how important they were to the whole season.

  • Ira spoke to the director about letting Willie be the last one on the beach, watching their boat go off. He thinks Willie leads with his heart and jokes, "kind of like my friend Ron" and Ron laughs.

  • Everyone wanted to hang out on the ship but there were only a certain amount of people allowed on it (Ira and Ron didn't get it to go). Apparently this was actually a blessing for them because it was a terrible day on the boat - there was no food and the bathroom was broken. (OP Note: Now we know Claire's answer at Paley about the boat being her favorite day was a big ol' joke!)

  • Duncan gave Ira shit for putting him on the boat when he's only there to be in the background of the final shot.

  • Ron loves that the episode ends on such a high moment, even after the horrible harrowing journey the characters and viewers have been through.

  • Ira comments that they had originally discussed a different ending (OP Note: We know!) but this felt right. Ron agrees that it is a definite end to the season (the insinuation is that the other ending would have perhaps felt too much like the start of Season 2).

Tags: 1x16, ira steven behr, podcast, ron d. moore
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