Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser in Outlander, was the ‘last to be cast.’Suzanne Smith, Outlander’s casting director, for advice on how to cast one of the show’s most challenging roles.Television and RadioHOME CELEBRITY NEWSMedia, Entertainment, and TelevisionTelevision and Radio
Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser in Outlander, was the ‘last to be cast.’ Spoke with Outlander’s casting director Suzanne Smith about one of the show’s most challenging jobs.
Promo for the second half of Outlander Season 7 on STARZ
Caitriona Balfe, an Irish actress, rose to fame after portraying time traveler Claire Fraser in the film Outlander. The Daily Express takes a look back at the beginnings of Outlander as the show approaches its ten-year anniversary since filming began.
Suzanne Smith, the famed casting director behind Band of Brothers, Carnival Row, and Good Omens among many more films and TV shows, explained how Caitriona Balfe came to play Claire in an exclusive interview with Daily Express.
While Sam Heughan’s casting was a breeze, Balfe’s was not, and he was one of the final actors cast for the program just weeks before production began.
Balfe, 44, is most recognized for her role in the Starz series of the same name, for which she has received multiple award nominations. The process of casting Claire, however, was anything from simple. After his appearances in The Beauty Inside and H+, Balfe was largely unknown.
As you and the fans are well aware, she was the final person to audition and be considered for the role,” Smith remarked.
Again, we looked everywhere, and her agent delivered an audition tape that I foolishly forgot to delete from my computer.
After receiving suggestions from the casting director, Balfe re-shot the tape with the celebrity in order to win over Smith and the producers. A short chemistry read between Balfe and Heughan in Los Angeles sealed the deal for the actress.
Sometimes it’s the first and sometimes it’s the last and the stars aligned,” Smith pondered. Because the books are so vivid, when you read things you picture who is performing the roles and who you see, which makes my job as a casting director all the more exciting.
Actors aren’t always available, have the money for them, big, big names, so it was very lucky, but I always find it quite interesting who they think should be in the roles.
Having chemistry between our leads was crucial, especially because this is a love story, and they passed the chemistry read with flying colors. They have a wonderful friendship.”I can’t believe we’ve done seven seasons, it’s wonderful and we’re going to do an eighth,” Smith continued.
Balfe’s career has taken off since his breakout role in Outlander, with recent credits including Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Oscar-winning drama Belfast and the similarly acclaimed Le Mans ’66.
She and Heughan have also joined the Outlander production team as executive producers. For the remainder of the second half of season seven, Balfe has even stepped into the director’s chair.
In addition to her duties as dual lead, she will once again serve as director for the eighth and final installment.
Starz and Lionsgate+ both offer all seven seasons of Outlander for streaming in the United States.