A face from the past returned to “Outlander” on Saturday night.
After Prince Charlie forged Jamie Fraser’s signature on a document that declared the Lallybroach Laird’s support for King James’ claim to the throne, Jamie and Claire were forced to visit his grandsire, Lord Lovat, in Episode 208 (“The Fox’s Lair”) as part of their new plan. And there, while they worked to get Lovat on the side of the Bonnie Prince (their aim now to make the rebellion successful), Claire ran into Laoghaire MacKenzie, played by actress Nell Hudson.
“Obviously, she’s not in the second book, so for her to appear in series two was as much a surprise to me as I’m sure it will be to the fans,” Nell told Access Hollywood while discussing her character’s return.
“It was so much fun going back and seeing everyone, catching up with everyone,” she added. “It really is like seeing family.”
Access Hollywood spoke with the actress about her character’s appearance in “The Fox’s Lair” episode, Laoghaire’s apology to Claire, and the young MacKenzie’s continuing feelings for Jamie.
AccessHollywood.com: How much fun did you have delivering [your last line in the episode] — the slight pause, and about, ‘I hope I can earn your forgiveness… and your love.’
Nell Hudson: It was really fun playing with it because obviously it was fun sliding the scale between sinister and earnest, you know what I mean? It was something that me and Mike Barker, the director, sort of figured out in the moment, was how much that should be kind of quite ominous and how much that should just be a kind of… tender thing of her still feeling head over heels crazy in love with him. And hopefully it landed somewhere in the middle…,in that it’s a very sweet, innocent, pure love that she has for him, but at the same time, she’s a very willful girl and makes it her mission to get what she wants, as you know.
Access: Let’s talk about your [character’s] apology [to Claire]. Do you think she means any of it or she’s conning herself into thinking she means any of it?
Nell: Yeah, I think you’re kind of on the money there with conning herself into thinking it, in that it’s not sold. It’s more that she believes her own lies. I think that she really wants to earn forgiveness and I think she’s striving for penitence. And I think she really wants to believe it, like you say, and does believe it and then it’s only kind of seeing Jamie again that she realizes, who’s she kidding? She still loves him and all this kind of pseudo humility isn’t really real. It’s kind of an act. But she’s believing herself. She’s in denial. I don’t think it’s a lie as much as she’s in denial with herself.
Access: As the feelings start to reblossom for her [after] seeing Jamie again, do you think that’s when she sort of pivots and the sort of hate springs anew for Claire at that point?
Nell: Definitely. It was another thing that we played with at the time of filming it because as an actor, you read the scripts and you have an idea about how genuine your character is being and then you get to set and the director and the writers might have a completely different idea about that and it was a matter of figuring out where exactly the tone was going to be about how manipulative she still is and how earnest she might be being in her apology and everything.
Access: She’s not into Simon is she? Or do you think at some point in the episode she respects him or even likes him at all?
Nell: Yeah, I definitely think when he does eventually stand up for himself, there’s a moment of thinking, ‘Oh, hello!’ But, yeah, but no, not really. It was such a fun scene to shoot – him reciting the poetry to me, and that kind of awkward… conversation of, ‘Do you like mushrooms?’ It was a lot of fun to shoot and James Harris, who plays young Simon, was a dream to work with. He’s so funny and talented, and we’re really good friends now, which was so nice. … So, I don’t think she really fancies him at all. And Jamie’s back. Jamie’s the yardstick to which she compares every man and no one’s really going to live up to that, are they?
Access: What was it like reuniting with Caitriona? I remember one of the fist interviews we ever did with her, she [said some really nice things about you]. And then you get to spar on screen.
Nell: That’s so nice of her. Yeah, it was absolutely wonderful seeing her again because obviously we’re sort of in different parts of the world all the time and we all will hear from each other occasionally, but actually getting lots of time hanging out was really lovely and it was so much more fun, you know? When I first went on to ‘Outlander’ in the first series, it was my first big TV gig and I think I was really timid and it was a big deal. And it was really nice coming back to Season 2 having had a lot more experience in the industry and just being able to be so much more relaxed on set, and playing so much more, which is what acting’s about. And we were really able to do that. But on a personal level it was very, very lovely seeing her again. And oh my gosh… when I got there, it was just after the much-deserved Golden Globe announcement had come out and that was just – that was brilliant. It was December and it had just come out that Cait had been nominated for the Golden Globe and that was amazing. I was just so thrilled and proud for the show and for her, because she deserved it so much. So that was amazing.
“Outlander” Season 2 continue Saturday nights at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.
— Jolie Lash
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