Dinner party scenes set in the past can take a long time to film.
Hugh Bonneville once told Access Hollywood (back in summer 2015) that “Downton Abbey” dinner scenes could take a day or two to shoot. Members of the cast would sometimes play a game called “wink murder” between takes to pass the time. So, it had us wondering what the cast of “Outlander” did to occupy their time as they filmed that major dinner party scene in Saturday night’s episode – “La Dame Blanche.”
It’s a question we put to Stanley Weber, who plays Le Comte St. Germain, when he stopped by Access earlier this week.
In the episode, the Comte was suspected of two acts of revenge on Claire – poisoning, and later, an attack in the street. It created major tension between Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and the Comte at the dinner table. Unfortunately, because Claire and Jamie (Sam Heughan) were trying to stop the Jacobite rising by putting Prince Charles Stuart in the same room as his lover, Louise de Rohan, and her husband, where they planned to expose her pregnancy, Claire had to bite her tongue while sitting right next to the Comte.
Although there was tension in the air on screen as St. Germain and Claire sat next to each other, behind the scenes over the three-day shoot, the cast enjoyed each other’s company. And when time permitted for Stanley, there was even a discussion of literature with series star Caitriona.
“Everyone was just very professional and very happy to be together. I had very lovely [scene] partners around me, so you’re just like, this is your job and you love it,” Stanley said, when Access asked about shooting the scene.
“I had a book, she had a book. We would be reading a lot,” he added, noting they would “exchange [thoughts] about books and readings and stuff.”
The episode ended with Jamie and Murtagh fighting guests after Alex Randall was mistaken for one of Mary Hawkins’ attackers, and during the fisticuffs, the sneaky Comte ushered the Prince out of the ruined dinner party. Asked about his character’s interest in spending more time with the royal, Stanley suggested the Comte has financial and status-related motives.
“I guess firstly, because he wants to get him away from them, but also, because there is good business. This guy has a lot of money,” he said.
“He’s royal. He’s close to the top,” Stanley added. “I guess for him, being closer to the highest ranks is always interesting business-wise.”
“Outlander” continues Saturdays at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.
— Jolie Lash
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