Meeting the actors for the first time

So we all arrive in Halifax – (which has a great club scene – I think there are 1700 colleges there) and everyone gets together for the first run-through of the script. This was pretty thrilling for me, I have to admit. After writing the script and taking so long to set it up, it’s finally going to be read by professionals.

Because prior to this, it’s just Howard and me reading lines to each other to hear how they sound, and both of us could kill just about any line from “Play it Sam, play ‘As Time Goes By'” to “I’ll be back.” With few exceptions, writers and directors can’t act for shit.  (And thank God no one was present when we were practicing sword strokes to get the blocking down…)

So anyway, it’s  a thrill to meet these people.  Jim was very professional, and full of hope about his beloved Notre Dame football team.  John was… h’mm… magisterial. You got the sense there was nothing you could throw at him that he couldn’t handle with class and dignity. (And when he took some of us out to dinner, the maitre d’ certainly did scramble to find us a good table). And while some clown on a chat site recently was talking about how Ron was difficult on the set, nothing could be further from the truth. Completely good guy.

And Jack, well, he does know how to have a fine time. He’s one of those guys you wonder if he can possibly act. After all, he’s so damn good-looking. And yes, he can.

I remember when Sophia walked into the room the first time at a kick-off dinner. All the guys just went a little quiet. Then one of the Viking actors hit on her, swinging for the fences. He looked like he’d gotten all liquored-up for the try. Can’t remember his line, definitely second-team, though. Sophia handled it like a pro, like she’d had to do it plenty of times before. But she wasn’t mean at all. I think the guy left their conversation thinking all the world was his oyster, not even realizing he’d been shut down.


4 Responses to “Meeting the actors for the first time”

  1. I need to mention that when I first heard about Outlander’s crazy concept, I thought that it was maybe just crazy enough to really work. But what impressed me was the Cast. When I tell people the concept they often react as if it can’t possibly be true, and then when you tell them who’s in it they step back and give it a second thought.

    And Honestly, I much prefer the idea of Mr. Caviezel in the lead. Karl Urban is… well, he looks like a tough guy me. I don’t think that’s right for the role, but Thomas Jane would have been interesting. ( I came across his name in some documents a year ago but he also recently confirmed that he had been offered the role. He said the script was interesting but didn’t say why he couldn’t do it).

  2. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Yeah, we get a lot of that. Actually, what we get is the movie sounds so crazy that it has to be stupid or campy. So we just played it straight and tried to make everyone as human as possible. It seems to have worked, because as you noted, we got a lot of very fine actors. In fact, I can remember John Hurt telling us that when he first got the script, he did a bit of an eyeroll and figured this was going to be terrible. He had his wife (lovely woman) read it first. And somewhere in the first act she said “John – you have to read this. This is really good.” As you can imagine, that made me feel very good.

    We seem to tackle subjects like that – we wrote a script about Amazons for Scarlett Johansson. Before they read it, everyone heard about it and thought – “Amazons… girls in skimpy outfits playing at swords. Sounds dumb.” But we played it straight and wrote something along the lines of Seven Samurai. When everyone read it, we’d changed their minds. In fact, Lion’s Gate just picked up the script and are moving forward on it aggressively.

  3. That’s great news on Amazon. It’s been so long since the initial announcement, is Scarlett still attached?

    Regarding Outlander, It will be interesting to be at the Premiere in Locarno. People will probably go in to the screening with a similar notion… So the audience reactions and electricity of a crowd of eight thousand will be pretty awesome. I’m kind of hoping it wins that award Variety is doing, as well! Seems like a perfect fit. And hopefully that will get the ball rolling.

  4. I had the chance to work with you guys on Outlander in Halifax (I was one of the kitchen wenches ;)) and I just wanted to reaffirm everything you just said about the actors: all of them were sweet as pie, true pros and just a real pleasure to work with!!!

    I can’t wait for the movie to hit the silver screen in Canada!! It’s gonna rock!!


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