OUTLANDER - Sophia Myles Q+A
So what appealed to you about the role of Freya?
Sophia: Quite often, women in films — especially period films — are just the damsel in distress, and I liked the fact that Freya was very strong and even quite masculine. And also, being completely honest, I liked the fact that I was the only girl and I was going to be surrounded by lots of very good-looking men! And I’d wanted for a while to do a film that would require some physical work, so this was spot-on. Plus, when I read the script I genuinely wanted to know what happened next in the story, and that doesn’t happen to me very often. So when it does, I try to get the job. It’s a story I thought it would be cool to tell.
What kind of preparation did you go through?
Sophia: First of all they had us on treadmills, running, and then we’d have to lift weights. (Laughs) A lot! (Laughs) Because it’s all about building upper-body strength. And learning a sword fight is like learning a dance. Once we got to Halifax, Nova Scotia, we continued, and we continued doing training while we were shooting. I think they purposely structured it so that the fights were towards the end of the shoot, so we’d have as much time as possible.
How did you enjoy shooting in Canada?
Sophia: Just wonderful. And we went through the seasons. We started in Toronto in T-shirts and jeans, then we got to see the autumn in Canada. It’s up there as one of my favourite movie-making experiences, just because of all the friends we made. We all genuinely liked each other.
How did you enjoy working with John Hurt?
Sophia: John Hurt, man! JOHN HURT! Just listening to his voice. It’s like poetry. It’s great just to sit in a room with him, let alone share a scene. And he’s so funny. He became like our dad. Plus there was Ron Perlman too – such a cool guy.
OK, so what was the toughest part of the shoot?
Sophia: The whole waterfall sequence took us three or four days, by which time Jack had broken his shoulder, and I was wearing a costume with a bare midriff, so I couldn’t have any kind of thermals underneath. By this time it was November, December, in maritime Nova Scotia. We weren’t filming in proper studios — we were filming in big warehouses down on the docks. I remember my mum came to visit. We were just about to go into the waterfall sequence, and she said to John Hurt, “So, John, are you involved in this scene?” He said, “No, darling, I don’t do peasant.” (Laughs) Water work on movies is never good; you’re in it, then you come out, and you’ve got to go back in. And out, and in, and out but I think the stuff that’s the most gruelling on the day, the stuff that really hurts, actually tends to look the best when you see it on the screen.
How about when you had to lie in a pile of dead bodies?
Sophia: Yeah, that wasn’t very nice! Most of them were dummies though, but there quite a lot of real people in there as well. I was doing it on my own so it was strange, and it’s funny how your reflexes kick in. I didn’t want to actually tread on anyone. It’s wasn’t the sexiest scene.
OUTLANDER is released in cinemas across the UK on 24 April