‘Outlander’ Season 6: John Bell Claims the Cast Only Had to Look at Their ‘Own F**king Experience’ to Relate to Their Characters This Season


  • Outlander is not a COVD-friendly show according to executive producer Maril Davis.
  • John Bell (Young Ian) called season 6 the “most difficult” to film, but part of those difficulties actually helped them relate to their characters.
  • Sam Heughan has also opened up about the unique challenges of filming during a pandemic.
Outlander John Bell as Young Ian and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
John Bell and Sam Heughan | Amiee Spinks/Starz

Outlander season 6 will finally hit TV screens in March, nearly two years after the season 5 finale. The pandemic delayed filming for months. And when the cast and crew finally returned to the set, they had to film the episodes under strict COVID protocols.

According to star John Bell (Young Ian), season 6 was by far the most difficult to shoot. But he says the pandemic might have actually helped the actors relate to their characters.

‘Outlander’ is not COVID-friendly show

Instead of making plot adjustments to accommodate the pandemic restrictions, Outlander producers opted to wait until they could make the season they wanted to make. Executive Producer Maril Davis explained during the filming hiatus that Outlander is not a COVID-friendly show.

“We don’t have the kind of show, unfortunately, that can be COVID friendly,” Davis told Cinema Blend. “That’s something that a lot of studios are talking about, and some shows have the luxury to do that, we do not. It’s the least COVID-friendly show ever. It means that maybe there’s no kissing, there’s no interaction; there’s not a lot of actors and extras.”

Filming season 6 of ‘Outlander’ during the pandemic was ‘hugely different’

The cast and crew did not begin filming Outlander season 6 until January 2021 — nearly seven months behind schedule. When they were finally able to get production underway, Bell says it was nothing like his experience in previous seasons.

“This season was hugely different on set – we didn’t have the same ability to hang out with each other,” Bell told Digital Spy. “We made the most of it on set but even then – we were one of the few productions that were allowed to run at that time and due to that special status we had to be so, so careful.”

John Bell says the cast only had to look at their ‘own f**king experience’ to relate to their characters for season 6

Producers cut season 6 down to just eight episodes in order to get the new season on the air as quickly as possible. Still, Bell says filming the truncated season was difficult. But he did point out that the pandemic might have helped in a weird way.

“Despite it being one of the strongest seasons, it was also one of the most difficult to shoot [due to Covid restrictions], which maybe actually helped us a bit because at times a lot of the characters I think feel isolated and we only had to look at our own f**king experience to be able to relate to that!” Bell explained.

Sam Heughan says filming sex scenes during the pandemic was a ‘new acting challenge’

Bell’s co-star Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) has also spoken about the challenges of filming season 6 amid a pandemic. He told his fans on social media that his sex scenes with Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) looked a lot different during season 6.

Last August, Heughan explained that he had to complete automated dialogue replacement (ADR) in post-production for the season 6 sex scenes. Heughan tweeted a screenshot of his voice-over lines, but they weren’t really lines at all.

“ADR FINISHED! Season 6! @Outlander_STARZ,” he said. “Some new ‘acting challenges’ this season.”

The ‘Outlander’ star had to add his season 6 sex sounds during post-production

Heughan laughed about the ADR that he had to record because there weren’t any lines in the script. Instead, the direction on the script next to the word “line” was “lovemaking groans and breaths.”

In response, Outlander composer Bear McCreary promised Heughan he’d help him out for that scene. He tweeted, “Don’t worry, we’re slathering bagpipes over all that scene anyway!”

Outlander season 6 premieres Sunday March 6 on Starz.

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