In what proved to be a tender moment on Season 3 of Outlander, Jamie (Sam Heughan) offered himself to Lord John Grey (David Berry) to ensure the safety of his son, Willie. Although the scene was well done given its complexity – Grey is a closeted soldier while Jamie was sexually abused in Season 1 – Berry admitted it was challenging to pull off in such a short time frame.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Berry revealed the sex offer was tricky for him and Heughan, and required a few rewrites to get perfect. Berry explained how they wanted viewers to buy into the idea that Jamie would do everything in his power to keep Willie safe, even if that meant essentially getting raped by Grey. In the books, the scene in question takes place over several chapters. The show, however, had to condense that down to a few quick scenes, which made everything more complicated.
“It was important for both Sam and I to endow Jamie’s proposal with as much sincerity as possible so that we could then subvert the expectations of the audience when Grey rejects him. And for Grey it was important for the rejection not to seem cruel but come from a place of honor and compassion for Jamie,” Berry shared. “This helps the audience to understand the depth of their friendship. Grey loves Jamie but would never abuse or transgress his friendship with Jamie for his own selfish purposes.”
Speaking of Jamie’s sacrifice for his son, Outlander executive producer Matthew B. Roberts recently opened up about casting Clark Butler for the role. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Roberts explained how it didn’t take long for them to cast Willie and how they were not looking for somebody who resembled Jamie. Instead, they picked an actor who was best for the character, and Butler immediately stood out above the rest.
Roberts also revealed that casting has undergone a lot of changes over the past few years. Most of the casting is now done online, and the entire crew can review auditions on their own time. Fortunately for Butler, everyone quickly agreed that he was the perfect fit for the role.
While Butler did a great job as Willie in episode four, titled “Of Lost Things,” we won’t be seeing much of his character for the remainder of the season. Willie was part of a handful of characters who were quickly introduced and sent away during the installment, including Isobel Dunsany, Geneva Dunsany – whom Jamie slept with to keep his identity safe – and Lord Ellesmere.