Interview: Nell Hudson

From the interview archives.

English actress Nell Hudson is known to Outlander fans as the fiery Laoghaire. We dove into the most recent season with Nell to discuss all of the dramatic developments between Laoghaire, Jamie and Claire and where the series is heading. In addition, we gained some insight to Nell’s portrayal of Skerrett in the popular ITV series Victoria

Outlander airs Sundays at 8pm eastern on Starz TV.

 In Outlander, things have been getting more and more complicated for Laoghaire. Do you think she got a great deal of joy out of showing Claire that she was married to Jamie?

It’s definitely a pretty massive “F**k you” isn’t it? Sadly, I think the fury and pain of simply seeing Claire again overshadows any satisfaction she might wield over her.

Surely she feels threatened by Claire but, given how Jamie has a tendency to take off when the going gets tough, should she have been more worried about him instead?

We always blame the other woman don’t we, never the man… I think you’re right. The trouble with Laoghaire’s love for Jamie (part 99) is that she’s so utterly in denial about everything. It’s a very myopic, naive love.

Since their marriage is not legally binding, do you think Laoghaire will ease up on Claire and focus on other things?

God, no. I think Laoghaire’s whole raison d’être is drama. Choosing to love a man who will never truly love you back – how masochistic is that? She has two daughters by two different fathers, both abusive men, she practically tried to kill Claire in the first series…. she wouldn’t be who she is unless she is the victim of her own narrative.

How does she currently feel about Jamie right now?

I think her “marriage” to Jamie is in name only, and she uses that tiny spark of what she dreamed her life might be like fuel. I think it’s deeply painful for her that she’s holding on with a vice-like grip to something so close, yet so incredibly far, from happiness. It’s complicated: she loves Jamie, but she resents him for denying her himself.

Will the entirety of Voyageur manage to squeeze into this season or do you think it’ll roll over into the next?

It’s a lot to cover but they’ve done it before!

What is one thing that intrigues you about working on period dramas?

This might sound super pretentious but in Werner Herzog’s documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, he’s learning about early Homo Sapiens cavemen, and he asks the anthropologist: “But who were these people? Did they cry in the night?” And I think that’s what I’m trying to discover when I play a person who lived in a different world to me. How can I find the human in someone seemingly so far removed from everything I know? Yup, really pretentious. Sorry.

You also play Skerrett in Victoria. What has been one challenging part about playing this character?

To be really honest with you – editing! It’s something they don’t teach you at drama school. You work your ass off, and you try and perfect a performance, and then half of it ends up on the cutting room floor. It’s a totally natural part of the business, especially in T.V where everything changes all the time, but with Skerrett we lost some really lovely stuff, which saddened me.

Have your hair styling skills improved at all?

Not even a little bit. I’m not actually allowed to style Jenna’s hair when we film those scenes. It’s all ornately designed by the hair and makeup team beforehand, and I have to find little movements I can do that look real, but don’t mess anything up! I’m incredible at fake hair styling, so if anyone needs some of that doing – I’m your gal.

Is Skerrett still feeling loss from deciding not to leave with Mr. Francatelli?

Absolutely, I think she’s heartbroken. We see her plunge headfirst into her work to cope with this, and she’s become a little bit austere.

What is one thing you’ve learned while working on this series?

How to do amazing fake hair styling! Just kidding. I’ve learned lots of things – my knowledge of Victorian history has vastly improved. In a larger sense I’ve learned a lot about the work-life balance. Shooting a series of Victoria takes about seven months and I’m away from home for most of it, and you can go a little crazy. So I’ve learned to not just handle that, but thrive on it.

If you could only befriend either Laoghaire Mackenzie or Skerrett in real life, who would you choose and why?

100% Skerrett without any doubt whatsoever. Skerrett’s LOVELY. She’d always have your back. I’d take her out dancing though and get her to chill out a bit. I think Laoghaire would steal my boyfriend.

Have you been working on and new music lately?

I just bought a little upright piano for my new flat and have feeling my way back into songwriting a little, we’ll see….

What’s one part of your morning routine that you cannot do without?

Two, if not three, coffees.

Any other projects coming up that we should keep an eye out for?

Right now I’m shooting a series for the BBC/Amazon called “Informer.” It’s a very topical, exciting, funny drama. Most importantly for me, it’s not a period piece! I’ve also got a couple of independent projects in the mix for the spring. Then after that it’s back for Season 3 of Victoria!

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