Principal photography on Outlander began on October 16, in Lark Harbour, Newfoundland.  It didn’t take long for various extras and locals to chime in on the filming experience.  Despite some pretty bad weather that Tuesday, most of the extras really enjoyed the experience despite the lack of sleep and cold and wet conditions.  Manda” who was on set had this to say about “black Tuesday,” as some of the extras called it:

Tuesday was insane! INSANE - it was blowing a gale, and raining and i think it was hail for a few minutes. We had to stare off at sea for hours and be like pillars in the wind. COLD?!?!?!? holy be-jesus?!?!?!? COLD?!?!?!?! man ... it was cold. We had to stand in a bog .. and that bog was cold.  The production team wasn't prepared for the weather we got, it came out of nowhere. But it was cool, they were really good about it. The driector thanked us over the speakers and such, at least it was acknowledged. There was some men that were fitted out in nothing but loin cloth-type costumes ... it was too much ... i don't think they came back the second day; but the second day was massivily better than the first day.


Seeing how most of the scenes shot in lark harbor involved various Viking funerals, A large Viking boat was constructed and stood in for various Viking ships.  Eventually it had to be burned but before that, someone had to row the thing around.   One of the rowers describes their experience as follows:

“I was hired as one of the rowers of the Viking boat. There were 20 of us, and we were called in a day before the rest of the extras (Monday). We were bussed out at 7am from Corner Brook. It was a great time for us to introduce ourselves and make friends. Most of the rowers were from the local rowing club and knew each other already, so as a "townie" who has only been living in Corner Brook for a few weeks, I started off feeling like a bit of an "outsider".”

“The rest of the rowers were just great people. We were sent to wardrobe as soon as we arrived, but weren't given any wigs or make-up that day. We got bussed to the shooting location (about 5 minutes away), and spend a lot of time waiting for us to be called. Pretty much that entire first day was dedicated to us rowers...we spent about an hour or more in the boat, testing it out to see how "sea worthy" it was. Luckily, we had a great "captain" who barked orders at us, as well as a Dutchman [ED: Apparently actually a Danish man] to help us (he designed the rigging). Once the director, crew, and rowers were satisfied at how the boat handled, we were sent home at around 5:00.“

“Then came "Black Tuesday". I have to admit, the extras had it rough that day...the weather was absolutely putrid (huge winds, coooooold temperatures, even a halestorm at 6:30 in the morning). Fortunately, I didnt' take part in their misery....we rowers spent the entire day in the tent waiting to for the wind to die down, which it never did. We did get called around lunchtime to practice raising/lowering the sail while still docked at the wharf. Honestly, I would rathered I was a "regular" extra that day....sitting around for 14 hours doing nothing was pretty irritating. In retrospect, it's kind of a good thing they didn't film any "boat scenes" rowers were given the left-over wigs. My black hair and beard didn't exactly blend in with the red wig they gave me.”

“It's a shame we lost so many extras that day...but I chalk it up to them just not being prepared for that weather. If they had known they were going to be standing for 14 hours in a wet bog with little protection for their feet, they probably would have dressed more appropriately. But since Monday was just a beautiful day, it's understandable that they didn't.”

“The rest of the shoot was absolutely fantastic (weather-wise). On Wednesday, the sun was shining, and us rowers spent most of the day in the boat (we were given first-dibs on wigs that day, owing to our close-ups). Inside the harbour, the water was beautifully calm....then came the scene where we had to sail about 100 feet past the narrows into the open ocean, hoist the sail, and row back in. Those swells out there were pretty massive, I must say....well, they were only about 5 or 6 feet, but when you're out there in a ply-wood-framed boat, in seas like that for the first time, raising the somewhat-crude sail for the first time, it sure was an experience! We cracked two oars just from the waves alone...”

“On Thursday, we were finished with the boat, unfortunately, so we joined the rest of the extras on shore for the village scenes. Yes, there was a lot of standing around, but what do you expect on a movie set? Luckily, all the extras were all-around fantastic people.....some unbelievably hilarious ("Props...I need a smoke!"). The filming crew took great care of us, and were also very friendly (some more than others)”


A big challeng was dressing the 100 – 200 extras in authentic period costumes.  “Jag  was even excepted into the exclusive "Non-Wiggers" group – Those that had enough hair to not necessitate the need to wear a wig. “Mine of course was not one of the good wigs.. in fact, I think it made me look like one of the disciples, but at least it matched my beard really well so it looked like my own hair,” He said.  

Carefull attention was also shown to the weapons used in the film.  Here “Jeff” describes the different grades of sword used in the filming

The best thing about working on this movie so far has been the fact that I got one of the good swords. There are 3 different kinds:

               a) the not really a sword sword- just a hilt and sheath attached together to look like a sword.

               b) the aluminum blade- good enough do draw in the distance, but looks like shite close-up.

               c) the sweet steel swords- looks hella nice and has real weight to it.

I love me my sword.


With filming in Newfoundland complete, the production moved to Nova Scotia.  Some of the extras needed for continuity followed, but for the most part a whole new set of extras joined the cast in filming various scenes in the Viking village.  One thing that is consistent about the experience of various people who had parts as extras is that they did a lot of standing around and waiting.  Becca” had to stand around more that usual because of a broken wind machine.  Here she describes what happened once her waiting ended::

Finally, finally, finally, around 5 a.m., they loaded us up in vans and drove us to the lake--a tiny, calm little lake that stands in for the ocean. They handed me 3 logs (apparently, as far as Viking women go, I'm not all that tough) and told me to carry them into one of the two lodges when they called action. We rehearsed a few times before they took away our coats, cranked on the wind and rain machines--we were villagers fleeing from the storm--and we did it for real a few times. As long as they don't cut the scene, you might just be able to see me walking from a fire into a lodge. They built two lodges, but apparently, they're going to CGI more into the background. Actually, the set looked pretty cool, even from close up. Two other extras, had to carry dried fish in out of the rain. Real dried fish. Fake rain. They smelled great afterwards.


One extra described the challenges of being on set this way:

On the first day, I started work at 3.00pm and finished at 7.00am the next morning. After getting 4 hours sleep I arrived back on the set at 3.00pm again and worked through until 7.00am again. It's a punishing schedule and I was so glad to be told I wasn't needed on Sunday.

Last week they were shooting scenes where a rival Viking warlord launches an attack on the Viking settlement. It was fascinating and intense. I was mainly running around with a flaming torch and an axe and I got to be a corpse at one point. Brilliant!

It's incredibly hard work and I get caked in fake mud and real mud and get singed by torches and made to charge about screaming until I'm half dead. Let me tell you.....I love it.


Jim, one of the Viking extras got to see Jim Caviezel, and others, at work on their action scenes.  Notice how he describes Jim’s technique:

I must say that Caviezel is a true professional. In the scenes that I saw him in, he prepared thoughtfully and rarely was distracted from the task at hand. One particular scene has him engaging a viking just a few feet in front of the camera with the 'village well' behind them. He patiently worked with the actor dueling with him and showed him repeatedly how to come at him with his sword. The idea he was conveying was that he needs the guy to come at him full steam and swing hard toward him and he (Jim) would use his right hand to hit the guys right shoulder just when he wanted him to let up a bit. The end result was truly believable as an action sequence and a credit to Jim's experience. I suspect that much of the swordplay he used in The Count of Monte Cristo helped a great deal.


Jim also had kind words to say about one of the young actors on the set:

I liked the role that the Bailey Maughan played though (Erick, a viking boy). He really did a wonderful job and kept it together though long, cold and wet all-nighters.


Of course, like any production, it wasn’t without it’s accidents.   But from the sounds of it, luckily they were minor.  Jim describes what happened to him:

Speaking of holy terrors ... My ankle was bruised and twisted after being run SILLY on the set. I did shake hands with John Hurt and came face to face with Jim Cavezel on the battlefield, but… was never closer than 50 feet from [Ron Perlman].  Look for me running out of the viking kings long house; behind Cavezel when he yells to a kid 'Get the $^#@ out of here!'; and behind the battle by the village well. Nothing like running from 5pm to 7am with a sword over your head, a long wig (complete with braids) and mud all over you.


At times the weather cooperated for the shoot.  This wasn’t the case on Thursday, November 9th, 2007.  Some shooting was cancelled that night because the rain was turning the set into a mud pit.  Those on set had taken to calling the set Atlantis!

With such a large production and so many people as extras, someone has to feed them all.  “Jamie  couldn’t resist helping out his friend’s company that caters for the film industry.

They needed an extra person to help out with a bigger crew, and lots of background performers. I'm always up for something new, so that's what I've been doing! We have worked in the wildest conditions (heavy rain, deep mud, big rivers, it's a Viking movie called Outlander, we are in a big field in the middle of nowhere) and most of the crew look pretty beaten....but like true Vikings, they persevere......with a little help from us!


One of the extras on the Nova scotia set came a long way for the opportunity.  Having recently relocated from France where she is a successful actress and fantasy model, she tried out for the part of Sonja.  Drakaina had this to say about her experience:

Just a couple of days after landing in Canada, I was auditioned for one of the principal parts in the upcoming Blockbuster Outlander to play a Viking warrior.. needless to say my agent knew the part would fit me as a glove!

The audition went very well but at the end I didn’t get the part, probably due to the fact that my French accent was still to strong at that time

But it’s ok I am part of the background Vikings (and it’s an ongoing process, not just a background gig for which you’d go for a few hours and then not be called back the next day ) which is a lot of fun cause, on top of the other Viking being very friendly, almost like a family, it’s kind of nice to be a kid again, allowed to play in the mud without being lectured!


“Jeff” also chimed in on his experiences on set which involve large quantities of ale, Here he decribes various scenes in which he appears:

Two other guys and I are staggering drunk and full of Viking cheer past a hut (where Jim Caviezel is hiding in the shadows)- One of the other guy s in the scene is an actual character, but me and anonymous dude number one are IN FRONT of him being drunken Norsemen for the durration of the time! Then when the two of us stagger out of frame actor Viking slips in the mud, and Jim runs past him. It looks like good camera time, some boisterous laughing and slapping the back of and drunken revelry with anonymous dude number one!


There are five of us who have started REALLY hamming it up during takes... And they seem to like it?

For the past 3 days the five of us have been standing around a huge tub of "mead"...

Interesting side note: this "mead" is REAL FRAKKING BEER!! Propeller Porter! 2 kegs a dozen big bottles, mixed with dish soap and diet coke. Welcome to Hollywood.

The scene is there is a big drinking game between the two male leads. We are cheering them on, and reacting to them fucking up and shit. (actually, it's a really neat scene, the best I've seen shot so far) So there we are, the five of us around this massive tub yelling and cheering, slapping each other on the backs, dunking our mugs into the swamp water, poring it all over or faces, slipping off the edge, ramming our mugs together making it fly up into the air, just being total assholes. Getting paid to splash around in beer is a pretty sweet way to earn a buck. After every cut we expected to be told to tone it down, but the only time we got told off is when one guy balanced his mug on top of his head.

Then, because continuity is a dirty word on set apparently, we are pulled for a second unit shot on the other side of the room. This time it's us five, and a few other people betting on the game...

Interesting side note: My money bag didn't have any prop coins in it! I had some good ol' grey gravel and some plastic animal teeth?

Same thing, being dicks, grabbing at each others money bags, tossing money (and gravel) at each other, shoving each other around pouring our drinks all over our faces, one of gets a drink thrown in his face. Again, after the cut, waiting for a reaming... instead, the other people get told to bring their energy up and we are told we're doing great.

When we get "mead" to drink it's either apple juice or water. Still, in all the sloshing around and pouring it over beards, some gets in.

We stink like stale beer all day long anyway, so we could be sneaking some real beer and no one would know... Wardrobe must love us.