'Outlander' star Tobias Menzies: Black Jack is 'a study in sadism'

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If you thought Black Jack Randall's first introduction in "Outlander's" premiere was brutal, then you should start preparing yourself now for the darkness that is to come. Tobias Menzies' Red Coat character is the villain of "Outlander's" first season, and has a troubled, disturbing history with Sam Heughan's Jamie Fraser.

There are some scenes of graphic violence that take place between Black Jack and Jamie, and Menzies tells Zap2it during a group interview at San Diego Comic-Con that "Outlander" won't "pull its punches in terms of that." "There's big sets, violence, sex; we're not going to edit you out of this. You're going to see the lot. It's going to be a very vivid world that we're going to take you to," he promises.

At the time of the interview, Menzies hadn't filmed the most brutal Black Jack/Jamie scene that will come at the end of the season, but he did shoot some darker ones that come earlier on. Menzies admits that they're "loads of fun" to shoot, but he can't shake them off very easily.

"They're dark, suitably so, and I think they're an important antidote to the romantic elements of the story. It's good that we're not going to shy away from that," he says. "There's lots of shades within the colors of the characters. It's true to life, isn't it? Nothing is one thing or the other. Jack is one of life's interesting contradictions.'

As "Outlander" Season 1 progresses, fans will begin to see the different sides of Black Jack. "He does have some personal insight, he gets people and how they work but he chooses to abuse those rather than comfort them or reassure them," Menzies explains. "That character, I would argue, is a study of sadism. He's interested in people's boundaries, their pain thresholds, what they can handle. It's a rather sickening investigation."

But it's one that Menzies enjoys taking part in. "With villains, I think you have to find a pleasure. There should be a relish about what they do," he says. "I think it's important to give it some psychological truth or some grounding."

"Outlander" airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.

Reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum
Photo/Video credit: Starz