A new season of Outlander means we’re going to be introduced to some some new characters! Actors Joey Phillips and Izzy Meikle-Small take on the roles of Denzell “Denny” Hunter and Rachel Hunter. The siblings grew up in their small Quaker community, and are about to see much more of the world. And we get to see them when season 7 premieres Friday, June 16, 2023 on Starz!
Hidden Remote had the opportunity to speak with the new cast members about their characters, what motivates the trained surgeon and his sister to join the American Revolution, and what the actors are excited for fans to see in Outlander season 7. Read on below and be sure to scroll down to the end for the video interview as well! (Plus, check out our interviews with John Bell, David Berry, and Charles Vandervaart, as well as executive producer Maril Davis for more!)
Joey Phillips and Izzy Meikle-Small on Denny and Rachel Hunter in Outlander season 7
*The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Hidden Remote: The Hunters have a distinctive way of speaking. What was that like for you both?
Joey Phillips: I think it was a little tricky in the way that you want it to sound like everyday speech. Like this is how they’ve always spoken. You don’t want it to sort of sound affected or too out of place with everybody else. But I think the way that they do speak – the “these” and “thys” and all of that became kind of second nature in the end to the point where we actually would use it in our own speech accidentally. But I think they’re such well written characters that it doesn’t feel out of place at all, and it was quite nice to use that Quaker speech because I think that really helped sort of ground the character as well.
HR: Your characters are pacifists but they’re going against their beliefs to join the war effort. What’s their motivation and why are they joining the revolution?
Izzy Meikle-Small: Yeah, they’re completely going against everything they’ve ever known, everything they’ve ever believed. But Denny believes that liberty is a gift from God, and he feels very strongly that he wants to go and help the cause. And Rachel would follow him anywhere. Their bond is very unique and they’re very loyal to each other. And there’s no way that I think she trusts him to go off in the world by himself.
Joey: I’d be dead in two seconds without Rachel. [Laughs]
Izzy: She’s like, no, no, no, I’ll come with you. But I think they also see it as an adventure. They’ve grown up in this really kind of small, closed Quaker community and although it’s scary and at times it’s very tough on both of them being around that much violence, it completely opens their minds and it really informs who they become.
HR: Other than them playing a big role in the war, is there anything else you’re excited for the fans to see about your characters?
Joey: I’m really excited about the relationship between Denny and Claire. I think it’s a really lovely and quite rare relationship for both of them. We’ve seen Claire be dismissed quite a lot in the medical field for being a woman and I think Denny is one of the first people that meets her on an even playing field. As soon as he meets her, he has the utmost respect for her. It’s a real meeting of minds between the two of them and they see each other as an ally instantly. She becomes a mentor to Denny and she’s someone that he can turn to with his questions. I think a lot of his life, he’s been almost like a parent to Rachel as well as a brother and maybe he sort of felt like he has always had to have the answers. Whereas now I think he doesn’t have the answers. Now his whole world has been turned upside down. It’s lovely that he has Claire that he can turn to and ask those hard questions.
Izzy: Definitely. And I have a little romantic love triangle which I think the fans are going to like. It’s very Outlander because [there’s] lots of longing looks and it’s very fun. I can’t say too much, but it’s a very fun little dynamic.
HR: What has it been like to join this big show and be a part of the Outlander family now?
Joey: It’s just been amazing. Everybody is so lovely. It really is like a family being on set, the whole cast and the crew. They were so welcoming to us [and] so kind. I felt like we just fit in very easily. And I think the fans as well have been so warm and welcoming to us. They’re just so sweet and we see all of the messages and we appreciate it so much, and I think we just both feel very fortunate to be a part of this world now.
Izzy: And everybody who works on the show is so talented from the costume department to even the AD’s, scheduling stuff like that. It’s so hard. All of the cast are obviously amazing and we’re very lucky to be working alongside such talented people and also having made some like really amazing friends. It’s a nice perk.
The first half of Outlander season 7 premieres Friday, June 16, 2023 on Starz.