Outlander to Premiere on Starz: Who Would You Cast?

Barbara Vey -- July 11th, 2013



Diana Gabaldon’s extremely popular Outlander series is set to have16 episodes on Starz in 2014.  Filming will begin in September in Scotland.  I want to go and report on it live.  Since that probably won’t happen, I’m as excited as any fan of the series to see who will be cast as Jamie and Claire.

How popular is this series?  In every survey I’ve ever seen, Jamie and Claire have been in the top 5 most romantic couples.  While Diana readily admits it’s not a “romance” in the definition of the genre, the romance of Claire and Jamie is undeniable.  Since the series is ongoing, not every book ends “Happily ever after” but knowing there’s another book coming does soften the blow.


The biggest problem in going from book to movie (other than the screenplay) is casting the right actors for the parts.  This has proven disastrous in some movies.  One For the Money by Janet Evanovich made a definite wrong turn with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum.  Everyone knows Stephanie is a train wreck and Heigl couldn’t pull it off.  She’s just too prissy for me.  Now I know everyone had trouble with Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher.  He was a little height challenged for the part.  Personally, I liked the movie as a movie, but Tom Cruise was not Jack Reacher to me.  The same was true of Mercury Rising.  The boy was supposed to be 14, but the actor was much younger.  And Melanie Griffith in Shining Through was wrong on so many levels.



Sam Heughan


It has been officially announced that Sam Heughan ( a real life Scot) has been cast as Jamie Fraser.  While he may not be known to many Americans, Diana Gabaldon has said, “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters.”  Sounds good to me, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Chris Hemsworth in another movie.


Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Claire is still unknown.  Remember, in the first book Jamie is 22 and Claire, 28.  I think Scarlett Johansson could carry it off.  I also like Rachel Weize and Amy Adams even though they are a little old for the part.  Preferably an unknown British actress might be best.

I just want it to be a good movie.  One that I’ll want to watch more than once.  I always try to keep an open mind because I’ve learned that I am not an expert at casting, but I know what I like in movies and when they represent a beloved book, they better hit the nail on the head.

Who do you like for the parts?  Does it matter to you?

Bottom Line:  Today is Free Slurppee Day at 7-Elevens!


30 thoughts on “Outlander to Premiere on Starz: Who Would You Cast?

  1. Christie

    Barbara, you wrote yourself that’ it’s going to have 16 episodes so it’s going to be a series on STARZ–NOT a movie–and that’s going to probably limited any big-name actress. I like Gemma Arterton, she’s the right age but seems to have her movie career going so you have to think who would commit to not only one series but possibly more if “Outlander” is successful. They probably will find an ‘unknown’ for Claire.

  2. Cate Hart

    I had my fingers crossed for Richard Madden, sadly killed off Game of Thrones and now free to play Jamie. He’s young enough and Scottish, too. But I’m happy with the choice of Sam.
    As for Claire, I agree, it will most likely be a relatively unknown actress…but Lena Headey is tied to Game of Thrones and is also starring in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments film, and there are six books, so I won’t rule out my favorite choice of Kate Beckinsale to play Claire!

  3. Jody Allen

    As I have read all of them a number of times, these are the people I see when I read them.. I am all for using only English and Scottish actors/actresses.

    Claire Randall Fraser – Naomi Watts – she is older but then at 28 these women were older if only in character

    Brianna Fraser – Karen Gillan (was a Dr. Who girl but she is great)

    Roger Wakefield — Richard Madden (yummy to look at)

    Jamie’s sister Jenny Murray – Kelly Macdonald (Scottish and voice of Merida)

    Ian Murray – Emun Elliott ( a gorgeous Scottish actor)

    Loaghaire Mackenzie- Carey Mulligan

    Murtagh – Billy Connolly (Scot/Irish)

    Dougal Mackenzie – Dougray Scott (Scot)

    Gellis – Helen Bonham Carter ( she can play sweet or evil)

    Capt Jonathan Randall – John Barrowman

  4. Susan

    I’ve always pictured Alexis Denisof as Roger Wakefield. I listen to the audiobooks, and Denisof does such a wonderful British accent and has the right (good) looks… I think he’d be perfect.

    I also always pictured Emma Thompson as Claire. I know she could no longer play the younger Claire, but should this series continue…

  5. Jeanie Loiacono

    The Outlander series has been my favorite since 1998 when a friend of mine gave me the first one. Of course, I could not put them down, having to have the next and next and next. In 2009 I actually got to meet and give an island tour to Diana. She is a gem. I am still worried about Jem and Mandy and Roger! I will have to get Written In My Own Hearts Blood to find out.
    As far as who to cast, Diana should be the one to consult on that. She has her own ideas and they are spot on. I am so very glad it will finally come to screen.

  6. Chelsea Johnston

    Personally, I think that Hayley Atwell could do it. If you’ve watched Captain America, she looks good in the 1940′s costume, and if you’ve also watched Pillars of the earth, she fits in splendidly with the 12 century garb, at least, and probably better in the 18th. She could pull it off.

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