I interrupt my regularly scheduled book blogging for some breaking news/fangirling . . .
So, by now anybody who’s anybody will know that the TVadaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ book series is a GO. For realsies, people! … after years of fans clamouring for Gerard Butler (No. Just … no) and Katherine Heigl expressing an interest in the project. After YEARS of fan-made videos on YouTube featuring Liam Neeson from ‘Rob Roy’ (yes, he would have been fabulous, Once Upon a Time…) after YEARS and YEARS of rabid fan speculation, it’s actually happening – Outlander is coming to cable TV channel, STARZ.
I already had high-hopes for this adaptation after Ronald D.Moore was announced as executive producer (he’s notorious for having made hard-to-please ‘Battlestar Galactica’ fans very, very happy). And on a side-note: Ronald is a wee bit lovely himself. Can he cast himself as Dougal? Or just a marauding Highland extra? He looks the part, no?
Secondly, I’ve been watching the STARZ series adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Cousins’ War.’ ‘The White Queen’ is amazing. I’ve never read the books, but now I have to because the TV series has suckered me in so much. The cast is superb, the filming locations are breathtaking and they’ve clearly condensed quite a lot of story into highly addictive television viewing.
So, I’ve been feeling pretty good about an ‘Outlander’ TV series. But the real test of fandom would come with the casting announcements. And now we know for sure this isn’t some pie in the sky dream; because Himself has been cast.
That’s right. Hold on to your hearts, lassies, because Jamie Fraser is being bought to life by Scottish (!) actor, Sam Heughan.
Sam is 6 foot 3. He has cheekbones that could cut glass and piercing blue eyes, a knife of a nose … Okay. Basically he’s a very lovely chiselled specimen of a man … I mean. Um. *gulp*. He’s good. Yep, he’ll do. Appearance-wise, he has that lovely long and lean look of Himself and though Sam is 33, he could very easily pass for 22-year-old Jamie in Book #1. But I’m mostly excited because Diana Gabaldon is infectiously excited about this casting news.
On her Facebook page, Diana detailed her finding out about Sam as a Jamie contender. She saw photos of him, before watching his audition tape.
So I’m lookin’ at some of Sam’s photos and sayin’ to my husband, “Yeah, I buy him as a virgin…but I think Claire’s going to get done for statutory rape!” You know, a bit apprehensive. He’s quite big, but a very chiseled face that makes him look a good bit younger than he is, at least in stills.
But then she watches his audition tape, and …
First five seconds, I’m interested—he looks totally different than he did in _any_ of the stills—and five seconds later, Sam Heughan’s GONE, and so am I. It’s Jamie Fraser, right _there_ in front of me, moving, talking. One of the biggest thrills ever.
And that’s what actors do. Good ones. They can “be” someone else, totally.
Now, I saw him do two scenes: the confrontation between Jamie and Dougal, after Dougal exposes Jamie’s back in a tavern. Ferocious, explosive, a glimpse of the warrior. And he…freakin’ _exploded_.
And then…the scene in which Jamie explains to Claire exactly why he intends to punish her for disobeying his orders to stay hidden, thus nearly getting them all killed.
OK. This is arguably _the_ most controversial scene in all the books. And I’m not about to go into the scene itself—not the point here. The point is that that’s one heck of a complex scene, emotionally, and _could_ be read/performed in a lot of different ways. Now, I happen to _know_
exactly how Jamie acted and spoke during that scene…and that’s…exactly what Sam _did_. Thoughtfulness, intimacy, fair-mindedness, annoyance, firmness—and quite a lot of humor. One of Jamie’s hallmarks is the ability to be threatening and funny at the same time—and Sam pulled that off.
So, yeah. I’ve watched those videos a couple dozen times, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining things. I wasn’t.
Woah. Chills. Goosebumps. Hot flush. I’m sold.
Of course, there are already naysayers. And I’m already sick of them. Doubly so, those who are still whinging for Gerard or Thor (seriously, stop trying to make them a thing.)
But as if I needed more reason to be over-the-moon excited about this casting news, Sam Himself chimed in:
2014 is shaping up to be the Year of Outlander. Book #8, ‘Writtenin My Own Heart's Blood’, is coming out March 2014 and the TV series will air next year too. I can’t wait. My fangirl heart is swelling with excitement for both and I’ve got nothing but good vibes and well-wishes going out to Diana and the Starz team.