In anticipation of the premiere of Starz's Outlander series, we had the opportunity to sit down with series creator Ronald D. Moore, author Diana Gabaldon and the cast at Comic-Con to talk about what's ahead.
For those who haven't read the book or are unfamiliar with the plans for the series, check out the trailer and get more information on Outlander here.
We already told you why Diana Gabaldon (opens in new tab) chose World War II as the setting for Claire Randall's backstory. And yesterday, we shared Tobias' Menzies' reveal about how much Frank we should expect to see in the series. Here are four more interesting things we learned about Outlander.
It was always going to be on cable.
Fans of the book know that there are some violent and some racy scenes in the book, which might not be suitable for network television. We were curious to know if there was ever a chance Outlander might have landed at network TV or basic cable, rather than Starz -- a premium cable channel. According to Ronald D. Moore, it sounds like they always intended to get the series made on cable, either basic or premium, it was just a matter of getting the rights, finding a producer and then finding a home for the series.
"After I'd read the books, pursued the rights for a few years and then the rights holder was willing to go to TV, at that point, I took it to Sony," Moore explained, "Because I had a deal with Sony Television, and then we took it out and pitched it to the different networks. Starz was one of the first ones we pitched it to and they grabbed it right away. But there was a possibility. We were willing to go to other networks. We kind of felt that that was going to be the best fit, because it was premium cable. We never thought about going to a broadcast network, but there were other cable networks we considered."
It was always going to be filmed in Scotland.
From what Ronald D. Moore says, it sounds like they toyed with the idea of other locations, but never really seriously considered filming anywhere but Scotland. "In the very early discussions, we talked about the possibilities. Ok, where do you want to shoot this? Scotland was always number one," Moore said. "We thought, well maybe New Zealand or somewhere in Eastern Europe, South Africa because those are on the list of places with an existing film community, tax credits and labor costs are low. But, there was never any real serious consideration. It was always going to be Scotland, unless we got there and we couldn't do it."
Ronald D. Moore's pitch to Diana Gabaldon took two days.
Diana Gabaldon wasn't going to support just any adaptation of her book, and Moore's wasn't the only pitch she's heard to bring her story to the screen. The author told us they came out to her house and spent two days pitching the series to her. All previous attempts to adapt the book wanted to wedge the story into two hours and as Gabaldon put it, "it can't be done."
"I have read accounts by very reputable screenwriters," Gabaldon told us. "All of which have made me turn white or burst into flames." But then she looked at the pilot script and a rough outline for a ten-episode season. "I recognize good storytelling when I see it, and Ron is a good storyteller."
Battlestar Galactica fans would likely agree!
The Gaelic Matters... Even If You Can't Understand It.
You're going to hear quite a bit of Gaelic spoken in Outlander, and there are no subtitles. Rest assured, you'll get the gist of what's going on and won't need to know exactly what's being said to follow the scene. Sam Heughan thinks viewers will eventually begin to pick up on the language. He goes on to say that the Gaelic represents a big part of his character. "For me, it's a huge part of Jamie," Heughan explained. "It's a way that he expresses himself. It's his first language. I think it's a wonderful part of the show. It adds a color."
Playing the role of Dougal MacKenzie, Graham McTavish has three extensive speeches in Gaelic during the rent collecting part of the story. "That was amazing to just do uninterrupted Gaelic with no subtitles, and hopefully get the meaning across at the same time was wonderful," McTavish told us. "And it was wonderful having Adhamh around. Because there is a man who lives and breathes that language. He's almost in tears, truly, when he hears the Gaelic. He came up to me after one of those speeches, he said, 'This is historical, what you're doing. People will not have seen this before - Gaelic speakers will not have seen this before.' You could see tears in his eyes."
Appreciate the gaelic!
Also appreciate Caitriona Balfe's skirts. From what she says, they're always getting in the way!
Outlander premieres Saturday, August 9 on Starz. But you can expect the first episode to be available online earlier than that! Read our Outlander review here.
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Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.
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