Ronald D. Moore's Outlander series has found its Jamie Fraser. Set to play the male lead in the upcoming Starz adaptation is Scottish actor Sam Heughan. He'll play the role of the Scottish warrior who begins a passionate affair with the lead female character Claire Randall, a combat nurse from 1945 who finds herself whisked back in time to 1743 Scotland. As Claire is a married woman in the present day - at least, in the book she is - the relationship she develops with Fraser is all the more complicated. Is it still cheating if it's not in the same century?
Late last month, we learned that Starz was moving forward on Moore's adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's beloved series. Fans of the book were left to wonder who would play the roles of Jamie and Claire. The first question is answered, as it's Heughan who will take on the part of Jamie.
"From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast,” said Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore. “I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that's what Sam did."
From what Gabaldon says, it sounds like Heughan is perfect for the part. “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart," Gabaldon said. "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."
Heaghan's credits include a recent TV movie A Princess for Christmas and overseas, BBC's Doctors and River City. Here's some additional information on his background as an actor:
Sam Heughan is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was a 2003 nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performance for his work in the program. Last year, he originated the role of Batman in the DC/Warner Brothers and Waterlane production of "Batman Live," an international tour which opened at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and went on to tour in South America and throughout Europe. In 2010, he was nominated for a British Soap Award for “Villain of the Year” for his role as Scott Neilson in the BBC soap opera "Doctors." He has also had roles in a range of television series including, "River City," "Island at War," "The Wild West," "Midsomer Murders," and, most recently, "Any Human Heart" as Lieutenant McStay. His TV movie credits include, "Breaking the Mould" for BBC Television, "A Very British Sex Scandal" for Channel 4 and "First Light" for BBC2. He was nominated for a "Grace award" for his performance as Prince Ashton, the son of Sir Roger Moore, in “A Princess for Christmas” for Hallmark Channel.
He certainly has plenty of acting experience, but he's still a bit too new on this side of the pond to be a familiar face, but given the popularity of the series on which Outlander is based, that may not be the case for long.
I've only just begun to read Outlander, and I haven't even gotten to the part where Claire goes back through time, so I've yet to "meet" Jamie, however Starz describes him as:
Armed with sheer grit and enduring strength, he is a strapping young Scottish clan lord with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor. He is intelligent, principled, and, by 18th century standards, educated and worldly, with a tenderness and compassion that stands out in contrast to his contemporaries. A natural leader of men, he has no political ambitions or desire for battlefield glories. Instead, he wishes to remove the price on his head and return to his family’s ancestral farm.
It doesn't sound like he's all that difficult to fall in love with. Then again, Claire's married in her future-life, which as I said, presents an issue - assuming that aspect of the story remains the same for the series adaptation.
With the role of Jamie cast, we're now left to wonder who will play Claire in the story.
Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore is writing the adaptation, and he'll executive producer with Jim Kohlberg. The series is set to begin production in Scotland this fall, and Starz is looking to get the show on the air sometime in 2014. Outlander follows Spartacus and joins Magic City and Da VInci's Demons among Starz's original programming, all of which also happen to be period dramas.
For those of you who haven't read the book, you still have plenty of time to do it before the series premieres, but be sure to give yourself plenty of time. The paperback is more than 600 pages long.