I’ll admit it, this weekend has been quite a bummer for me, since I was here at home rather than in New York, attending the Outlander (and Falling Skies, etc.) events at New York Comic Con. But it’s been a thrill to see all the coverage – both from Starz and fans – of the events, especially the Friday panel that covered Starz’ upcoming new shows Black Sails, DaVinci’s Demons, and Outlander (I apologize if you’re interested in either of the first two shows – there’s no coverage of either of those in this report!), and the special, ticket-only luncheon and presentation for fans of Outlander.
This recap contains no original reporting (remember I wasn’t there), but since coverage is spread among blogs, Twitter and Facebook, and not everyone has accounts on all these sites (or the patience to wade through them), I wanted to combine it all here so you’ve got everything in one place! I’ve tried to give credit to the original poster of each piece. If someone has a correction to anything I’ve credited, please let me know and I’ll change it.
Almost-News on Casting
There was casting news, of a sort – Starz announced that the roles of both Jenny Murray (Jamie’s sister) and Geillis Duncan have been cast, but no official announcement of the actresses chosen has been made. There’s speculation that Lotte Verbeek, a Dutch actress, has been cast as Geillis, but a note that she made saying she was looking forward to joining the Outlander cast has been removed. As I hear official confirmation, I’ll let you know!
Concept Art and Models Shown
Photos of concept art for Castle Leoch and other sites were shown. You can see those photos here (credit to luvtheviking on tumblr).
Models of three sites were revealed (photos from the official Starz Outlander Twitter site):
Saturday Fan Event with Ron & Diana
NOTE: This is an addition from the original post! This is the official Starz video of the fan event with Ron & Diana. As this video includes the sizzle reel that I had originally posted below, I have removed that link. However, I’ve kept the transcript of the tweets that Starz published, as some of those questions are from the Friday evening panel, and some of you may not want to take the time to watch the 47 minute video. Thank you thank you to Sarah Wood, Nyx710, who posted this video on Youtube.
Both Ron and Diana are funny, engaging, and very interesting! I think you’ll be as fascinated with the panel as I was – there’s so much more here than can be conveyed in tweets. And at the end, they show all the concept art that’s referenced above, including additional pieces, but I’ve left that link so you can see the artwork and study it at your leisure.
One on one (two on two?) With Ron & Diana
This video is from a small “press” interview session with Ron Moore and Diana Gabaldon. Credit to FanVoice.
And another, slightly longer interview, where Diana and Ron discuss the show’s attempt to recreate the 18th century faithfully (credit NightMystic):
Ron & Diana Q&A
This Q&A was taken from the official Starz Outlander Twitter account. These questions were asked at both the Friday STARZ panel and the Saturday fan event. If you watched the video that is posted above, you’ll note that much of this was taken from that event.
Q. In taking this story and bringing it to the screen, Diana, how involved were you?
A. (Diana) Basically, I said yes and then everything rolled out from there. The first attempt was for a movie but it didn’t work out and Ron Moore was lying in wait for such an opportunity to make it to TV.
Q. What drew you to Outlander, Ron?
A. (Ron) It’s a great story. I love history as historical fiction and I just got swept away.
Q. Any trepidation having your characters written by someone else?
A. (Diana) I really appreciate how Ron handled it. They cane and spent two days with me learning about these characters, picking my brain, things I knew but that maybe everyone else doesn’t. But there are things that will be different.
Q. Ron, how familiar were you with the historical time-frame?
A. (Ron) Not very. Which I loved because I really enjoy learning as I’m reading.
Q. There were script pages shown at NYCC. What are you most excited to see from the page to the screen?
A. (Diana) The wedding night.
Q. (from audience) My wife has read the book a million times. How true will it stay?
A. (Ron) Very true. The execs at Starz read the book and said, make the book for the existing fans and trust that new fans will be swept away.
Q. Diana, how has your fandom changed since the TV show was announced?
A. (Diana) There’s a heck of a lot more of you! (Ron) I live with a fan, my wife, and my job is not to screw up her book! We’re maintaining the first person POV so everything is told from her (Claire’s) eyes. There are scenes that are shorter in the book that we’ll expand on a bit because it’s on TV, but we’re always staying with Claire because it’s her journey.
Q. How many more do you still have in this series?
A. (Diana) Well, I don’t know. I always knew there was more to the story. This (the new one coming) isn’t the last book.
Q. Are we going to see more Frank in the 1940s?
A. (Ron) We’re going to do some flashbacks to their marriage because I want the audience to see whyClaire is so drawn to go back.
Q. Are we going to fall in love with Jamie?
A. (Diana) Well absolutely. When I went to look at Sam’s (Heughan) audition, 10 seconds in, he was gone and BAM there was Jamie Fraser!
Q. How difficult or easy was it to cast for the show?
A. (Ron) It was both difficult and easy. In my infinite wisdom, I thought we’d find Claire immediately and search for Jamie. But it was the opposite. We found Sam right away and he was perfect. And then with Claire, it was like the search for Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind) because the story really sits on Claire’s shoulders. She was worth the wait.
(Ron) We have a full time Gaelic teacher and they go to Gaelic class. I gave the instructor a ruler that he can hit them with.
When asked about chemistry between Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, “They just had instant rapport. And they just WERE Claire and Jamie.”
On the adaptation process: We always start with the book. It’s a challenge because it’s a different task to adapt than it is to start from scratch. But we wanted to make the right show. We take that responsibility very seriously.
Q. (for Ron) Your wife is a fan, how much of that influenced you into getting involved with the story?
A. (Ron) It started there. She told me to read and I loved it. My job is now not to screw up her favorite book.
(Diana) The best thing as an author is to hear what everyone else’s favorite part is.
Q. Is Diana going to make a cameo?
A. (Ron) If she wants to, sure! (Diana) When I’m writing, I’m living in the characters. I don’t ever need to read my books, I’ve lived them.
Q. Did you encourage the cast to read the books?
A. (Ron) We have given all the books to the cast. Some have decided to stop reading after #1. But there is a devotion on set to be as close to the story as possible. A lot of research. A Gaelic teacher, full time historian, costume designer,etc.
Q. How did you even think of this story? Where did this come from?
A. (Diana) Doctor Who, indirectly. I wanted to write a novel. I thought I could start with historical fiction, because at least I could look it up. I saw an old Doctor Who and he had picked up an old Scotsman from 1745 and I thought ‘that’s kind of fetching,’ and decided Scotland in the 18th century. I knew we needed conflict and then Claire took over the story. Claire was always modern, no matter how I tried to beat it out of her and make her a normal 18th century Englishwoman, she wouldn’t. So I said, fine, be modern, I’ll figure out how you got there later. So it’s her fault that there is time travel.
Q. Is anything going to be cut from the book?
A. Really, it’s the book. We made some changes and subtractions, but we always come back to the book.
Q. How are you going to get the cows to run through the prison?
A. (Ron) Yeah, that’s on my mind…
Q. I’ve heard you’re going to develop Frank more?
A. (Ron) I plan to delve into Frank more because it’s important to see his character and their marriage to understand why Claire is so insistent on getting back to him, why she is so torn, so the audience can understand why she does what she does.
Q. Have you ever thought about how well you would have done if you went through the stones?
A. (Diana) I would have done fine. As long as you had the necessary skills you’re going to be fine. (Ron) I would NOT have done well. Learning to write with a quill pen wouldn’t have gone well.
Q. We all expect this to be pretty graphic. Just how graphic is it going to be?
A. (Ron) Well, you’ve read the book… I don’t have to do much, just shoot the book and it’ll be pretty graphic.
Q. What scene that doesn’t involve Jamie and Claire are you most excited about?
A. (Diana) It’s a scene that Ron told me about this morning that actually isn’t in the book! (Ron) That’s the definition of a tease! The moment when Jamie appears in the window and Jack Randall has Claire. Perfect cliffhanger to the end of an episode.