In 2014 we got one of the most interesting “historical” dramas on TV, Outlander. Based off the works of Diana Gabaldon’s with the same name, the story follows Claire Rendall (Caitriona Balfe), a married military nurse who goes on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), following the end of World War 2. Instead, she gets transported to the mid-1700s, where she meets and eventually marries Jamie Fraser(Sam Heughan). With Outlander currently in its third season, and a fourth one on the way lets count down 15 facts about our favorite show.
It drew inspiration from Doctor Who
As different as the two shows seem, besides from the time-traveling theme, the initial idea for Outlander came to Diana Gabaldon while she was watching an old episode of Doctor Who. More specifically, an episode in which Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, wore a kilt.
“I was thinking a historical novel might be the easiest kind of book to write for practice when I happened to see a really old Doctor Who re-runs,” Gabaldon told Scotland Now. “Jamie struck me with his attitude and male gallantry and I thought the kilt was rather fetching.”
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It was almost a Katherine Heigl movie.
Before it was developed as a television series, the plan for Outlander was for it to be a feature-length film. And the producers of that movie thought they found their Claire in Katherine Heigl. In 2010, The New York Times ran a profile on the former Grey’s Anatomy star in which she dropped hints about what her upcoming project might be, she said-“Scotland? 2012? What do you think?”-confirming that she was talking about Outlander.
Both Liam Neeson and Sean Connery were considered for the part of Jamie.
“This was years ago when I was first approached about adapting Outlander when it was a feature film,” Gabaldon explained to E! News. “But Liam Neeson and Sean Connery were the first contenders for Jamie.”
Diana Gabaldon pushed for Ronald Moore to develop the show.
Outlander, the first book in the series, was published back in 1991. So the road to adapt it was no overnight endeavor. Ultimately it was no other than Gabaldon who pushed for an executive producer Ronald D. Moore to produce the show, as he seemed the best person to do it. “I told him, ‘This is the first thing I’ve ever read based on my work that didn’t make me turn white or burst into flames,’” Gabaldon said of Moore’s pilot script for the show.
The actors are wearing the kilts in the true Scottish style, with nothing underneath.
In true Scottish fashion, the actors aren’t wearing anything underneath their kilts. “I’m a true Scotsman, and it’s one of the joys of working on the show is wearing the kilt,” Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, admitted. “It can actually be very comfortable.”
Claire was cast just weeks before filming began.
Even though she is the female lead of the series, it was only a few weeks till production began when Caitriona Balfe was offered the role of Claire.
“At the outset, I told everyone that we would find Claire first and then Jamie would be the last one cast, and of course it was exactly the opposite,” Moore told E! News. “It was really hard to find Claire. Sam came in really early in the process and he was literally the first one we cast. We saw the tape and we were like, ‘Oh my god, there he is. Let’s snatch him up now.’ And then Claire just took a long time. A lot of actresses, a lot of tapes, looking for really ineffable qualities. She had to be smart, she had to have a strength of character, and really, she had to be someone that you could watch think on camera. But then suddenly Caitriona’s tape came in and we had that same light-bulb moment.”