And here's a fair warning, I'm going all fan girl here. ; )
If you don't know it, my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon, creator of the OUTLANDER series and incredibly generous author. She is a member of the Books and Writers Forum I rave about all the time where she is open about the writing process and is quick to help other writers. Diana's characters are real people, as three dimensional as flesh and blood. Her stories are earthy, intense, and beautifully written. If you've never read her books, you need to go to the nearest bookstore, real or online, and purchase OUTLANDER. You'll be glad you did next spring when they come to life on TV, because now her award-winning, New York Times best selling series has been tapped for a 16 week STARZ series. The big question that has been raging about the various sites that have a connection to Diana's OUTLANDER books has been--who will play Jamie? It's Scottish actor Sam Heughan. And before you say anything about him being too skinny, too pretty, too anything not Jamie, here's Diana's take after seeing his casting video. (From her Facebook author page)
OK. Now, I got the word about Sam Heughan (it’s pronounced HEW-en, btw, in case you were wondering. He’s Scottish, and it may well originally have been a Gaelic name) while I was driving to Santa Fe with my husband; they thought they’d found Jamie and were sending me the audition videos a little later. Well, naturally, I spent the next hour Googling “Sam Heughan” on my iPhone. <g>
Now—I think this point may just possibly have escaped a few thousand of you, so let me restate it: Jamie is TWENTY-TWO in OUTLANDER, and a virgin. And as the producers do understand and respect the story very much, they wanted a guy who could believably _be_ a twenty-two-year-old virgin. (Yes, I know half of you are thinking of him as he is in the later books and thus “see” him in his 50’s. That doesn’t mean the producers should cast someone in his late 40’s and ask him to play a 22-year-old virgin. Am I right? Yes, I am. Now that _that’s_ settled...)
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.
So anyway…we get to Santa Fe, let the dogs out, air the house, go have dinner… And _then_, I sit down at my computer, in a lather of trepidation and excitement, to watch the audition tapes.
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_ <g> 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. <g>
Now, fwiw—the necessary physical aspects are all there. Sam’s big—my head would hit about the middle of his chest (he’s only an inch shorter than my husband)—and _very_ well-built, in terms of what Jamie actually looks like. Tall, lean (not burly), rangy (not bulgy), broad-shouldered, muscular (but a _young_ muscular. Young athletes look way different from gnarly middle-aged ones). Face…chiseled, striking—but looks different in every single role.
So go see for yourself. This is one excellent actor and I see him in the iconic role of Jamie Fraser very well. My question is, do I sign up for STARZ next spring of wait for the DVD's to rent? Yeah, you're probably right--I think I'll add to my cable bill. ; )
Sam Heughan's showreel and a picture spread. And his native Scottish accent HERE.
And for those of you who still can't see this young man with long red hair, try HERE and HERE! ; )