You knew it was coming with The Outlander Movie post: my casting ideas. To be honest, I prefer to see Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels adapted into a HBO television series in a one season-one novel format. Screenwriters don’t have to work too hard because each novel comes with a built-in cliffhanger and the integrity of Gabaldon’s vision may be retained because HBO eludes more censors than a blockbuster movie. How else are you going to get away with that Black Jack Randall plotline? In an ideal world, Outlander would be a seven-season HBO series with the dialogue of Deadwood and the historical production value of Rome.
On to casting. HBO executives–I hope you’re taking notes.
The popular YouTube consensus is Gerard Butler as Jamie Fraser. Nothing wrong with that–you can’t deny that the genuine Scotsman is physically blessed by God. It seems like every Outlander fan loves him. So I hate to say it: I can’t see him as Jamie Fraser.
Truth to tell, I think Diana Gabaldon has created an impossible to cast character. Never in my life have I set eyes on a 6’4″ Scotsman with flaming red hair and several hundred years of Viking blood running through his veins. If I ever set eyes on Jamie Fraser in real life, I think I’ll go blind…much like someone will go blind staring at the sun.
With the 300 trailers out on YouTube, I can’t help imaging what Gerard Butler/Jamie Fraser would yell once the Battle of Culloden rolls around: “Madness? This. Is. Scotland!” This image makes me giggle incessantly. Perhaps I speak too soon–I haven’t seen 300, but once I do, I may recant my words and rue the day I ever underestimated Gerard Bulter’s ability to play Jamie Fraser. The picture above of Gerard looking distinctly Jamie Fraser-like doesn’t help me in my decision in discounting him in the coveted role.
If I want to see Outlander filmed while I’m still young and idealistic enough to swoon over this God-like Scotsman, I’d better stick to Gerard Butler who is the closest living resemblance to Jamie Fraser that I’ve seen so far.
But another part of me, the part that takes Diana Gabaldon’s description very literally, would argue that the part should go to some unknown Scottish actor who resembles a young Sean Bean.
I think the young Sean Bean more closely resembles the fair and slender 23-year-old Jamie Fraser of my imagination than Gerard Bulter. The orginal Sean Bean, now in his late-forties, would be perfect to play Jamie Fraser circa Voyager and beyond.
In the picture above, young Sean Bean comes packaged with puffy-white shirt and all. In the picture below, he’s dressed up in full Scots regalia which brings back fond memories of Jamie and Claire’s wedding.
And here is Mr. Bean again with a band of Scottish ruffians, much like the part in the book when Claire stumbles upon Jamie Fraser and his cattle-raiding posse. Although the Scotsmen looked more ferocious and worst-for-wear in my imagination.
Next time on The Outlander Movie…Claire Randall Fraser.
Update: Casting Jamie Fraser: Part II.