Unlike casting Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall, casting Brianna Randall and Roger Wakefield is a breeze. Half-way into Dragonfly in Amber, I instinctively knew that Jim Caviezel should play Roger Wakefield.
I’ve always felt that Roger Wakefield represents the moral conscience of the Outlander series. There’s something about him that’s undeniably trustworthy; he’s the thoughtful scholar and the ethical philosopher trying to put this whole bizarre time-traveling phenomenon into perspective. One thing I’ve noticed about Roger is that he is forever searching inward, weighing the right and wrong in every situation.
In my mind, Jim Caviezel is Roger Wakefield. For one thing, Jim Caviezel resembles the tall, dark, and handsome Oxford historian. The biggest resemblance is in the eyes. There’s a sad quality in Jim Caviezel’s eyes, a quiet introspection that embodies Roger perfectly. Perhaps this same haunting quality is what prompted Mel Gibson to cast Jim Caviezel as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. Since Jim Caviezel did an entire movie in a foreign tongue, I’m sure he can pull off Roger’s faint Scottish brogue effortlessly.
I’ve only seen a handful of movies starring Alicia Witt, or to be more precise, “co-starring” Alicia Witt. I think that she physically resembles Brianna Randall Fraser more than any other actress. The book calls for a tall, gorgeous redhead and Alicia Witt epitomizes Brianna’s striking physique. I fear I don’t have a more substantial reason for casting Alicia Witt as Brianna other than the close physical resemblance. However, I think there is some merit in my casting decision: the first thing any character notices about Brianna is her looks. Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water) is another possibility, but Diana Gabaldon couldn’t emphasize enough that Brianna is nearly 6’ft tall.