For the last week, I have had the privilege of being a fly on the wall as an author has a dream come true. The Starz network signed Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series last spring, and has finally begun casting. This week her lead character, Jamie Fraser, was cast, and the role went to Scots actor Sam Heughan.
With typical enthusiasm Diana shared her excitement over his audition tape with her Facebook followers:
She observed how she started watching the audition tape, “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.”
Talk about understatement!
Of course, not everyone is able to visualize Diana’s quite explicit descriptions of what Jamie looked like at age 22 in the first Outlander book, and those people leapt up complaining about Sam’s physique, his hair, etc. Diana firmly and unequivocally put them in their place. (A hilarious blog about the whole storm on Thatsnormal.com if you want the details)
Meanwhile, Diana took to Twitter and started messaging Sam Heughan (like many in the Outlander world!) Sam is embracing the enthusiasm of his army of new fans and he and Diana are carrying on a public flirtation for the whole world to see.
I am so thrilled for her. I suppose this is how Stephenie Meyer felt when Rob Pattison was cast to become Edward in the Twilight movies. Bad makeup and a low budget probably couldn’t kill her buzz either. I’m sure when Charlaine Harris first saw Anna Pasquin bring Sookie Stackhouse to life she was equally thrilled (Sookie be damned, how about the perfect choice of Joe Manganiello to be Alcide Herveault?! Be still my heart!). Both Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series took some serious deviations from the original plots. No matter. How amazing must have been those first halcyon days when the incarnate word was made flesh!
Starz has a budget and a social media savvy author who is sharing her excitement with a legion of fans. The buzz is amazing. On one hand, I feel very sorry for all the companies over the years that optioned the rights to make a movie or TV series out of this story and then had them lapse before funding could be put together. Foolish money men. You will see what you missed! On the other hand, I think Tall Ship Productions and Ron Moore are going to do Diana’s work proud. They know very well that rabid fans are going to be unforgiving if they screw up Diana’s story!
The absolutely best part of this, what has me grinning constantly and bouncing around my house, has been the fun of watching Diana in the absolutely giddy excitement of seeing her character come to life. I can hardly wait until she gets to go on set and meet all the cast!
Some day, perhaps, I’ll get to see my Grace, Ben, Marco, and Alex become flesh. In the meantime, I’m living vicariously through Diana, and I’m enjoying every minute!