The majority of Outlander fans who read Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling series probably picture Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as the book’s main characters, Jamie and Claire Fraser. That doesn’t, however, hold true for Heughan and Balfe. With Season 3 officially underway, the Outlander stars were asked who they imagine portraying the time-travelling couple and it certainly isn’t themselves.
During a Q&A session in New York for the season premiere, Entertainment Weekly reports that Balfe admitted that Jamie and Claire are different in her mind when she reads the books. The actress doesn’t picture a particular person when she reads, and she doesn’t imagine herself or Heughan as the time-traveling couple. Balfe’s co-star felt the same way, and added that he often reads the series while thinking about how the scenes might unfold on the show.
Heughan and Balfe’s comments come after an extended break between seasons. While Outlander fans may be surprised by their responses, there are a lot of differences between the show and Gabaldon’s books. In fact, during an interview with Collider, executive producer Matthew Roberts talked about the difficulty of adapting the books and admitted that it is hard meeting everyone’s expectations.
“One of the main challenges from adapting a well-known book to making it visual is when you read a book you fill in the gaps. Everyone has created their own image of a scene that they love […] but we can’t produce what’s in everybody’s head…” Roberts explained.
Roberts added that Gabaldon’s complicated world is great to adapt because it is constantly changing. Sometimes the focus is on romance while other times the cast and crew are spending a week shooting a bloody battle. He also revealed that some members of the crew have read the entire series while others only read the book they are adapting. This mixture gives producers a good balance of perspective, which is key in successful adapting Gabaldon’s stories.
When it comes to incorporating new characters on the show, Roberts explained how they do not shy away from controversy. Instead, they tend to dive head first into whatever makes a good story and leave the debate to the fans. Although this sometimes leads to criticism, Roberts doesn’t mind as long as it leads to an engaging story. Given the success of Outlander over the past two years, Roberts’ tactic is clearly paying dividends.
Season 3 of Outlander continues Sunday nights on Starz, check out a preview for Episode 2 below.
Tell us! Who do you dream about when you read the Outlander books? Let us know in the comments.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]