To Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, on her 67th birthday
The woman who started it all
In honor of Diana Gabaldon's 67th birthday, we rustled up some of our favorite shots of the author and the cast of Outlander. Together, they helped to create one of the biggest fan favorites on TV.
Gabaldon and the Frasers
Here's what Gabaldon told EW in 2016 about the casting of Sam Heughan as Jamie: "I had no idea what to expect when they sent me the audition tapes, but five seconds in, I was thinking he looks fine. Another five seconds, he was Jamie Fraser. I was astonished." And Balfe? "Caitriona does a beautiful job with Claire. She is different than the book, and that’s because most of what you find funny about Claire is the things she’s thinking, and you can’t do that on a show without constant voiceover."
Gabaldon and Heughan at Comic-Con
Gabaldon knew that fans had reservations when Heughan was first cast. "They read Jamie is head-and-shoulders above the crowd, which he is because everybody else in the 18th century was 5 feet 8 inches," she told EW in 2016. "Sam is not head-and-shoulders above everyone, so everyone thinks he’s puny. He should be bigger. His hair isn’t red enough. It just went on and on. Finally I just wrote a little piece and said, look, do you have any idea what it is that actors really do? Actors act. They embody the character. It doesn’t actually matter what they look like beyond certain rough physical parameters."
From L to R: Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, Gabaldon, Balfe, Tobias Menzies and Heughan.
Gabaldon joins the cast at a Paley event for Outlander. "They were cautious of me to start with because they didn’t know how I would take this," she once told EW about the writers. "We were very much on the same wavelength and getting along fine. So when they began doing things, they began to trust me that I understood that it was an adaptation. I was not the sort of author who was going to be going, 'Oh no, it says this here. You have to do it that way.'”
Now hear this
Gabaldon -- along with Moore, Balfe, and Heughan -- has been a frequent guest on EW Radio.
Heughan and Gabaldon at an Outlander promotional event. Sigh: if only Heughan looked at all of us this way.
Keeping it in the family
Gabaldon has admitted in the past that when she writes, she doesn't picture the current actors. (Gasp!) "Everybody asks that and I keep wondering why. If you’ve read Gone With the Wind and then you watch Gone With the Wind, did it affect things? I learned just recently, in fact, that a lot of people who read do not form a visual image from what they’re reading. They just don’t. They follow the events and get the resonance with the language, but they have only a vague, general idea of what the characters look like. I don’t have any problem at all maintaining the original vision and the film vision, side by side. It’s just different things."
For fans sake
Gabaldon and Heughan at an Outlander signing for the viewers. The author and cast frequently take time out to meet and greet their fans.
Author and partner
On the season 3 Blu-ray, Gabaldon said she generally only asks for changes for two reasons: if it will affect the plot further down the line in a different season, or if she has an issue with a historical detail. “There was a particular scene in one of the season 4 scripts that I wrote back and said, ‘This will come as a big surprise to the people reading book 9,’" she recalled. "They changed it."
Take them to their leader
Gabaldon encourages fans to talk about each episode on her Facebook page. Her readers are a loyal bunch who are, admittedly, a little hard to please sometimes -- especially when the show strays far from her books. But Gabaldon always defends the producers. "They’re extremely kind to me," she told EW in 2016. "They include me in things which is very nice of them, because they don’t have to."