‘Outlander’ Author on Starz Show Protagonist: ‘They Sort of Want to Lick Him’

TCA 2014: Men in kilts talk about a the female-favorite novel adaptation

Last Updated: July 10, 2014 @ 7:25 PM

Starz original series “Outlander,” based on the eponymous novel series by Diana Gabaldon, will stick closely to the book over the course of its 16 episode first season, showrunner Ronald D. Moore promised readers.

“In the writer’s room, we always start with the book,” executive producer Moore said at Starz’s Television Critics Association press tour panel on Friday. “If it’s in the book, it’s in the show.”

Occasionally of course, scenes will be cut, trimmed or otherwise adapted to match the pay-TV show’s one-hour format, Moore explained. One glaring difference between the book and the show, however, will be how the TV adaptation raises its curtain. While the book eases itself into the story slowly, the Starz debut will open with a two-minute prologue taking place during World War II, introducing heroine Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) to viewers right away.

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Four of the show’s Season 1 episodes, which covers the series’ first book — Gabaldon’s first effort ever — have been filmed so far. Moore, who along with the series’ male lead donned a kilt for the panel, expects that if they earn a renewal, “Outlander” will likely stick to the one book per season format.

Naturally, a reporter asked the men on stage about the kilts — a key costume piece in their 1743 Scotland-based show. Moore, whose wife also happens to be the costume designer on “Outlander,” said that he now owns “several” kilts. Star Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, touted the clothing item’s versatility: “It took a while to used to it, but it’s a real joy to work with it,” he said. “You can even use it as a shield, wrap it around our arms.”

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While the romance novel has a rabid female following — evidenced by a sizzle reel played before the panel — author Gabaldon swore to the existence of male fans, saying, “There are several, but they tend not to stand out in the street with signs and t-shirts.”

Gabaldon credited the demographics of her readers as identifying with — and wanting to be — Claire, especially because of her steamy relationship with Jamie Fraser: “They sort of want to lick him,” Gabaldon said.