Ron Moore's time-traveling Outlander series has found its Claire

Finally! Ronald D. Moore’s sweeping time-traveling fantasy TV series Outlander has found its Claire!

Starz has just announced through a press release that the character of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser—a World War II nurse and Frank Randall’s (Game of Thrones' Tobias Menzies) and Jamie Fraser’s (Sam Heughan) wife (it's kinda timey-wimey complicated in an awesome way) has finally been cast after months of waiting and wild speculating by fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series.

So who is the lucky lady? Well, her name is Caitriona Balfe. She's not yet a household name, but no doubt she'll become one when Starz starts airing Outlander in the spring.

Below is the press release:

New STARZ Original Series Based on Diana Gabaldon’s International Blockbuster Novels
From “Battlestar Galactica” Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore
Beverly Hills, Calif., September 11, 2013 – Starz in association with Sony Pictures Television has announced today that Caitriona Balfe will play the role of Claire Randall in the original series “Outlander,” adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books, which will premiere on STARZ in 2014. The quick-witted, stubborn but lovely, English “sassenach” Claire Randall, has been adored worldwide by fans since the first of the seven-book series appeared in 1991. The series has since sold more than 25 million copies and graced the New York Times best-seller list six times. In the two months since casting the first lead character of Jamie Fraser, thousands of Outlander fans have started online campaigns, “Claire Watch 2013” and “Free Claire” in anticipation of today’s announcement.
Diana Gabaldon said, "Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did. The moment Caitriona Balfe came on screen, I sat up straight and said, ‘There she is!’ She and Sam Heughan absolutely lit up the screen with fireworks."
“The casting of Claire Randall was a long and difficult one because the role is so crucial to the success of our show. Outlander is told from Claire's point of view and we experience the entire story through her eyes, so it was vital that we find exactly the right actor to play her,” said Executive Producer, Ronald D. Moore. “Caitriona wasn't on anyone's radar, she wasn't on any list, but when we saw her audition tape, we immediately knew she was someone special. Then, after we had her read with Sam, we knew we'd found our Claire. At its heart, Outlander is the story of two people -- Claire and Jamie -- their loves and losses, their adventures and tragedies, and now we finally have them both."
The “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history and adventure in one epic tale. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Caitriona Balfe can next be seen in Escape Plan for Summit/Lionsgate, starring opposite Arnold Schwarznegger and Sylvester Stallone. Her other credits include J.J. Abrams’ Paramount feature Super 8 as well as Bryan Singer and Jason Taylor’s digital series “H+.” Balfe is repped by Kim Callahan at Industry Entertainment, Emptage Hallett in the UK and attorney Darren Trattner.
Balfe joins previously announced cast members Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Gary Lewis (Colum MacKenzie), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser), Annette Badland (Mrs. Fitzgibbons) and Stephen Walters (Angus Mhor).
The first two episodes of the series will be written by executive producer, Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and directed by John Dahl (“Dexter,” “Breaking Bad,” “Justified”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television.
The series will begin filming in Scotland in September 2013.

Author Diana Gabaldon wrote on her Facebook account:

Am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to announce that We. Have. Claire!!!
Claire will be played by the truly lovely and wonderful--yes, I saw her audition videos with Sam (they were _great_!)--Caitriona Balfe.

Are you excited about Starz’s choice to play Claire on Outlander? Is Caitriona Balfe the way you pictured James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser's "Sassenach"?

(via Starz)

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