Starz showed a first look trailer Saturday of its upcoming dama "Outlander" at fan event in Los Angeles that streamed online.
The 16-episode series, based on the best-selling "Outlander" book series by Diana Gabaldon and adapted by Ronald D. Moore of "Battlestar Galactica" fame, will premiere this summer on Starz.
Moore, Gabaldon and series stars Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, and Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Randall, attended the event, answering fan questions form the audience and social media.
"Outlander" tells the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse in 1945 who is transported back to 1743 Scotland where she is forced to marry Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser. They fall in love, but Claire is torn between the two men and two worlds.
Claire and Jamie will run into British baddie Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, who is an ancestor of her 1945 hubby Frank Randall. Tobias Menzies, who played Edmure Tully in "Game of Thrones," stars as both Randall men.
Other casts include Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan, a Scotswoman and friend of Claire's, James Fleet as Rev. Wakefield, Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie, Gary Lewis as his brother, Colum MacKenzie, Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, Annette Badland as Mrs. Fitzgibbons, Laura Donnelly as Jenny Fraser, Stephen Walters as Angus Mhor, and Nell Hudson as Laoghaire MacKenzie.
Moore shared artist conceptions of a few sets from the series. He also announced one big piece of news, telling fans that "Battlestar Galactica" composer Bear McCreary will compose the score for the series.
McCreary is keeping busy; he's also done the music for Starz' upcoming pirate drama "Black Sails" and its "Da Vinci's Demons." He also composes for AMC's "The Walking Dead" and ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
During the Saturday panel, Moore said casting Claire was more difficult than Jamie, but once he saw both actors test he knew he had found his lead players.
With a little prodding from Heughan, Balfe revealed that she took an extra step with her outfit for her chemistry read with him. "It was a cheap shot, but I pulled out a Tartan dress," the actress said, referring to the pattern style of much Scottish fashion, including the kilts worn on the show.
Speaking of kilts, Heughan accidentally flashed the front row when he sat down in his kilt. He joked about it later when an audience member asked if the show would show anyone "in their birthday suits."
"I think the front row already saw something," he said, to howls and applause.
When asked how far they will take the sex and the violence that is in Gabaldon's books, Moore joked not "until somebody says stop, I suppose."
"We're just doing what's in the book," he said. "It's not that we're adding in gobs of sex and violence."
Gabaldon added, laughing: "It's already there."
On the subject of violence, Balfe said of all the scenes she's excited to shoot, she's most "looking forward to killing a man," adding that she loves playing Claire. "I think as an actress it's so rare that you come across such a great female character," she said. "She's just so badass."
Gabaldon drew loud laughter and applause when she was asked what scenes she is most excited to seeing filmed. "I hope you will take this in the spirit is intended," she said to the actors, "but I really want to see you tortured and raped."
Apparently this isn't going to be a civilized costume drama. "I'm really looking forward to it as well," Heughan said, laughing.
Gabaldon also pleased "Doctor Who" fans when she explained what inspired her to set the "Outlander" series in Scotland. She started writing the novels at age 36, she said, and once she decided to focus on historical fiction because of her background as a research professor.
"I happened to see a really old 'Doctor Who' episode," she said. "It was one of the second Doctor's episode ... and he had picked up a young Scotsman from 1745 named Jamie McCrimmon."
The character wore a kilt, she said, which she found to be "kind of dashing."
"I found myself still thinking about this the next day in church," she said, causing the audience to laugh. She had "nothing but the rather vivid images conjured up by the notion of a man in a kilt."
"And you can see how inspiring they are," she added, pointing to the kilt-wearing Heughan and Moore.
Another tidbit about inspiration was revealed by Heughan, who said he's always been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" books. Turns out he and his brother were named after characters from the books.
Heughan worked the crowd, drawing "ahhs" several times. When asked how similar he is to Jamie, he said he's draws upon his own experiences to play the character, but "hopefully you'll see a Jamie that you know and you love, but hopefully he's my Jamie as well as yours."
When asked later what his favorite Gaelic phrase is, he said the one for "my love." Balfe busted out laughing, and the crowd went wild.
"Outlander" will premiere this summer on Starz.
Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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