Ron Moore reveals how Game of Thrones helped him bring Outlander to TV

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Jan 9, 2014, 6:18 PM EST (Updated)

Ronald D. Moore is crediting Game of Thrones for helping him bring Starz's upcoming time-traveling/fantasy/drama series Outlander to TV -- and here's how.

Outlander tells the story of a World War II combat nurse named Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) who finds herself flung into the past by stepping through a circle of standing stones, leading to love with a fierce young Scottish Highland warrior by the name of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

If you're worried that the upcoming show will just be plain historical drama -- don't be. Outlander does have plenty of fantasy elements, the first being the time-travel aspect. Other stuff will pop up, but we'll keep mum about them because, you know, SPOILERS.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming -- and on to the casting game.

Ronald Moore - who executive-produces Outlander - told EW:

We went into this saying there’s a lot of Claires out there. We’ll find Clarie and [her Scottish lover] Jamie was going to really kill us — he’s the tough one. Of course, it was the exact opposite. It was really hard to find somebody to be Clarie. The show sits on her shoulders in a very real way — she’s in every scene, every day, and it had to be an actress who can bring that character to life with a lot of depth.

Moore also got into how the hit HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones opened the door to all kinds of genre to the TV landscape, and how it’s influenced him:

It’s definitely opened that door and showed that fantasy and genre material has a strong audience on premium cable. They also showed you can take an existing readership and turn it into an audience and then broaden that audience. We don’t think of ourselves as their competition because they won that corner of the world and they do what they do amazingly well. We want to find our own different space.
I’ve been a fan of Thrones, I’ve been impressed with how they’ve navigated the adaption process. Less with The Walking Dead, because they’ve varied a lot from the source material and been very successful, but I’ve been trying to stick [with the source material]. I’ve been impressed with Homeland and its ability to shock its audience, and Mad Men fort its utter dedication to character.

The Battlestar Galactica creator also explained that the plan is to do one book per season (there are seven of Diana Gabaldon’s books that make up the main bulk of the Outlander series out now, with an eighth one titled Written In My Own Heart’s Blood to be published on June 10), and that a season will have 16 episodes.

When asked how he would stage (portray) the historical past on Outlander (remember, the story is set in the 1940s and the 1740s), Moore’s answer was this:

I think what we’re going for overall is we’re trying to deliver an authentic period piece. We’re not trying to reinvent the 18th century and make it cool for modern audiences. There’s a temptation to make period pieces look like a costume drama, where everything is very clean and beautiful. We’re going for a rougher, grittier feeling to what life was like back then.

Then Moore proceeded to reveal just how much sex there'll be on the series - it is on Starz after all, you guys. 

It’s an intimate show in an epic setting. There is a fair amount. We don’t really have to add very much; there’s a lot of sex in the book. There’s a fair amount of violence, too, but it’s not a battle show — we’re not getting into the big slo-mo spurts of blood.

We definitely love what we’re hearing here. Ronald Moore is a talented producer, and, lest we forget, he's the dude that gave us that amazing Battlestar Galactica reboot, ass-kicking females in Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and Number Six (Tricia Helfer) and toasters.

Are you guys looking forward to seeing Starz’s upcoming fantasy drama series Outlander? Do you think that it’ll be in good hands with Ron Moore at the helm? Are you hoping for a truly faithful book adaptation? 

(via EW)

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