UPDATE, August 2014: This post was originally written in May 2009, nearly five years before Diana Gabaldon had real plans to bring Outlander to the small screen, so this was all simply fun speculation about who should play Jamie Fraser if a movie were ever made. In reality, now, of course, the book is being brought to STARZ with the verra sexy Sam Heughan playing Jamie. (And very well, at that!) But if you want to hear our own musings years ago (the comments are really fun!), read on:
One of the fun things to do when you finish a favorite book is to try to figure out who should play the parts of all the lead characters.
“Casting” came up again for me this week on Twitter. First, we were discussing an actual movie and who would play the roles, but then – since I just finished reading Outlander – I brought up Claire and Jamie. (No, people, calm down — I don’t know of any real plans to be a movie — just having fun thinking of who I would cast if it were.)
I realize I’m not the only one who plays the “who would play Jamie?” game, but Jamie would be a crucial decision, wouldn’t he? He’s named seemingly everywhere as one of the most popular romance heroes of all time, so his role would have to be perfectly cast to appease millions of fans.
I asked my Twitter friends who they thought should play him, and here are some of the votes I got:
- Gerard Butler apparently comes up a lot (but @doart wondered if he’d be too old for a 20ish virgin?)
- Simon Woods (“after hitting the gym,” @doart said)
- Karl Urban, if he dyed his hair red, said @sighWTF
- Hugh Jackman got a vote from @lisamaccoll (if he dyed his hair)
- Gabriel Aubry came up as a suggestion from @nanna95.
What about you? Who do you think should play Jamie? Read below our dozens of comments and check out all the cool links people left — then weigh in yourself! We’d love to hear your thoughts!
My hunky husband!
Okay, a young Fabio with red hair would do for Jamie. Maybe Matthew McConaughey. Has to be someone ruggedly gorgeous.
I’m researching this. Seriously. I’m searching the internet for a young actor I think would make a good Jamie Fraser, but I have yet to find anybody suitable. I saw somebody mention a young Sean Bean, which I think would work, but I haven’t found him yet.
Based solely on appearance, I think Emily Blunt would make a good Clare. I need to watch The Devil Wears Prada again to see if *she* would suit as Clare, but her look certainly does.
Now I’m off again to search actors for a Jamie! I’m thinking I might have to go with a relative unknown…
I’m digging in my heels at Hugh Jackman for Jamie…but would put down my dollars to see Gerard Butler too.(is it warm in here?) Jamie’s not that young, remember…and he was a respected chieftain. Also, battle experience ages people (or so I’ve been told)Jamie can’t be pretty-handsome, yes, but tough.
Clare-now that’s tough. Emma Watson (Hermione in Harry Potter) is a bit too young, but feisty enough. Emily Blunt is an interesting choice. Diane Lane is a bit too old but she’d be wonderful.
This is fun…but now I have to go make some money so that I can go to the movie when it comes out, or better, buy the next BOOK!
Its probably going to come down to an unknown to play Jamie. Unfortunately the character of Jamie is so beloved among the book’s followers that if you cast a “name” actor, you aren’t going to see Jamie, you’re going to see the name actor instead.
Just jumping in really quickly to add that I thought of a Claire! — I think Anne Hathaway. She has that “wise” look that I think Claire needs.
I’ll keep thinking …
Well, I’m still in for Simon Woods but do think that Gerard Butler would be a good as the older Jamie in later books. Emily Blunt is great–didn’t even think of her!
If you guys are interested there is some movie news from time to time. Gabaldon didn’t update it on the FAQs on her website but she did blog about it last fall. The rights have been purchased and the movie is in development (meaning that someone has been hired to do the script). Obviously nothing is concrete until filming is underway.
and Gabaldon has said that “G. Butler is a fine specimen of manhood but he might find it difficult to play a 22 yo virgin.”
@doart — Hi! Thanks for sending that link to the filming info. I tried to look around last night before I posted, but couldn’t find anything (for the right “Outlander” movie) that looked solid. I’m glad you shared that.
One thing I did find last night was this little youTube video by Jaqueline001 with a slide show of a bunch of Jamie choices! I love it! (And many of your choices above are in her show.)
Oh – the casting game! Love doing that! 😉 I love this series by Diana Gabaldon – word had it a few years back that it had been optioned but nothing came of it. I think if anyone could do it justice it would be the BBC or HBO. In any case I think the leads would have to be actors who could span the years well – start young then age gracefully – and Jamie would have to be someone tall, lanky and red but I think very handsome and refined. Even though GB is the natural choice because he’s Scottish – he’s too rugged looking. And as for Claire – yes I think Keira Knightly would be good but if they do a TV version then she would be out – lots of great choices out there for excellent talent.
I’m good with Ewan McGregor – he’s “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Jamie-worthy, after all. In thinking about Jamie today, I thought, “That hot Star Wars guy – not Liam Neeson (sorry Liam) – Obi-wan!”
Side note: I’m not good with any of those guys who look like they’re straight out of The Hobbit.
OHMYGOSH,!!!!! It would be fun to see who is cast for the role of Jamie. These books were my all time favorite romance books, and I’ve read tons of them. (That comes with being retired for several years.)
I’m not too familiar with the younger actors these days, but looking at the YouTube possibilities, I liked Ewan MacGregor the most. He could play the first 4 books, and then somehow, put Liam Neeson (sp?) in for the “older” Jamie. He’s tall. I agree with all the ladies who feel Jamie has to be handsome, big and very tall. Actually Eric Stoltz was a good possibility too, but I don’t know if he’s tall or not. I’ll have to track down Gerald Butler. Also, I’m not very good at who should play Clair, since I don’t know the currant female actresses that well.
On a totally different note, does anyone know if Judith McNaught is ever going to come out with a new book? Has she retired? I loved all of her books.
here’s one you probably ahven’t considered Toby Kieth!
My mom first suggested him and not I can’t get hin outa my head as I read the books!
He’s got the height ,the bod and the eyes, those long full lips the complection… replace that cowboy hat with a kilt, some red hair and a very patient voice coach…
Hey if British Vivian Liegh can play Scarlett O’Hara then our Southern Boy Toby could be Jamie Fraser.
I’d also like to play the csating game!
For me William McInness (australian in his 40’s) is the perfect Jamie, don’t know how to make him look 20 but he’s perfect. Gabriel Aubrey could be a younger version.
Check him and let me know what you think
Josh Homme. Lead singer for the rock band “Queens of the Stone Age” (seriously!) He’s got red hair, blue eyes and he’s about 6’4″!!! Since he’s an entertainer/musician, I’m sure he could learn a scottish accent.
Herself – Ms. Gabaldon – said on her site that Gabriel Aubrey IS what Jamie looks like, just the wrong coloring.
For me, Simon Woods would be the perfect younger Jamie, and if you’ve read further along in the series Paul Bettany would fill in nicely as the older version. I’d also LOVE to see David Tennant as the older Ian in the later novels.
Don’t forget the age of Jamie, I suggest Henry Cavill (with red hair). But I agree with chikenbetty, Paul Bettany or Gabriel Aubry could be a good choice.
Oooh, Henry Cavill!! I never thought of him. He’d have to bulk up a bit, but yes. …
I’m still liking the Gabriel Aubrey choice, but since he’s a model and not an actor, that might be difficult. And he’s a tad skinny.
Hard to find the right size, the right hair, and top that off with youth, huh? Plus Jamie needs some mirth in the face, don’t you think?
These are ALL awesome suggestions!!!
Hmmm… this is way too hard, Im sure we all have our own version of Jamie in our minds. I do think Gabriel Aubry has the right level of.. hotness. I do like Paul Walker… but the guy should really be Scottish. Heck no on Toby keith! Blah! James McAvoy really needs to be cast as someone… who? Maybe Ian.. he’s not really tall or skinny enough. I think I would cry if Keira Knightly was Claire… she’s just not a Claire. Ruth Wilson. maybe. Perhaps Keri Russel.. yeah, I like that.
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Absolutely no way should Gerard Butler play Jamie… his coloring is wrong for one… he’s WAY TOO OLD for another… These movies should grow like a series so they should cast young. Hugh Jackman!?! He’s like 45!
Still haven’t found the perfect Jamie.
I keeps saying it and I’ll say it again. The guys that you people are picking are either way too old or hideously ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I think Gerard Butler is one of the sexiest men alive, but he’s like 43. Hugh Jackman is weird. But since you people don’t seem to have a problem with an Australian actor playing the part, what about Jesse Spencer. Most people are probably like, “Who’s that” well he plays Dr. Chase on House. He’s very cute (I’m sure plenty of people have fantisized about him), tall, YOUNG, and he can have that playful yet haunted look about him. I looked at some of the other people that some of you would cast; Simon Woods is not attractive, I wouldn’t go near that with a ten foot pole. Paul Bettny is a fantastic actor but again, not cute and too old. Jesse Spencer is perfect, if you look at a picture of him you’d agree. He has the right ruddy complexion the same blue eyes, the only difference is that he’s a blonde. I advocate for Jesse Spencer, take it or leave it.
Hmmmm … Jenn …. I think you might be on to something here. I love “House,” and know the character Dr. Chase. He’s a great age, and definitely has a soulful face. (I like what you said about “playful yet haunted look about him” — so true!) However, we’d have to beef him up with some protein powder and weights — I do picture Jamie to be enormous.
I agree, he does need to beef up a bit. But at least he has the potential to beef up. They have been successful in beefing up actors before for other movies. Thank you for the reply.
We have the same name, and apparently the same taste. The moment you said Jesse Spencer a little light went off in my head that said “Yes! Perfect!”
The only problem I see is that he’s not particularly tall. Easily fixed, I think, especially if they cast a shorter Claire.
Me likey this idea.
this looks like the same castle and bridge that was in the movie highlander
You have to check out Chris Hemsworth! He is in his 20s, 6’3” and absolutely gorgeous! He is also very muscular and even has Jamies blue cat-eyes!
He is the perfect guy to play Jamie, for sure. If you want to know a bit more about him, check out this video:
seriously, it will change your minds!!!
Thanks, Lisa! I loved the video! And you’re right — he’s got the right combo of youth and size that many of the others are missing (one or the other). Hmmm … I think you’ve convinced me! (I might have to watch the video again. …) : )
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I just finished watching the 4th season of the Tudors, and fell in love with an actor by the name of Henry Cavill. He did an amazing job in the Tudors and I believe he would make a perfect Jamie. He is 6’1″ and is amazing to look at, but more importantly he can act. The series the Tudors ran for 4 years, but the timeline of the characters span decades, Henry did an amazing job of going from a twenty year old character to someone in his fifties. I believe this is important for the actor that plays Jamie to be able to do this. Hair and eye colour can be changed, but the actors ability to act can not. I just hope the studio that produces this story does not place someone in the character just because he looks like Jamie. For example you have Gabriel Aubry on your list of potential people that could play Jamie, please no, he is not an actor and I would hate to see the book butcher by someone who can not act.
Hi, smyers — Yes, actually, Henry Cavill was mentioned here already (by Mazlie, about 11 comments up from yours). I agree. He’s terrific in the Tudors!
I haven’t entered this discussion before and I’m really not very far out on the Web (no Facebook), but I feel really strongly about this! I have also wondered about Jamie and Claire. I even scanned faces when I went to Culloden (inspired by the series of books). After all these years, THE minute I saw Phillip Winchester in Camolot, I knew I had found the man! He pulled off young in the mini series and yet I have seen teasers for an upcoming show whwere he looks older. I hope this note reaches the attentention of someone who knows how to pass it along so others may weigh in. THANKS!
Hi, Rosanne! Well, I have ZERO clout about this, so I doubt this will reach the attention of anyone! 🙂 However, I’m really glad you swung by and added your opinion. I’ve had a few people mention Camelot to me recently in various conversations … I think I might have to check it out! And now I’ll look for Phillip Winchester and think of Jamie. Thanks for coming by and weighing in. Keep checking back — this has been a long, ongoing discussion since May 2009 and keeps going! : )
I think Toby Keith is a good choice, but I kinda go for Mathew McCaughney (misspelled). I saw photos of Gerald Butler, he would be good!
Just tossing in my 2 cents but has anyone considered Kellan Lutz? Have never seen him in anything but twilight saga but he’s got the body and the eyes. Many think it should be a lesser known actor. Just food for thought.
Travis Fimmel & Chris Hemsworth would be my picks. Both could do the accents,have the eyes & are gorgeous!
Viggo Mortensen, for an older Jamie (coloring not right, but intensity and looks are, I think). Posthumously, Heath Ledger would have been great. Ewan MacGregor would be great too.