Caitriona Balfe Lands ‘Outlander’ Lead

Caitriona Balfe Crush

Ever since Ronald D. Moore’s Outlander series was announced by Starz last fall, fans of Diana Gabaldon’s novels have wondered one thing: Who’s going to play time-displaced nurse Claire? We learned that Sam Heughan will portray the male lead Jamie, the Scotsman whom Claire marries in the 189th century. Just recently, we even found out who are playing his uncles, but what about the main character?

Thanks to Deadline, fans can finally answer the question. It’s Caitriona Balfe, who most recently starred in Now You See Me.

“Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did,” Gabaldon said. “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,” Moore said. “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. 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.”

Outlander will begin filming its 16-episode first season in Scotland this year with an eye toward a 2014 debut on Starz.

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