Interview with producer of Outlander Ronald D Moore
What is one word to describe Outlander?
If you were to sell this show to someone in a couple of sentences, how would you convince them that this is a show that they will want to watch?
I think it's a show that you haven't seen before. I think this is an interesting tale. This is a period piece with a bit of time travel in it. And, [it’s] a pretty epic adventure.
And what would you describe as the genre?
The genre of Outlander is an interesting question, because it's been moved around in bookstores over the years. You know, one of the things that Diana [Gabaldon] will tell you is that one of her challenges for the book was trying to figure out where booksellers should put it. Some would put it in the romance sections. Others would put it in the fiction. Others would put it in historical fiction. Others would put it in fantasy. It encompasses all of those things.
So what kind of research goes into the process for creating a show such as Outlander?
There's a tremendous amount of research that goes into the production of the physical production of the show. A big leg up was done by all—or done for all of us by Diana [Gabaldon] herself, who did a lot of research into the medicine of the time, into the historical details and the politics and the terrain and et cetera. She really did a lot of basic legwork, in terms of what these two worlds of the '40s and the 18th Century were like.
How does the show implement different elements of time travel, magic, mysticism and parts of the Scottish history and culture?
There is an element of magic or fantasy in the show. You know, primarily through the time-travel aspect. Claire touches stones at a circle of standing stones at Craigh na Dun and that's what propels her back in time. So there's certainly a fantastical element to the entire piece. There are suggestions of witchcraft and there are suggestions of prophecy that happen—all that, sort of, blends into what I think is the backdrop of Scotland itself.
And, you know, this is, as Frank says in the opening episode, “You will be hard-pressed to find a place that's more imbued with magic and folklore and superstition than the Scottish Highlands, even in the 1940s. That is part of the heritage of this time.” So we embrace that. We don't want to make the show about that, because it's not really a show about magic and witchcraft or fantasy elements. But there is this piece that propels the entire story, that something extraordinary happened to this woman by simply touching the stone and put her in an extraordinary situation.
Who is involved in the love triangle of the show, and what conflict is created because of the love triangle?
The triangle—the heart of the show, obviously, is between Claire, Frank, and Jamie. The relationship between Claire and Frank at the beginning of the show is a good one. They've been separated by the war. They've only seen each other for a handful of days during the Second World War, because Claire was a nurse and Frank was in military intelligence. And when we pick up the story, they're trying to reunite. They're trying to reconnect.