The Starz series OUTLANDER, now in its third season on Sunday nights, owes its success to many people. The Diana Gabaldon novels, translated for the television screen by Ron Moore, stars Caitriona Balfe as mid-twentieth-century English nurse-turned surgeon Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as her eighteenth-century Highlander soulmate Jamie Fraser.

Without executive producer Maril Davis, OUTLANDER the show would not exist, at least not in its present form. It was Davis who brought the project to her producing partner Moore in the first place.

ASSIGNMENT X: Has OUTLANDER the series turned out pretty much the way you envisioned it when you brought the books to Ron Moore?

MARIL DAVIS: Yeah. I initially was introduced to the books by Matt Roberts, who’s one of our executive producers/writers. I was looking for something to develop, and he was like, “Oh, you’d love these books,” and I did. I just ate them right up and it is beyond my wildest dream how this has turned out, because I was such a fan of the books. And sometimes the translation to the screen doesn’t always work out as you expect as a fan, and I’ve just been so pleased. I’m just so proud of the entire crew and the cast, and it’s been amazing.

AX: Claire and Jamie are separated at the end of Season 2, with her returning to the 1940s for the safety of their unborn child, and him going off to the Battle of Culloden. They remain in different centuries for a number of episodes in Season 3. During the time that Claire and Jamie are separated, are you going half and half between them, or is it weighted more towards one or the other?

DAVIS: I think pretty much half and half, but some of it is a little more Jamie-focused, just because in the book, Jamie has a more specific, structured story that Diana has laid out. We had to create a little more material for Claire, but they both have amazing stories. It’s so interesting to see them on their separate journeys this year.

AX: The production of OUTLANDER was based in Scotland for the first two seasons, which was set in Scotland, England and France. A lot of Season 3 takes place in the United States. Are you moving the production to America with the story?

DAVIS: No. We thought about it, and it would have been great, because we’d love to be in the place where it actually takes place, but it just wasn’t possible from a financial perspective. Also, we have such an amazing set-up in Scotland, and our crew is so amazing, it was hard to move with all those factors. So we will be using Scotland again as our base, standing in for the Colonies.

AX: For the Americans the characters encounter while they’re in America, are you getting American actors, or U.K. actors who can do American accents?

DAVIS: It’s still TBD [to be determined], although we’re a non-SAG show [meaning the production company does not have a contract with the U.S. Screen Actors Guild], so we just have to find great U.K. actors who can do American accents, or people who are non-SAG. So once again, I don’t know if we have any scenes yet in a large American town. I mean, in the 1980s, that remains to be seen.

AX: Do you do Comic-Con with the OUTLANDER group and have the rock star experience?

DAVIS: Yeah. It’s so much fun. We get to meet our fans there. It’s nice to have that interaction and hear what they feel like and obviously, they saw the episode, those who were there [at Comic-Con, where the Season 3 premiere was screened], and it’s great to get that feedback. And we love our fans, so any time we can interact with them, it’s amazing for us.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about OUTLANDER Season 3?

DAVIS: I think it’s our best season yet.

This interview was conducted during Starz’s portion of the Summer 2017 Television Critics Association press tour.

Related: OUTLANDER: Exclusive interview with Tobias Menzies on Season 3

Related: OUTLANDER: Exclusive interview with actor Sam Heughan

Related: OUTLANDER: Author Diana Gabaldon discusses the move to TV – exclusive interview

Related: OUTLANDER: Ronald D. Moore talks the second part of Season 1 – exclusive interview

RelatedOUTLANDER star Caitriona Balfe trapped in time – interview

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ArticleOUTLANDER: Exclusive interview with OUTLANDER executive producer Maril Davis on Season 3

 

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