'Outlander': Caitriona Balfe is Claire in Starz series

caitriona-balfe-outlander.jpgThe Starz adaptation of the "Outlander" novels has found its Claire.

Irish actress Caitriona Balfe will play the part in the show, which comes from "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer Ron Moore and is based on Diana Gabaldon's novels. She joins a cast that includes Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, Gary Lewis, Duncan Lacroix, Annette Badland and Stephen Walters.

"The casting of Claire Randall was a long and difficult one because the role is so crucial to the success of our show," Moore says. "'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."

Balfe's Claire is a World War II combat nurse who's mysteriously swept back in time to the year 1743. Forced into a marriage with Jamie Fraser (Heughan), she begins to fall for him and is torn between this new reality and a desire to return to her husband in the 20th century.

"Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did," Gabaldon says. "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."

Balfe has had roles in "Now You See Me" and "Super 8" and appeared in several episodes of the web series "H+." She co-stars with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in the thriller "Escape Plan," which hits theaters in October.

"Outlander" is scheduled to begin filming in Scotland this month. It will premiere on Starz in 2014.

What do you think of the casting? Does Balfe fit your vision of Claire?
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