Randall Wallace To Adapt Outlander

Fantasy novels could become a franchise

Looks like we could have another fantasy franchise on our hands, following the news that fledgling production company, Essential Pictures, has hired Randall Wallace to adapt Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of novels for the big screen.

The series, which comprises six novels so far with a seventh on the way, focuses on the adventures of an 18th century Scot, Jamie Fraser, and his time-travelling wife, Claire, and is not to be confused with the forthcoming Outlander, the demented aliens-vs-vikings movie starring Jim Caviezel and Jack Huston.

What it is, though, is a genre-bending, centuries-spanning romantic adventure that contains plenty of action, a few neat twists (the heroine, Claire, is married to a guy in the 20th century before she travels back in time; the main villain, 'Black Jack' Randall, is a doppelganger of her modern-day husband) and the sort of swoonsome love story that could have them weeping in the aisles.

And, refreshingly for a fantasy movie, there's not a dragon in sight.

So, it's Highlander meets Back To The Future, then? Sounds like it might be worth keeping an eye on.

Essential has put the project out to a number of directors, with a view to starting production next Spring. The company aims to make two to three movies a year, budgeted between $10-$40 million.

They're also involved with a romantic comedy, Bronwyn And Clyde, which could see Barry Sonnenfeld make a return to directing, from a script by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin.