Starz confirmed earlier this year actress Kristin Atherton would replace Laura Donnelley as Jenny Murray after the original actress couldn’t return to Outlander due to other commitments.
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Fans will be meeting the new Jenny, Jamie Fraser’s (played by Sam Heughan) younger sister in Outlander season seven, part two after he returned to Scotland.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Express, Outlander’s casting director Suzanne Smith opened up about how actress Atherton had clinched the part.
Smith explained about the character of Jamie’s younger sister: “Well, I think she can stand up to her brother. You’ve got to believe there was always that sort of – Jenny had that sort of spitfire-y thing.
“You’ve got to believe they could love each other but lock horns together, so that’s all part of what they’re [the producers] are looking for.”
She went on to say generally about the re-casting process: “It’s hard.
“Fans have in their head an actress that they know and like but also you have to think the years have passed since you saw Jenny with Laura.
“Again, you have to have an essence of that person. They don’t have to be a total look-y-likey but you have an essence of the actor or the character like Jenny it works.”
Suzanne was also responsible for casting Heughan, Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall and Captain Jonathan ‘Black Jack’ Randall.
The longtime casting director also addressed replacing Graham McTavish as Buck MacKenzie with Diarmaid Murtagh, explaining why the actor was changed.
She is now going to be working on season eight of Outlander, which is the final outing.
However, she remained tight-lipped on the last series with work tentatively re-starting following the end of the writers’ strike.
Smith is also working on the prequel series Outlander: Blood of My Blood, which will follow Jamie and Jenny’s parents.
Along with Outlander, Smith is also working on season two of Apple TV+’s Silo as well as a Benjamin Franklin series starring Michael Douglas.
She said: “We do a lot of different things which is so interesting. Because there has been an actors’ strike and a writers’ strike in America, that has affected a lot of productions here in the UK. Not just for actors and casting directors but camera people, locations, studios.
“It has had such a big knock-on effect but the writers are now back and they’re talking with the actors, so hopefully it will be quite buoyant again.”
Outlander seasons 1-7 are available to stream on Starz in the USA and on Lionsgate+ in the UK