Have you been watching Ren‘s leading lady, Sophie Skelton, in Outlander? She plays Brianna Randall, daughter of star-crossed lovers Claire (Catriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan), in the time-travelling historical drama produced by US network Starz but shot mainly in Scotland. UK viewers can watch the latest episodes every week on Amazon.
Warning! Spoilers ahead.
Sophie first auditioned for the much-coveted role while filming season one of Ren. “I had auditioned for Brianna in 2014, before the show was actually out,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “Then I didn’t hear anything for a year. I thought I hadn’t gotten the role.” After more auditions, her casting was eventually announced in early 2016, causing a huge internet buzz, particularly amongst fans of the books.
Brianna debuted in the finale of season two, and made sporadic appearances in season three, but now – mid-way through season four – the character is finally taking centre stage. She grew up believing Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) to be her father, only to discover in that explosive season two finale that her mother is a time traveller and her real dad is an eighteenth century Highlander.
In the December 16th episode, “Down the Rabbit Hole”, Brianna follows Claire back through time to save her parents from a terrible death recorded by history. Brianna and her will-they-won’t-they love interest Roger (Richard Rankin) lead this episode, with the older generation not featuring at all. Given the fans’ love of Claire and Jamie, it is all the more impressive that the episode is rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Both “Down the Rabbit Hole” and the following week’s “Wilmington” gave Sophie the chance to really show off her acting chops, in scenes such as Brianna’s encounter with Jamie’s former lover Laoghaire, poignant flashbacks with Frank, a chilling sexual assault, and a passionate reunion with Roger . By the time you read this, she may even have met her real father at last!
Along with her major roles in zombie movie Day of the Dead: Bloodline and Nicholas Cage actioner 211, the new season of Outlander has sent Sophie rocketing towards stardom. Variety magazine agrees, as they voted her one of the “10 Brits to Watch” of 2018.
The team here at Ren HQ couldn’t be more proud of Sophie and her recent achievements. Well done, Sophie – onwards and upwards!