I am thrilled by today's announcement that the part of Mother Hildegarde will be played by Frances de la Tour! I've been saying for years that she would be perfect for the role (as you can see from this post on Compuserve dated May 15, 2009) and I'm just delighted to hear that it's going to happen!
Here's the way Mother Hildegarde is described when we first meet her in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
Hildegarde de Gascogne was the most suitable person I could imagine to be in charge of a place like L’Hôpital des Anges. Nearly six feet tall, her gaunt, rawboned frame swathed in yards of black wool, she loomed over her nursing sisters like a broomstick scarecrow guarding a field of pumpkins. Porters, patients, sisters, orderlies, novices, visitors, apothecaries, all were swept up by the force of her presence, to be tidied away into neat heaps, wherever Mother Hildegarde might decree.It has always seemed to me that Frances de la Tour fits that description very closely. I don't usually participate in the speculation about casting, but in this case, I really cannot imagine anyone else playing Mother Hildegarde, and I'm delighted to have got this one right!
With that height, plus a face of an ugliness so transcendant as to be grotesquely beautiful, it was obvious why she had embraced a religious life--Christ was the only man from whom she might expect embrace in return.
Her voice was deep and resonant; with its nasal Gascony accent, it bonged through the corridors of the hospital like the echo of the church bells next door.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 12, "L'Hôpital des Anges". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's an interesting interview with de la Tour from a few years ago. It's definitely worth reading.
(Please note: we still have no information about Brianna or Roger's casting. I promise I'll post here as soon as I hear anything.)