The year was 2012, and a frustrated 34-year old Scottish actor was hoping to make it in Hollywood. Luck had not been on his side, but he was unaware that his life was about to change forever.
The actor I’m referring to is Outlander star Sam Heughan. But before the days of folks swooning over Jamie Fraser, Heughan was doing an arena tour called Batman Live where he played the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Yes, you read that right, and yes, I was just as shocked as you probably are reading this. And yes, there are pictures:
Outlander’s Sam Heughan as Batman pic.twitter.com/haLkGGzPkP
— Crown_For_A_King (@Crown_ForAKing) July 28, 2021
Sam Heughan goes from Batman to Jamie Fraser
Sam Heughan talked about this stretch of time during a visit to Just The Facts With Alex Zane. “I had been in America. I had done this arena tour called Batman Live where I played Batman and Bruce Wayne,” he remembered. “And it was ridiculously amazing. It was one of those jobs you never think you’ll ever do. And then, I spent like four or five months staying in Los Angeles for pilot season. And I got pretty close on a number of jobs, but not got them and came back to London.”
Returning to London, as fate would have it, would be the turning point in his career. But before we get into that, meet Sam Heughan…the Batman.
Back in London, Heughan began contemplating whether acting was indeed the career for him. He was one more bad audition from giving it all up (said every famous person ever) when fate intervened. “I was feeling pretty despondent and spent all my money,” he said. “At this point, I was 34 and just thinking, ‘Can I keep doing this?’ And then, I had this audition. I remember when I read it, I just was like, ‘Oh, yeah. I know this guy. I can do this.’”
It was strange. I really think it was all about timing. Because also, when I went to do my audition, one of my best friends’ wives was the auditioner. She was there, so it just suddenly put me at ease. And then, she brought one of my best friends in to test with me on the screen test.
That audition, of course, was for Outlander. And the rest is history.
Or almost history. If you’re a Sam Heughan fan, you may know that he almost didn’t get the part. Outlander author Diana Gabaldon wasn’t impressed with his headshot and went as far as to call it “grotesque.” Yikes, that’s not a good first impression to make on the woman who created the story you’re trying out to be a part of!
New headshot, What do you think? pic.twitter.com/n3GBmxPr
— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) July 18, 2012
I’m not sure I’d call that “grotesque,” but it’s all moot, because once she saw Heughan perform, she knew he was exactly the right guy to play Jamie Fraser.
From that point on, Heughan’s fame skyrocketed. He went from playing Batman on stage to being a contender to play James Bond onscreen. And from there, who knows?