Sam Heughan is a man in high demand. Not just from avid Outlander fans , or from the casting directors of Suspect, Channel 4’s prestigious new murder mystery series, but right now, from Esquire , as we’re struggling to connect with him. during his busy shooting schedule.
Heughan, 42, is currently preoccupied with the not-so-small matter of season seven’s career-defining role on Outlander . He plays the stoic warrior Jamie Fraser in the time-traveling historical fantasy series that has garnered huge worldwide audiences since its debut in 2014. But it was on stage that Heughan first broke out, playing a ornithologist, John, in the Outlying Islands while he was still a student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, earning him an Olivier Award nomination.
However, fame and success were not immediate after winning the Olivier Award, and Heughan was an actor who worked for quite some time before he was assigned a role in the well-known series. Must-sees in the theater world followed: Doctors (where he narrowly missed out on villain of the year at the British Soap Awards), Midsomer Murders , River City and Rebus , but all the while he remained on the boards, appearing in Romeo and Juliet , Macbeth , and Hamlet ; then, somewhat strangely, in a long-running Cirque du Soleil-type show about Batman, where he would dress up to play the superhero of the same name and acrobatically launch himself around the stage on high-tension wires. It was around this time that another hero arrived, codenamed 007…
Heughan keeps up his crusade even when he’s not acting; and has made a whole second career out of his love of extreme sports and philanthropy, creating My Peak Challenge, a training support organization that helps people achieve their goals for charity, as well as running the odd run himself. marathon. He has also found time to write a couple of books, direct and star in a Scottish travel series and launch his own range of whiskey and tequila. To be fair, it’s no wonder he’s busy.
We finally track down Sam on the Jubilee holiday, where this Scotsman has wisely dodged all the coronation bunting and chicken pizzas and gone to Amsterdam for a few days, taking advantage of a break in filming for a few days.
If you’ve been getting a taste of the city’s excesses, it certainly doesn’t show it, as we’re half an hour on Zoom; talking about a decade in his most famous role to date, his hatred of karaoke and what exactly happened when he went to audition for Bond…
At what stage is the filming of the new season of Outlander ?
We are shooting the seventh season and it is flying by. It seems that we started yesterday, but we are already in the sixth season. This season is going to take a while as it’s an 18 episode mega season so we probably won’t be done until March or February of next year. This year is very important as last year we had to cut it down by six episodes due to Covid and my co-star ( Caitríona Balfe ) was pregnant so we changed it.
Did you ever expect to become such an important person in the world of acting?
In a word: no. Absolutely. I didn’t know anything about the books when I started and I remember my first day with my driver when we were going to work and he was like, “How long do you think this is going to last?” And I said, “Probably a year, maybe two.”
Next year will be a decade. So it’s been quite a journey, but it’s been amazing, it’s changed my life. It has been hard work, but very rewarding.
Apparently there are three more books until the end of the saga. Do you know how Jamie and Claire are going to end up?
Diana Gabaldon (the writer-creator) revealed to me how it’s all going to end. She emailed me the last pages of what will be the last book very soon, I think in the first few weeks of shooting, and I don’t think anyone else has seen it apart from another executive producer. Not even Caitríona has seen it and I am sworn to secrecy.
What can you tell us about the prequel that has been announced?
All I can say is that I’m not in it, and neither is Jamie! I think it’s a prequel that focuses on Jamie’s parents when they were young, so I guess we’ll be able to see a young version of him at some point. But I think I’m too old now to play a young Jamie. Could she play his father maybe, or a flash forward? After all, it is a journey through time.
Obviously, you have to go into beast mode when you train for the series, but there’s a big gap between seasons – fans call this period “Droughtlander” – do you keep going hard or do you give yourself a little time off?
I think it’s fair to say that I can’t stop training, I enjoy it. I used to be more into endurance sports, doing marathons and triathlons, but Outlander made me more interested in gym workouts, crossfit and weights. I really enjoy it.
Did you have to train in a historically correct way to get in shape?
Of course. The first conversation I had with the trainer early in the series was that Jamie obviously doesn’t go to the gym; he’s a farmer and a warrior, so that’s the kind of body we tried to build for Jamie when he was younger. So there were a lot of compound lifts to strengthen and condition, but mostly upper body, back, and shoulders. It certainly wasn’t about getting a six pack, luckily for me, so I didn’t have to worry too much about it. He is a very capable man, so we had to build a body that reflected that for the times.
It is very useful then that your character in Suspect spends a large part of a scene topless in the gym. Other than that, what attracted you to this role?
It’s a great cast, when I saw the people who were attached to it, and then I read the script, it was really strong and very interesting. Essentially, each episode is two-part, just one or two scenes, but they’re all continuous; an extended take, which is a great challenge.
Your character, Ryan, is a bad bad cop and a bit of an asshole. Was that part of the appeal?
It’s always said that bad guys are the most fun to play and I loved it, it was exceptional. He is a bit of a dark character, who has gotten into some sticky situations, has bad habits, and is slightly volatile. It’s fun not always being the good guy; Jamie Fraser is the king of men, so it’s nice to play something different. My background is theatrical, so I like to push myself and play different roles.
Without a doubt, the biggest role you’ve auditioned for to date has to be Bond. How was the audition?
They called me when they were doing Bond 21, that is, before they brought back Daniel Craig . I think they were looking for a younger James Bond, which is what I suspect will happen next. It was a very strange experience, but I enjoyed it. I went with a script and they said, “Maybe we’ll have you read some of this scene” but they don’t tell you what it’s from. Then they took me upstairs and I met Barbara Broccoli and Martin Campbell, the director at the time. There was a golden gun on the table, I guess from The Man with the Golden Gun- we sat around a very large wooden table and talked a bit about Bond. It was strange, as they didn’t want to talk about Bond, but they talked about Bond. It’s all very secret service.
Almost every British actor has been a candidate at some point. Do you think they’ve already tested all the applicants and may have to go through them again?
I have no idea, and I think everyone is always trying to guess. But I think the role is fantastic and I’d love to get back in the game if they do. It would be nice to see a Scottish Bond again.
Was the next romantic comedy you’ve shot ( It’s All Coming Back To Me ) a conscious decision to go into a completely different genre?
It’s a funny and touching script. I was wondering if I could do comedy. I guess we’ll have to wait for the public’s reaction, but I really like that aspect, a bit of silliness.
The film revolves around the work of Celine Dion. Have you ever sung one of her songs at her karaoke?
She was not a fan before, but now she is the queen. As for karaoke, she would never do it. Never. She is one of my pet peeves. She hated karaoke, went to a karaoke bar with my friends and refused to sing.
Surely, being trained in drama school, it should be impossible to rip a microphone out of your hand.
I went to drama school and in singing classes I sang the same song every time for more than a year, then I stopped going. In fact, the professor even allowed me not to introduce myself because it just wasn’t my thing.
I guess that rules out any musicals for you in the future
. Never say never, I like a challenge!
The era of romantic comedies is going to propel you to a higher status as a heartthrob. Can you still walk down the street anonymously?
Sometimes they recognize me walking down the street. In Scotland, where I usually stay, people are a bit more relaxed, they don’t care so much about the people they see on the street, but in the United States people always want to come and say hi and take a picture.
You are an actor who manages to draw the dividing line between his public life and his private life very well. Is it something you decided early in your career?
I think so. Things like social media is probably the least useful tool for actors, obviously it’s a great way to market yourself and whatever you’re doing, but I always thought an actor’s job was to stay anonymous so they could play different roles. , so that you don’t see the actor, but the character. But the more popular you get, the more aware you have to be of what you’re posting, and in my case, I’m a pretty private person.
There is always speculation about who you are dating, is it a forbidden topic for you?
The truth is that I don’t talk about who I go out with, but that’s more for me. I’m sure there have been times where I’ve been open about it, but I think it puts too much pressure, on your partner or yourself, but also on families, as the fans can be quite…intense.
I have heard that you like to collect antiques and that you have a small collection in your private man cave, what is your latest acquisition?
I am obsessed with the River Thames and mud fishing. An expert, Lara Maiklem, sent me a couple of pipes that I found fascinating. Finding things from Roman times and before… I think it reveals a lot about human beings and the lives that have been lived in the same area. Even where I live now in Scotland is close to the Antonine Wall, the history of which I am obsessed with.
If you could transport yourself to any time in the past, what would it be? Or would you rather go to the future?
The future: it scares me a little, but it also fascinates me, and space has always been very attractive to me. I would love to venture into space.
Would you ever become a space tourist? How much does it cost to get on the rockets of Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk , about 100,000 pounds?
Absolutely, sign me up. There are still many things on Earth that we don’t know about, but I would love to go to space, going to the Moon would be very special.
Aside from acting, your charity endurance challenges, and your spiritual marks, what do you do when you have free time?
Yeah, if you say it like that, I should probably get more sleep! If I watch television, the truth is that I rarely watch series, especially documentaries, I love good documentaries. Val Kilmer ‘s (Val) is great, especially now that the new Top Gun is released . I really like documentaries because I think that sometimes life is more interesting than fantasy.