Interview: ‘Outlander’ star Sam Heughan Talks Controversial Finale and More


One of the biggest stories of the TV season this past year was Outlander, Starz’ lavish adaptation of the populer book series. Despite airing on Saturdays the show has made a strong impression on audience members and critics, in no small part thanks to its leading man Sam Heughan, who plays Jaime Fraser. I chatted with the star about the show, his love of playing the silence, and what drives Jamie. Here are some highlights and the full audio below:

On the Show’s Success

[quote]Heughan remarked that the show has been a juggernaught that’s kept going ever since they started. From the long audition process on to the four to months of prep and almost a year of shooting, the journey has been a long and exciting one. Given that the show is very high concept, it’s nice to see it connecting with so many people.[/quote]

His Leading Lady, Caitriona Balfe 

[quote]If Sam gets nominated for an Emmy, he will hopefully be joined by Caitriona Balfe who plays Claire. The two bonded during their auditions and were able to approach their characters from similar emotional truths. Outlander audiences get to watch the two grow together.[/quote]

The challenges of Jamie Fraser

[quote]The role of Jamie would be a blessing for any actor, but it also provides unique challenges from the incredibly dark, emotional places the story goes to the physicality. When asked about this, Sam said “I relish all of that stuff…that’s what makes the job special.” He mentions how him and Caitriona spend extra time with the horses when they need to ride, he has a trainer to help prepare him for the physicality, but perhaps most interestingly, he gets to learn more about his Scottish heritage, from learn Gaelic to hill walking, in order to bring forth the emotional truth of his character. It definitely shows.[/quote]

Controversial Scenes

[quote]The finale, which yours truly watched mere moments before this interview, provided Heughan with his toughest acting challenge yet. Heughan was very forthcoming about the difficulties of acting in these scenes, and other challenging scenes such as the steamy sex scenes, but also stressed how the show doesn’t do things solely for shock value. “Everything stems from the character and how does it advance them,” Heughan noted, which is why these scenes cause such a stir. The intimacy, even with the violence, helps create a stronger feeling with the audience.[/quote]

His Favorite Moments

[quote]One of the nicest things about chatting with Sam was getting to sort of revisit the show in its entirety from the audition process to now having seen the finale. Heughan notes that many of his favorite moments on the show are the dramatic ones, and given how great his performance is, you can see why that would be the case. Two moments stick out for Heughan: episode 15 where he doesn’t get to say much of anything, instead getting to “play the silence” which thrilled him as an actor, and also in episode 9 after he rescues Claire from the hands of Black Jack Randall and they have an argument by the riverbed.[/quote]
(This is my vote for his best moment and the clip that I hope plays if he gets Emmy nominated)

Check out the full audio where we get more in depth with the characterization of Jamie, talk about how important shooting on location is to the show, and Sam tries to pick my spirits up after watching the finale: