HFPA in Conversation: Sam Heughan’s Role of a Lifetime

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros February 19, 2020
Actor Sam Heughan

armando gallo/hfpa

Charming but stubborn. A loyal family man and a great warrior.  Actor Sam Heughan found Scottish Highland soldier and landowner from the 1700s Jamie Fraser familiar to him. “The history of those warriors is part of my heritage. And as an actor that’s such a gift. Other characters you play you have to maybe stretch more or you have to understand where they coming from but I felt I know Jamie Fraser,” Heughan told HFPA journalist Elisabeth Sereda.

Heughan grew up in rural Scotland on the estate of a castle. “It kind of sounds idyllic. I was often out in the countryside pretending being Robert the Bruce or King Arthur. And I think part of the play or the imagination that I use now as an actor was probably developed then.”

After graduating from drama school in Scotland he moved to London and traveled to America for pilot season many times.
“I had got quite close on a few jobs but never landed one and really was just a juncture in my life where I was thinking, can I continue to do this, can I continue to support myself and do I want this for the rest of my life.”

Then he went on an audition for Outlander and got the part. “It’s changed my life. It’s given me a great many opportunities and I’m very thankful for it. But it’s been a lot of hard work and you have to sacrifice certain things as well, like your personal life because you’re constantly traveling or working but it’s also opened up a lot of doors for me and I think hopefully made me a better actor as well.”

Outlander is based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon. The fifth season combines two books, "The Fiery Cross" and "A Breath of Snow and Ashes". “We’re leading up to the War of Independence, the Revolutionary War definitely is on the horizon. Jamie Fraser, he knows from Claire’s prior knowledge that the British are going to lose this battle so he knows that’s the losing side yet he sides with the British. Which is very much against everything that Jamie stands for but he has to do it because he’s trying to protect the people that live on his land and his community. It is going to put him in a very difficult place.”

Listen to the podcast and hear why he has been lying in auditions; how long he is willing to play Jamie Fraser; why his mother had a realistic view of acting; what TV shows he watched as a kid; when did he fall in love with theatre; what is his opinion regarding nude scenes; why he is so excited about My Peak Challenge community;  when did he start to enjoy hiking; what charities he is supporting; what clan his ancestry belongs to; what are his thoughts about Brexit; why he finds his character in Bloodshot funny to play; what kind of roles he is looking for; what he learned while shooting the comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me; what he thinks about rumors that he could play James Bond; what are his thoughts about social media; why he is thankful for Outlander fans; and why he likes wearing a kilt.