Outlander star Sam Heughan on Scottish independence, super fans and his life changing role as Jamie Fraser
WHEN Sam Heughan was a young boy growing up in Dumfries and Galloway, he could often be found romping through the surrounding countryside, wooden stick in hand, imagining himself as iconic figures from Scottish history: Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
These days Heughan gets to play a swashbuckling hero for a living. The 35-year-old actor has a leading role in hit US television series Outlander as gallant Highlander Jamie Fraser, a man whose daring adventures take place against a backdrop of the looming 1745 Jacobite rising.
Based on the best-selling books of Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall who, during a second honeymoon to Scotland with her husband Frank in 1945, travels back in time to 1743 through mystical standing stones and begins a seismic love affair with Fraser.
Sony Pictures Television, which makes Outlander, films the series on location across Scotland with many of the interiors shot at Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld, a former factory that has been converted into a production base and four state-of-the-art sound stages.
Heughan settles down in a quiet corner to chat about the forthcoming second series, giving a cheeky wink in greeting. It’s his day off and he’s dressed casually in civvies: a leather jacket, jeans and a button-down shirt, his usually unruly mop of hair tamed in neat bun (in recent weeks Heughan has revealed he is “proud to be a pseudo-ginger” for his role as Fraser).
The latest instalment of the show is adapted from Gabaldon’s second novel Dragonfly in Amber. It sees Jamie and Claire – played by Irish actor Caitriona Balfe – travel to Paris to infiltrate the brewing Jacobite rebellion led by Charles Edward Stuart and prevent the bloodshed of the Battle of Culloden.
Heughan has clearly enjoyed immersing himself in such a pivotal historic period. “It is something I grew up with – the history of Scotland,” he says. “I imagined myself as Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
“These are all great stories that we grow up with and it has been interesting to learn more about the actual period that I maybe romanticised – or that we have romanticised in our culture. We had the referendum [in 2014] and it has been so interesting.”
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