Sometimes, Sam Heughan feels like a Beatle. As this 34-year-old Scottish actor has been promoting his role as Jamie Fraser, an 18th-century Highlands warrior in the new Starz drama “Outlander,” he’s been greeted by hysterical devotees of the time-traveling romance novels that inspired the series.
“When we were at Comic-Con, we had the two most enormous bouncers in San Diego,” Mr. Heughan said with a laugh, calling from the show’s set in Glasgow. “It was quite funny, because we went places where there were a lot of screaming fans, and that was wonderful. But we also went places where no one knew who we were, and we had these big bouncers. We thought, ‘This is a bit unnecessary.’ ”
Anonymity may not be for long; the series has been renewed. Mr. Heughan (pronounced HUGH-an) said he’s happy to return to his homeland after a decade in England.
“My journey and Jamie’s journey have been very similar,” he told Bruce Fretts. “He’s coming back to Scotland after he’s been abroad fighting wars. He’s got a lot of old ghosts, and I feel that’s my case as well.” These are excerpts from their conversation.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception about Scotland?
A. We’ve got this image, and we secretly quite like it, of whisky swilling and haggis eating. But we try to be as authentic as possible on the show, so we looked at what a kilt really was — the colors and the clan culture. Hopefully, the show will go some way to make people realize Scotland has a bit more going for it than deep-fried Mars bars. Which are pretty good, by the way.
Are you getting tired of people asking you what you wear under your kilt?
No, you can never get tired of it. But they’re going to get the same response. Maybe I should wear something different under there, tartan pants to scare them all.
Starz is famous for sex scenes on shows like “Spartacus.” Did you have any hesitation to appear nude?
I would be lying if I said Starz doesn’t have a reputation. We don’t shy away from sex, but certainly with this series, it’s not gratuitous. It’s in the books.
You’re often filthy on the show. Is that real dirt or makeup?
It’s probably a bit of both. It definitely adds an authenticity. These Highlanders lived and breathed in the mud. I’m sure they probably did smell pretty bad. Apart from Jamie, of course.
What era would you like to time-travel to?
I’m obsessed with the moon and space travel, so if I could incorporate that, I’d love to go to space. I know soon there will be spaceflights you can take, so maybe I just need to speak to Richard Branson. I could be the first Scotsman in space.
You played the Caped Crusader in the stage show “Batman Live.” What was that experience like?
That was one of the best jobs I’ve had. We went all over the world. It was a big extravaganza — lots of pyrotechnics and flying and fighting. It’s every boy’s dream to play a superhero. I’ve still got the cowl. I managed to steal it. Maybe one day, I can wear that with the kilt.
Do you have any advice for Ben Affleck, who’s playing the Dark Knight in the coming “Batman vs. Superman”?
I’d just tell him not to drink. We were in Brazil, and I’d been told to sample some of their fine cocktails. I remember hanging upside down, sweating, and I was about to throw up. I was thinking: “Why did I have that second cocktail? Someone get me out of this suit!”
The writers on the “Outlander” set call you “the king of men” because they think you’re so perfect. How do you feel about that?
Do they? Wow. Well, I’ve got them all fooled. But I’m sure my secret will be found out soon enough.
mods can we please get an outlander tag ~:)