SDCC Interview – Sam Heughan – Outlander
Q: What are Jamie and Claire trying to accomplish in the first half of the season?
Sam: They are here to change history basically. The Battle of Culloden…(one of the journalist’s cell phone notification kept going off during the interview while she was recording audio)…you are very popular…The Battle of Culloden, they keep talking about it and in season one as well, it’s this big battle that happened between the British and the Highlanders. The Bonnie Prince Charlie believed he was the rightful king, and he probably was, a Stuart King, he came to rally the clans to put himself back on the throne and overthrow the Hanoverian Kings. It failed basically. This battle, they got wiped out, and then the repercussions were that the British army banned the whole Highland culture: the wearing of kilts, the speaking of Gaelic, the bagpipes. There were the Highland clearances where people were put on boats and so…they are there to change history and that’s pretty much it.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Claire and Jamie’s relationship and how it starts at the beginning of the new season.
Sam: In season one, they were newlyweds. They were young lovers and they were finding out about each other and obviously they are still finding out about each other, but yeah, it has moved on with the trauma of the end of the season, it has affected the relationship a lot. Also, the fact that she is a parent, well, she is a mother, and he’s obviously got the responsibility of being a father so it’s…they are working it out together, but there’s a lot of issues they haven’t dealt with yet and we play that out in the season, but ultimately, you know the mission is the most important thing, changing history, and making sure everyone survives, but their relationship will never be the same again.
Q: Talk about some of the new allies or foes for Jamie and Claire.
Sam: Yes, well we have a lot of terrific actors that have come in. Dominique Pinon, Frances de la Tour, so it is really a powerful and amazing cast that is coming in and bringing in a new dimension to the show. But yeah, it becomes almost a different kind of battle with the politics that are played out. (The Compte) St. Germain, the extraordinarily good-looking actor Stanley Weber who is French and very interesting. I think he is going to do very well. It is a different kind of enemy they are facing, but mostly there are new relationships, new friendships. They build a…almost surrogate son that they get. This adopted son named Fergus (Romann Berrux) who brings a new dimension, dynamic to their relationship. It is all about moving their relationship forward. There are never any moments of peace really.
Q: Now that Jamie is an expectant father, is that going to change his behavior at all or even his behavior towards Claire? Would he not take as many risks while they are in France?
Sam: Yeah, I think, you know, before he met Claire, he would skin his back with no heed. He was more apt to put his body on the line, but now he has to think twice about that. And that is one of the lessons that he has learned in season one, and in season two, he is still the same guy and can still be hot-headed at times or stubborn, but he certainly has grown up a bit and knows he’s got a responsibility. At times, he does forget.
Q: What does having been on such a Scottish…Scotland-celebrating show have done for your personal national identity and pride in your country?
Sam: I think you put it there. I think I am very proud of Scotland. I’ve gone back to Scotland and kind of rediscovered my country. I have fallen in love with it again. I am very proud of all the production. It really shows off Scotland. I think the craftsmanship, the locations, the studios we’ve got now. We’ve got four sound stages, whole workshops. We’ve got one workshop where they are just building French furniture. We’ve got another where they are doing props. It really is magnificent. It is creating a lot of industry for Scotland. It’s attracting more productions, other TV shows and films as well. Yeah, I’ve been delighted that we have been given the opportunity…We were at this Edinburgh Film Festival and I got to meet the cultural minister for Scotland and it feels there we’re not a player in politics, but it has been realized that it is a great thing for Scotland and the U.K. as well.
Q: How do you play a damaged character without playing the victim?
Sam: Jamie did get some resolution at the end of season one. I mean, he was not cured in any way, but he’s moving forward. I spoke at length to our on set doctor about the medical conditions and what happens in psychology as well, but ultimately I think everyone is different and deals with trauma in different ways. Jamie is very particular in the way he deals with things. Before, when we see he got whipped (earlier in season one), he kind of lets it float off his back, but this has certainly affected him. He is not a victim. He is moving forward. He’s got this mission. He’s there for a purpose and it’s not weighing him down and incapacitating him. He has things he’s got to deal with. We just finished filming the moment he finds some resolution and that’s kind of nice to see, something that brings him around to himself. I discussed that in a lot of cases people that did have some sort of trauma, it would be something random that would trigger that moment of healing and moving forward. I am very lucky to be able to play that part. It’s an interesting character to play.