Par­al­lel uni­verse

Time-trav­el­ling drama Out­lander will take an­other trip in sea­son two says Sam Heughan.

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS - By ANDREW FEN­TON

SAM Heughan is thank­ful the mak­ers of Game of Thrones knocked him back time and time again across seven dif­fer­ent auditions. Were it not for the re­jec­tion, he never would have scored the ca­reer-mak­ing male lead role in cult se­ries Out­lander.

“That’s the life of a job­bing ac­tor,” the 35-year-old Scots­man told TV Guide dur­ing a re­cent whistlestop tour of Aus­tralia. “I did go in sev­eral times to

Game of Thrones for dif­fer­ent parts but I’m quite pleased ac­tu­ally that it didn’t work out be­cause then I got this.”

Out­lander, which of­fers view­ers sim­i­lar amounts of his­tor­i­cal sex and vi­o­lence, has turned Heughan into a star af­ter a ca­reer span­ning 13 years, nu­mer­ous West End stage pro­duc­tions and var­i­ous sup­port­ing roles on TV.

Based on the nov­els by Diana Ga­bal­don – which have sold an es­ti­mated 25 mil­lion copies – the time travel ro­mance/drama stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire, a nurse from 1945 who trav­els back to Scot­land in 1743 and falls in love with Heughan’s High­land War­rior Jamie.

Five mil­lion view­ers are glued to each episode in the US, where the first sea­son was nom­i­nated for the best TV drama Golden Globe award and won sev­eral other gongs in­clud­ing Peo­ple’s Choice and Crit­ics Choice awards.

The ob­vi­ous chem­istry be­tween the two leads – and some very steamy sex scenes – led to ru­mours the pair were an item in real life. Some fans felt cheated when they dis­cov­ered the re­la­tion­ship is purely pla­tonic.

“I feel al­most a lit­tle bit guilty with peo­ple say­ing you duped us, you fooled us sort of thing,” Heughan says.

“No, we were just do­ing our job and I guess if peo­ple be­lieve it then we’ve done our job well.”

Some­what un­usu­ally for a his­tor­i­cal time travel ro­mance, the first sea­son built to one of the most shock­ing fi­nales in re­cent mem­ory with Jamie re­peat­edly raped and tor­tured by Black Jack Ran­dall (To­bias Men­zies).

“Never be­fore has so graphic an act of sex­ual vi­o­lence taken place be­tween two men on tele­vi­sion,” wrote the

Hol­ly­wood Re­porter.

“It was very in­tense and we were care­ful about what we were do­ing and what we were show­ing and dis­cussed it greatly,” Heughan says of the scene which smashed taboos by show­ing vic­tim Jamie be­com­ing com­plicit.

“But ul­ti­mately my­self and To­bias had to go there and go to this place and it was pretty rough. But it was so im­por­tant to the story and to know where Jamie’s at and to see this jour­ney he goes on and sea­son two picks up on that.”

The new sea­son for­goes the mud of Scot­land for the lav­ish lifestyles of the wealthy in Paris, where Jamie and the preg­nant Claire at­tempt to change his­tory to pre­vent the Bat­tle of Cul­lo­den. A real his­tor­i­cal event, the bat­tle went dis­as­trously wrong for the Scots and saw many High­land clans wiped out.

“France is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world,” Heughan ex­plains.

“The look of the show is dif­fer­ent, the cos­tumes, the char­ac­ters and the peo­ple we en­counter – and Jamie and Claire are also not them­selves, they’re play­ing at be­ing these peo­ple and in­fil­trat­ing this high so­ci­ety. Ul­ti­mately it’s a poi­sonous place and it’s poi­sonous for their re­la­tion­ship, but they have to do it to save ev­ery­one that they love.”

While sea­son two con­tains noth­ing quite as dev­as­tat­ing as last year’s fi­nale, Heughan says it has a wider scope.

“It’s on a grander scale, we’re deal­ing with a whole cul­ture, a peo­ple and a way of life that’s po­ten­tially at risk so the stakes are even higher,” he says.

OUT­LANDER

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