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