As the leading man of an epic love story, in this case Jamie Fraser in Starz’s “Outlander,” Sam Heughan has more than shown viewers his romantic side. But to live a life apart from his destined love required the actor to channel grief rather than romance.
The first half of the third season of the time-traveling drama explored the two decades that Jamie and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) lived apart after he sent her to the future (the 1940s) to raise their baby. For Jamie, who was expecting to die in the battle of Culloden but didn’t, the ensuing years of coping with love lost was a battle of emotions.
Heughan, on a short break from production overseas on the fourth season, stopped by The Times studio recently to discuss the approach he took in bringing weight to the pain.
“It’s the different stages of grief, really,” Heughan said. “He goes through anger, sadness … eventually acceptance. Each episode was so strong, and he’s such a different character … but he’s still living in the memory of Claire, living in the shadows.”
Though Claire is raising their daughter in the future with her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), viewers still got a glimpse of Jamie as a father — albeit a restricted glimpse. He comes to father an illegitimate son, Willie, who he helps to raise temporarily. And he also becomes the stepfather to two daughters.
“He’s always wanted to be a father figure,” Heughan said. “It’s something he yearns for.”
During this Droughtlander, the Outlander fans have become an army of very thirsty detectives!
Some keen-eyed viewers have spotted a tiny “J” carved onto Claire’s palm and a little “C” etched onto Jamie’s hand in the deleted scenes from Outlander’s third season, but there was never an explanation for the appearance of these mysterious initials on the hit Starz drama.
In our quest to cut to the truth, ET caught up with Outlander executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis at a special Television Academy panel in Los Angeles on Sunday, and we asked the creative duo to explain the behind-the-scenes secrets of Jamie and Claire’s carvings.
“Yes, our sharp-eyed viewers are at it again!” Moore said proudly to ET’s cameras on the red carpet. “Essentially, there’s a scene in [Diana Gabaldon’s] book — and actually in a different book — where Claire and Jamie carve their initials into each other’s hands. I think it was in the second book, [Dragonfly in Amber,] if I’m not mistaken.”
“Yeah,” Davis agreed. “Right before she goes back through the stones.”
Moore continued, “We did not do that [scene] in season two, but it was one of those little details that we kept thinking, ‘At some point we’re going to do this.’ So we shot a version of that scene in season three, but we weren’t really that satisfied with it and it didn’t really work, so we cut the scene — but we wanted to still sort of preserve the idea of doing that at some later date.”
“So we didn’t include that scene in the deleted scenes for the DVD, however, sharp-eyed fans found the initials in a separate deleted scene that we had not gone in and digitally erased so it’s like, ‘Curses! They found us!'” Moore added with a laugh.
Despite the fact that fans have foiled the executive producers’ plan to keep the initials scene a secret, Davis revealed that it’s “actually kind of fun” that the Outlander audience is so invested in each and every onscreen detail.
“I hope [the fans] know it’s something that we really want to do,” Davis explained. “And while you hope that you don’t have those little things happen, on the other hand, it’s kind of a fun, little tidbit for people to see and to recognize that people are actually watching.”
As for the actors who lived through the cut scene, (pun totally intended!) stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe expressed their reactions to learning that the highly anticipated scene had been edited out of season three.
“You know that happens a lot. We shoot a lot of stuff that doesn’t make it into the final edit,” Balfe dished to ET. “It’s sort of in a really organic place in the book and it sort of fits where it was supposed to be. I think it’s difficult sometimes when you’re trying to shoehorn something into another moment, but you know, it’s also a fan favorite. So we do try to do these things for the fans and so you always have to try and find something that works and it has to work for the story.”
Heughan echoed his co-star’s sentiments and said, “I think I was quite excited for the fans to see that because they wanted it from before, but you know, it may make an appearance somewhere else. But you know, that happens all the time. There’s so much that we shoot that doesn’t make it into the show and we can’t include everything.”
“And to be honest, “Heughan continued, “I don’t think the scene quite worked in the story and where it was, so yeah, they made a great decision.”
Dinna fash, Outlander fans! It sounds like this special moment between Jamie and Claire could be reworked into another season.
“I didn’t know that they were going to put it somewhere else, but I guess they will,” Balfe exclaimed with a smile. “So we’ll see it then, we’ll do that scene again!”
Heughan concluded, “Who knows, maybe you’ll see it somewhere else. Maybe Jamie gets a “C” carved on his toes next season.”
For more behind-the-scenes bonus material like this one, pick up your copy of Outlander: Season Three, which will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital as well as on a Limited Collector’s Edition from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on April 10.
We have a very special Valentine’s Day surprise for you, Sassenachs…
Everyone knows that Outlander’s Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have an undeniably electric on-screen connection, and since fans are feeling particularly thirsty during this Droughtlander, ET is gifting you with the exclusive first look at the actors’ original chemistry test!
Before you scream, “Je suis prest!” and press play on the video above, we must warn you that the never-before-seen footage you’re about to watch is mind-blowingly adorable. Side-effects may include excessive giggling, extreme swooning and the firm realization that no on-screen couple will ever compare to this one.
At this point in Outlander’s script-to-screen timeline, Heughan had already been cast to play Jamie Fraser and the production team was looking for the perfect actress to fill Claire Randall’s one-of-a-kind shoes.
“We were looking for chemistry between the two characters,” Outlander executive producer Ronald D. Moore said while prefacing the flashback moment. “We really felt that Cat was probably going to be the one, but this was the final moment. This was literally when she sealed the deal and got the show.”
“And as you see, they’ve already got the shorthand of their characters and there is definitely on-camera chemistry between the two. After the scene was over, we just kind of kept the tape running a little bit.” Moore continued, “We just wanted to see them a little bit more relaxed and sort of interacting. You can see that they’re sort of awkwardly aware that the camera is still running, but nonetheless, there is enough spontaneity and genuine affection and good humor between the two of them that it spoke volumes about their potential relationship.”
For more behind-the-scenes bonus material like this one, pick up your copy of Outlander: Season Threewhich will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital as well as on a Limited Collector’s Edition from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on April 10th.
Before moving to London at the age of 22, Sam Heughan studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The Scottish actor has returned to his roots to portray Jamie Fraser on the hit Starz series, “Outlander,” which is filmed in Scotland. Based out of Glasgow, the 37-year-old philanthropist also is the founder of My Peak Challenge (https://www.mpc2017.com), a charitable foundation that advocates for a healthy lifestyle. Fans may follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/samheughan) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SamHeughan).
Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. I went to Thailand a couple of years ago, over Christmas and New Year. I trained Muay Thai twice a day for four hours. The rest of the time I relaxed on the beach or island hopped. Their New Year’s fireworks are amazing — and terrifying!
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. I draw on my Scottish roots and the scenery and culture every day on “Outlander.” I hope my next project will use the location and imagination just as much.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Isle of Skye in Scotland. (It’s) beautiful and peaceful. I would say take a ferry. See the island from the sea — the wildlife, eagles, dolphins and whales and the jagged peaks of the mountains in the distance.
Q. What’s the best meal you had during your travels?
A. I went to the oldest ramen bar in Kyoto, Japan. (There were) huge bowls of delicious bone broth, noodles, pickles and cold beer. I finished a bowl and ordered another immediately.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Europe — Amsterdam and Paris.
Q. What would you recommend that people do in Amsterdam?
A. Wander the streets of Amsterdam, stay in a canal houseboat, cycle a bicycle, eat great food, tasty beer, excellent clothes shops, museums and enjoy the people. The Dutch are fun and crazy!
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. I once spent a week sleeping outdoors with gauchos — cowboys in the Andes. It was remote and magnificent.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. First time abroad was as a teenager to Eastern Europe. (It was) a rather scary train ride to St. Petersburg (Russia). At that time, it felt very different to the United Kingdom — like going back in time. Crossing the border felt like being in a James Bond movie.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Don’t worry. You’re never alone.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. I climbed the second-highest peak — the Petit Piton — in Saint Lucia. I didn’t stop and went as fast as possible in high humidity. It was an amazing view and remarkable climb. That afternoon on the beach, I celebrated with too many rum cocktails. The dehydration and sun made me never want to drink rum again, or climb a peak — at least for a day or so.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. If it’s the right company, anywhere.
Q. What are your favorite kinds of hotels?
A. Anywhere homey and low key. I had an amazing hotel in Zermatt (Switzerland) with a wood fire and big blankets looking out at the Matterhorn. Perfect ski location.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. In no order, Cape Town, New York, Santa Monica, Montreal and Amsterdam, (which) is so great!)
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Canada feels familiar, like Scotland, but much bigger.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Boringly, I always take my running shoes, a foam roller for muscle release and healthy snacks. And water, because there’s never enough water on planes.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Everest, but I feel it’s become a little touristy and not respectful.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?
A. I spend a lot of time on planes. They are where I catch up on sleep and movies I’ve missed.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I usually look online or ask friends for recommendations. But the best way to know a city is to strap on your running shoes, go out and get lost. You’ll eventually learn the city, one way or another!
‘My Oxford Year’ Is Being Made Into A Romance With Melissa Benoist & Sam Heughan, And You Can Start Reading It Now
Stock up on school supplies, pack your suitcases, and make sure to bring plenty of tissues with you, because this April, readers are going on a heart-thumping romantic adventure across the pond in Julia Whelan’s debut novel, My Oxford Year. The first book from the Once and Again actress, screenwriter, and award-winning audiobook narrator-turned-author is sure to be on everyone’s summer reading list next year, but luckily you don’t have to wait until then to read it. Bustle is thrilled to not only have details about My Oxford Year, but an exclusive look at the first chapter of this breathtaking book, out April 2018 from William Morrow Paperbacks.
Ella Durran’s life is going exactly according to her perfectly crafted plan: after years of hard work and determination, she has finally made it to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship at age 24. She has even secured a prestigious job working on a promising politician’s presidential campaign when she returns to America after a year abroad, and her future has never looked brighter. On her first day of classes at her dream school, Ella knows everything in her life is right on track — that is, until she meets Jamie Davenport, a gorgeous local man and her literature professor who just might be the curveball Ella never expected to face. Their awkward first encounter aside, Ella and Jamie are quick to form a strong bond when late-night drinks and an unexpected revelation turn their fling into the start of a serious relationship. As their love deepens and secrets are revealed, Ella must choose between the life and career she’s always dreamed of in America or a future in Oxford with a true love she could have only ever imagined.
Sweet and tender, My Oxford Year is a heartbreaking coming-of-age romance that will move readers to tears. Perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks, Whelan’s debut is poised to be a hit with fans of women’s fiction, romance, and literary fiction alike. “In fact, the story is so enticing that in 2015 it was announced that the book is in the works to be a movie starring everyone’s favorite Highlander Sam Heughan alongside Melissa Benoist of Glee and Supergirl fame. Fast forward two years to now and with the movie details still in flux (as per the Hollywood norm) the Heughan and Benoist duo is no longer exclusively attached, however I’m keeping *my* fingers crossed that when My Oxford Year hits the big screen, it’ll be with these two stars attached!
Although you will have to wait until April 24 to get your hands on a copy of the book, and even longer until you can see the story come to life on the big screen, Bustle is thrilled to present the first chapter of My Oxford Year just for our readers. Read below and get ready to fall in love.
Fingers crossed he firmly attaches to this project.
Outlander: Inside Jamie and Claire’s ‘rough’ adventure, plus season 4 intel
Put away those steel drums and forget about the Planter’s Punch: Though Jamie and Claire are about to set sail for Jamaica in Sunday’s episode of Outlander, it will be anything but a Caribbean vacation for the not-so-euphorically happy couple.
“There are no umbrella drinks going on,” teases executive producer Matthew B. Roberts. “It is rough going for both of them.”
In breathless anticipation of the drama’s final five episodes, EW returned to Scotland to chat with Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall Fraser) and Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) about the passionate reunion of their characters in episode 5 and how love doesn’t necessarily conquer all when so much time has passed.
“The hard work in any relationship is getting beyond the fantasy,” Balfe tells EW. “That’s when all the truth comes out and Claire learns everything. You want it all to go smooth sailing. But reality is never like that. It’s not the Disney dream.”
But something magical will happen in the coming episodes. For this week’s cover, EW is offering fans an exclusive first look of the fancy togs Claire and Jamie don to attend a lavish ball in Jamaica. If you think the costumes look familiar, then you would be right; the couple wore them at the Palace of Versailles during season two.
“It’s an Easter egg,” says costume designer Terry Dresbach of Jamie’s smart suit and Claire’s sumptuous saffron gown. It’s also historically accurate to re-purpose the outfits. “In the 18th century, people would have an item of clothing for their entire lifetime,” she adds. “So things got remade, repaired, and reconfigured. We will see that a lot in Outlander coming up.”
For the next issue of Entertainment Weekly, we’ll give some hints about what Claire and Jamie will encounter in the Caribbean while on the hunt for Young Ian (John Bell). We’ll also share some secrets about season 4, like how a green pasture in Scotland will double as a North Carolina plantation owned by Aunt Jocasta, a key character in the new year that will be played by Maria Doyle Kennedy.
And good news, Sassenachs! We’ve created another trio of Outlander covers to go with the last set. The first two below, featuring Heughan and Balfe individually, will be available to subscribers and on newsstands Friday. The third, showing the two actors together, will be available exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores beginning Tuesday, Aug. 29.
Sam Heughan has super fans. They’re not casual admirers; they don’t just ask for autographs and snap selfies. They’re on the popstar level—not just fans but fanatics. They camp out on the sidewalk overnight; they dedicate their free time to making hyperactive social media fan pages; they hyperventilate at the mere sight of the guy. Justin Bieber might understand.
The actor has the incredible success of his show, Outlander, to thank for his fame. The time-traveling drama has crafted a unique cult following and reawakened the lust for romanticized love in modern television. (And if you think it’s not for you, you should probably reconsider.) As Jamie Fraser, the fiercely loyal husband to costar Caitriona Balfe’s Claire Fraser, he’s not only a principle mover of the plot, but a lightning rod for audience obsession.
Of course, bedroom eyes and tortured love aren’t the only defining features of Outlander. It’s also set in Scotland, where Heughan was born and bred. The setting is the perfect background for the show, and the style influence that comes through on screen is one that tracks through to Heughan’s personal life as well. We talked him about the success of the show, his Scottish upbringing, and his own style evolution.
On his personal style
My personal style is a mix of of practicality, functionality, but also classic and high-quality fabrics as well. I’m a big fan of Scottish tweed and herringbone—a lot of my kilts are herringbone. Tartan as well. I think I look for something quality and something that’s maybe handcrafted. It feels good, it’s comfortable, and also the quality of the texture—it feels good, it’s comforting. A lot of the detailing in the jackets [Heughan has a capsule collection with iconic UK outerwear brand Barbour], there’s Scottish tartan or tweed on the cuffs. It’s about fine details and practicality. It’s about layering, about being cozy, and about being stylish as well.
On working with Barbour
We’ve been working on this collection for almost a year. They’ve taken into account all the things I love about Scotland, and about clothing. I think they’ve incorporated it beautifully. Barbour has this great tradition of manufacturing. It’s all handmade, and it’s a great investment. If you buy one of these jackets, it’s going to last you a lifetime.
On his Scottish influence
I’ve got three formal kilts and two less formal, for when I’m drinking beer. A lot of the landscape of Scotland and the weather and the fibers and fabrics—it’s all reflected in the Barbour collection, especially the tartan element. Scotland is always with me; I’m a proud Scotsman. I think when you wear a piece of this collection, you have a bit of Scotland with you.
On cutting his long hair from the show
I like [my grooming] slightly rugged, slightly loose. I’m a guy; we want to just throw it in and be done. I use Kevin Murphy products. I was desperate to have my hair short, but I kind of miss long hair. You might see it again.
On the success of Outlander
We’ve been working on it for four years, and it’s just amazing. This is my favorite season, probably because there’s a lot of Jamie in it. But every episode is different. It’s given me so many great opportunities. It really comes down to the fans; they’ve supported us, they’ve guided us, and they’ve given us their opinions. It’s amazing.
Sam, Caitriona, and other Outlander cast are in attendance to the BAFTA Scotland Awards today. I’ve added photos to the gallery. Be sure to visit my Caitriona site, Caitriona-Balfe.com for Caitriona photos at the event. More photos to come!
— BAFTA Scotland (@BAFTAScotland) November 5, 2017
Outlander’s Sam Heughan Talks Jamie and Claire’s Long-Awaited Reunion
On the cusp of superstardom, the Scottish actor opens up about the print shop reunion, his passionate fans, and getting in—and out—of Jamie Fraser’s head.
Fans have been waiting more than 20 years to watch tonight’s episode of Outlander play out onscreen, but Sam Heughan tries not to think about that. “All the way through shooting, we’re very aware that people are fans of the books,” he says with a short laugh. “You want to do a good job and don’t want to disappoint anyone… [but] you have to play the truth of it.”
Heughan doesn’t have to worry about disappointing his fans. His onscreen chemistry with co-star Caitriona Balfe is exactly what took Outlander from book club favorite to global phenomenon. As Claire and Jamie Fraser, Balfe and Heughan electrified an eight-book (and counting), 26-year-old series, turning a quiet yet passionate following into a rabid fandom complete with hundreds of fan sites and social media accounts (dubbing themselves “Heughligans,” “Caitrionation,” or “Sassenachs,” after Jamie’s nickname for Claire), thousands of pages of fan fiction, and countless hours queueing for meet-and-greets and conventions. It’s all devoted to the passionate, provocative relationship between a time-traveling World War II nurse and her 18th-century Scottish Highlander husband, as well as the actors who play them.
Heughan doesn’t seem to have fully processed the furor surrounding him, even after four years inside Jamie Fraser’s head. He’s almost bemused by the attention, swearing it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the books’ author: “The longer we play these characters, the more I realize how lucky we are,” he tells me, settling into a chair on the set of his BAZAAR.com photo shoot. Wearing a simple white T-shirt and black jeans, his natural blonde hair cropped shorter than the red curls Outlander fans are accustomed to, Heughan looks a bit younger than 37—certainly not pushing 50, like his character this season. He’s right in the middle of promotion for Outlander Season 3, and before our interview had already appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan, posed for a photographer, and filmed a video with Balfe. He’s probably tired, but that doesn’t stop him from indulging in some speculation about Jamie and Claire’s appeal. “Clearly something’s been created there that people are invested in, and I think it all comes down to Diana Gabaldon and her stories and her books.”
Tonight’s episode adapts one of the most important, beloved scenes in Voyager, the third book in the series on which Outlander is based. It marks a literal homecoming for the show, one of those crucial, highly-anticipated moments which defines a series while completely altering its course. After spending two decades apart—separated by two centuries, no less—Claire finally returns to Jamie and life in the 18th century. “We tried to be as honest as we could be,” Heughan says of the Frasers’ long-awaited reunion. “What’s it like for two people who have not only not seen each other for 20 years, but were deeply in love and have shared some history together, then actually moved on?”The circumstances are a bit more complicated than that. If you’re reading this, you probably already know the details: Claire Randall falls through mysterious standing stones (think Stonehenge but smaller) while honeymooning in Scotland after World War II, landing right in the midst of a skirmish between Scottish Highlanders and the British Army in 1743. As a “Sassenach” (English person) in Scotland, she’s always in danger, so, somewhat reluctantly, she marries one of the Highlanders, Jamie Fraser, for her own safety. When she finally has the chance to return to her first husband in the 1940s, she’s in love (and having great sex) with Jaime and decides to stay. The couple embark on a mission to prevent the Battle of Culloden, a devastating 1746 clash between rebelling Scotsmen and the British army which marks the beginning of the end for the Highland clans and their culture. When they ultimately fail in their endeavor, Jamie encourages Claire to return to the 20th century to protect their unborn child from the battle’s fallout.
The last time viewers saw the couple onscreen together, in the Season 2 finale, they were saying a tearful goodbye at the stones, Claire preparing to return to the 1940s and Jamie intent on dying alongside his comrades on Culloden field. They depart with the knowledge they’ll never see each other again, setting up Season 3 for an intense exploration of grief and love lost before uniting the couple once again.
Though their reunion is a crucial moment in the series, those early episodes chronicling Jamie’s despair were some of Heughan’s favorite to shoot. “I think Jamie without Claire is what’s interesting. Who is he? He’s a very young man when he first met her,” Heughan says almost wistfully. “It’s good that he goes through those experiences. He becomes a father, he loses his fellow countrymen, he loses his sense of his home. He has to really be reminded of what he has left to live for.”
While Claire’s storyline charts a strained stability as she returns to a complicated relationship with her first husband and takes on motherhood and med school in the 20th century, Jamie’s trajectory is pure chaos. After narrowly avoiding death at Culloden, the British label him a traitor and force him into hiding in a cave on his family’s property (“he’s just living on his wits, not feral, but he’s shut down to the world,” Heughan says). He turns himself in to for the ransom money for his sister and family and goes to prison for a seven-year stint (“I always imagine that he’s comfortable there,” Heughan says of the rat-infested jail, “because he’s living in the memory of [Claire]”). Later, while working as a groomsman at a grand English estate, he fathers a child after the family’s oldest daughter blackmails him into sleeping with her. Heughan threw himself—physically and mentally—into exploring these disparate storylines while simultaneously grappling with Jamie’s despair over the loss of Claire and their child. “He goes through all the stages of grief: anger and disillusionment and then hope, and ultimately acceptance of the fact that she’s gone,” he says. “It does affect you, especially Episode 2 [in the cave], which is very internal. Just the sheer physicality of him, I felt like he was really hunched over all the time. You see in those four episodes that he experiences a lot, and that’s what makes him the man he is when we visit him in the print shop.”
The “print shop” refers to the site of Claire and Jamie’s long-awaited reunion, made possible after their now-grown daughter, Brianna, discovers proof Jamie survived Culloden. At Bree’s urging, Claire decides to take the dangerous trip through the stones to return to Jamie, working as a printer in late 1760s Edinburgh under the pseudonym Alexander Malcolm. “Claire has time to come to terms with it, but Jamie doesn’t,” Heughan says. “He’s not expecting to see Claire ever again.” When he realizes he’s not imagining her, he faints. “He’s heard her a lot through the past few years, so at first, he doesn’t even trust himself, it’s like, ‘It’s just another memory,’” Heughan says. “And when she actually is here, well, we see his reaction, don’t we? Which I know is a big part of the book. You don’t expect that out of him.”