I’m currently working on getting physical scans.
In every sense, Sam Heughan is the stuff of fantasy. No fan base in the world rides harder for the pinup of their choice than the Heughligans—who in turn have cast him as the star of their fantasies, in large part, as a result of his role in Starz’s steamy time-travel soap Outlander, which returned for its second season in April (the #droutlander is over!!).
On the show, the 36-year-old Heughan plays the dreamy but star-crossed lover Jamie, a Highlander in 18th-century Scotland. In real life, Heughan grew up in the shadows of a 17th-century castle in Southwest Scotland, and his career has been no less fabulous. While still attending classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2003, he was nominated for an Olivier Award. Ten years and several TV roles later, he landed Outlander and the part that launched a zillion ‘shippers.
And still, the fantasia does not end there for Heughan, as we discovered when we spoke to him last year. Turns out, there was a little (very little; hobbit-sized, in fact) something of the mystical traveler in him from the get-go.
“Are you really named after Samwise Gamgee?” we asked.
“Well, yes,” he said. “On my birth certificate, it’s just Sam, but my brother does have a name from The Lord of the Rings. It’s Cirdan—he was the shipwright at the end of Lord of the Rings that takes them across to wherever it is they all go when the elves leave the earth. My family were pretty big hippies.”
“Did you identify with Samwise when you read the books as a child?”
“It always was like, ‘I don’t want to be that one!’ because he’s so nice and honorable and good. And I wanted to be Bilbo; I wanted to be more dangerous, less dependable. It’s funny, though—as a child, you’re already thinking, ‘Who do I want to be and how do I see myself portrayed?’ ”
Which made us curious. Over e-mail recently, we wondered, “Are you much of an escapist or fantasist?”
“I guess I’m quite practical,” Heughan wrote. “Or at least like to think I am. I do tend to lose myself in whatever job I’m doing or hobby I’m into. (Currently, I love fitness activities—I have run many marathons, triathlons; I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Thailand training at a Muay Thai gym.)”
“So, are you a fan of sci-fi?”
“I love sci-fi. Growing up, I was a big fan of the Alien series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, etcetera. Plus, anything apocalyptic—I Am Legend, 1984, Battlestar Galactica … I find end-of-the-world stuff enthralling—to imagine how life will be in the future on Earth and in space!”
While on a press trip to the fantastical city of the future, Tokyo—or, perhaps, on a mission to discard a ring of pure power in some distant land—Heughan got on the phone with another sci-fi stud, William Shatner himself, to talk about real love, real haggis, and really bad gas.
WILLIAM SHATNER: Say, it’s the middle of the night there, isn’t it?
SAM HEUGHAN: It’s a half past seven in the morning. Happy birthday.
SHATNER: Thank you so much for the bottle. I’ll treasure it and drink it really slowly, thinking good thoughts about you in Australia. Tell me what you’re doing.
HEUGHAN: I’m currently in Tokyo and it’s pretty mental. We went out yesterday and had a look around, but I got pretty ill. We were supposed to go to this amazing sushi bar and … I don’t know what I ate on the flight, but it wasn’t good. So my first day in Tokyo was a bit of a letdown.
SHATNER: And those bathrooms are so small.
HEUGHAN: I think I’m falling into some sort of relationship with this toilet.
SHATNER: You get a porcelain fixation and you sort of hug the bowl.
HEUGHAN: You can hug the bowl, but also, this one washes you, it can give you a massage.
SHATNER: It’s actually better than a girlfriend.
HEUGHAN: I think we might be falling in love.
SHATNER: [laughs] Are you shooting in Japan?
HEUGHAN: No, we’re here for press and we’ve got some fan events. There were some fans that waited for me to get off the airplane last night at 4 a.m. And they brought me lots of gifts, including some Japanese whiskey, which I didn’t send you.
HEUGHAN: This one is Hibiki.
SHATNER: Their beers are really good. I was in Tokyo and Osaka, and that’s really a beautiful place if you can get there—on a bullet train it’s a couple of hours. Do you like Japanese food?
HEUGHAN: Yeah. I’m extremely excited to just eat sushi and obviously have some good beer. I’m a big fan of Kirin and Asahi and all that.
SHATNER: I had an event here yesterday, about 20 people. There was somebody lecturing, and in the middle of her talking, somebody farted. Everyone looked at everybody else because it was outside, and there was no directional sound. But I knew it was the lady speaking because I was close-up. [laughs] Have you ever been in one of those situations?
HEUGHAN: I just had one in Australia.
SHATNER: Tell me about it.
HEUGHAN: We were doing an interview on live television, and there were like five of us on the sofa, five interviewees chatting. And they brought out some haggis for the presenters to try. And haggis, as you know, is a delicious Scottish dish that should be eaten on occasion but—
SHATNER: Delicious only to the Scots, Sam.
HEUGHAN: Well, I think the …
SHATNER: Only to the Scots, Sam.
HEUGHAN: Well, it’s a delicious …
SHATNER: Only to the Scots.