“It’s always hard when we’re apart,” he says of co-star Caitriona Balfe.
It’s been just under four months since Outlander fans had to say good-bye to Claire and Jamie Fraser during the emotional Season 2 finale. But it’s also a long wait until the time-traveling, star-crossed couple returns to Starz for Season 3 next April. Thankfully, in the meantime, there’s a new Blu-ray edition of Season 2 out on Tuesday, November 1. And, for the true devotees to both the show and the Diana Gabaldon novels, there’s also a special Collector’s Edition that features an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming Outlander novel “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone.” Outlander star Sam Heughan took a break from his grueling 11-month shooting schedule to reflect back on Season 2 and give a preview of why Season 3 feels like “a different show.” (Hint: It has to do with him missing co-star Caitriona Balfe.)
Vanity Fair: After the overwhelmingly warm reception for Season 1, was there a particular fan reaction to Season 2 that you did not see coming?
Sam Heughan: I think the first half of the season set in France was quite complicated, and it certainly wasn’t going back over the old ground of Season 1. I think we were very aware that the first season was this young relationship and about new love. We wanted to show something a bit more complicated [in Season 2]. I think fans were surprised. People tune in expecting the same show or the same sort of scenes and, yeah, I think we surprised fans with that.
I know you hear from fans who are put out or surprised by changes from the books. Was there any particular book aspect left out of Season 2 that you felt like fans were most hoping to see and didn’t?
Diana is all over this. I mean, I have constant e-mail updates, several times a day, about things she’s watched or things she’s read. We confer a lot, probably more than the producers want us to. There’s always going to be little details that will be missed because the show is only an hour-long episode each week. I know myself and Caitriona, we read the books and if we can sneak in a small detail that may not be in the script or even just that we know ourselves, that going from one scene to another, that something’s happened in between that maybe we haven’t been able to show, but at least we know it and, hopefully, in some way it manifests itself. Hopefully it’s all in Diana’s world. I know that she said herself that Season 2, especially at the start, was kind of complex and difficult to make into episodic TV.
There’s a behind-the-scenes feature on the Blu-ray of you, Caitriona, and Graham McTavish prepping for your big Season 2 fight scene. Can you tease anything about what fans might not know about how you prepare for combat?
Yeah, I mean, my God, the show is incredible. Not to give away much, but today, one minute I was on a horse riding across the Scottish countryside, and then I’m somewhere else in studio, and then I’m laying in a cot. But that particular Season 2 scene was very emotional. I absolutely loved doing a fight scene with Graham; I’ve always wanted to. He absolutely hated me fighting him. We actually shot several alternate endings to the fight because, obviously, in the book, Claire isn’t complicit. We thought, Jamie and Claire are a couple and they need to be both guilty of this deed. It’s not that Claire wants to kill anyone—she’s not a killer, she’s a hero—but she wants to aid Jamie and she basically ends up being complicit in the death of Dougal.
It was very funny because we were actually shooting a pick up on that and we didn’t have Caitriona there at the time; it was actually a double’s hands that are on the dagger. Graham was very wary of this double pushing too hard down on him that he might actually get stabbed. He was just this very hard man complaining that someone was pushing a fake dagger too hard on him.
Of course, with any Blu-ray, there are deleted scenes included here. Which deleted Season 2 scene were you most devastated not to see included in the original episodes?
There was one recently that was released on social media; it was the “Faith” scene. Certainly, from my perspective, you got to see a lot more of Jamie and his angst. I mean, he’s kind of not present for most of that episode. I think that’s important, that’s an important cut. We go on that journey with Claire and see her go through all the stages of grief and mourning and then some sort of brittle resolve. Almost, in a way, we didn’t want the camera to blink from her. I think that’s what was decided. Watching Jamie also go through it, well, absolutely, it’s another side. I certainly know that I really felt very strong in that scene. I felt that it was a very awkward place for Jamie to be that will have some sort of repercussion—even now in Season 3. I don’t think Jamie or Claire get over the loss of Faith. I think it’s wonderful that the fans actually get to see a glimpse into some of the other work that we do that’s not always on the screen.
I’ve heard you say that, as opposed to Caitriona with her elaborate costumes, it only takes you five minutes to get into wardrobe when Jamie is wearing the kilt. But I was curious, since we’re going to jump forward several years in Season 3, if you have some extra time in makeup chair this year and if you can tell us anything about what older Jaime looks like?
I mean, I’m probably not allowed to say much, but I think we all know that the books do span a great amount of time. Season 3, in particular, yeah, I mean, there was an aging process. There was definitely a different look to the characters, but you’ll have to tune in to find out, I guess. But even in Season 1, I had hours and hours of prosthetic makeup whenever the back scarring was on or Jamie got shot or injured. By no means does that stop in Season 3 so, yes, there’s been a lot of very long days where I’ve been in makeup.
The end of Season 2 saw Claire back in her own timeline so I really don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that you filmed a good part of Season 3 without Caitriona. Since you two have been such close partners on this whole experience, what was it like to go on without her?
Yeah. Honestly, it’s like having a death in the family. Well, I don’t know, I mean, it’s just like a different show. It’s hard to separate yourself from the character. Jamie’s present, living in his world, and Claire’s present and living in her world, and they both believe the other is dead. It’s always hard when we’re apart, actually, because she’s a great person, great to come to work with, and a very good actress. But I think it all adds to the reunion—if there’s a reunion, or when there’s a reunion—well you know there’s one in the books. It should be very special.
Do you have a fondest memory from Season 2 that you’re excited for the fans to re-live via the Blu-ray?
Wow. Whoa, that’s tough, I think—Paris was almost like another world and it was great fun—but for us getting back to Scotland, to Lallybroch, and then to having all the MacKenzies turn up, Graham McTavish as Dougal and Stephen Walters as Angus and all the others. It was so rewarding to be in Scotland with the wind and the rain and the cold and everyone was miserable but kind of happy because we were back and it felt like coming home. I think it’s a very sad ending because we all knew that people were going to die— that’s what history tells us—that’s what Jamie and Claire are fighting to stop is the end of these people. So it’s a bittersweet return home to Scotland. In the back of your mind, you’re aware that it’s sort of coming to a close.
Fans of the historical time travel romance show can soon watch Sam Heughan in Outlander season 3, as it is set to air sometime in 2017. Heughan plays Scottish Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, who, for many, is the ultimate romantic hero.
The hunky actor needs to be in exceedingly great shape—warrior-level shape—to meet the demands of his role. How does he do it? With a combination of exercises, including CrossFit workouts.
Getting the actor’s body in the right shape for 1721 (one of the years in which the show is set) was essential for the show’s creative team. They definitely didn’t want him to look like he’d been to the gym. A gym body looks different than a body crafted by the wilds of nature, and that’s partly why Heughan literally runs hills and mountains—it’s the sort of activity a warrior would have had back then. No Lifetime Fitness in Highlander times, though Heughan does do some dead lifts at the gym. They even built him a gym on set that is quite elaborate now.
Heughan says that his character had been living rough for months—living off the land, being chased by the redcoats—so there was a lot of horseback riding and he needed a body that looked like it could do all that. He also does all of his own sword fighting and horseback riding stunts, so he says he needed to protect himself and be in proper shape for those scenes.
The actor works with trainer John Valbonesi from Glasgow. Valbonesi says that getting a body that didn’t look trained actually took a great deal of intense work and involved a lot of functional moves. Sometimes Heughan worked out three times a day to get in this shape for his role as Jamie Fraser. And the muscle gain was incredible—28 pounds of it—and he kept gaining.
His weight and muscle mass has to change to suit the story line. At the end of season 1, Heughan says his character was being tortured and undergoing a lot of stress. So he himself had to get lean fast, and he accomplished that through diet alone.
Heughan is no stranger to working out hard. In fact, he has run competitively in the Paris and London marathons and says he got good time in both. He loves running, but it doesn’t give him the type of body he wants. That’s why he started dabbling in other types of exercise.
While Heughan was in boot camp-mode, he says he was literally eating everything but kept to a clean diet as much as possible. He ate a lot of sweet potatoes, chicken, and peanut butter to help increase his muscle growth. Once he got on set, though, he had to adapt accordingly.
He says it was hard to find good nutrition while shooting on location, so he started taking supplements and eating protein bars because they were easy to carry around. In the last few months of filming season 1, the actor followed a Paleo diet to help achieve the more slimmed down frame need for his character during the prison scenes. He found a Paleo regimen hard to adapt to at first. Who can blame him.
Outlander, the Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novels, is about to come alive in the pages of its own adaptation of sorts. In The Making of Outlander, a deep dive out Oct. 18 into the series’ first two seasons, author Tara Bennett — with an assist from Gabaldon herself, who writes the introduction — takes readers through the writing and filming of every episode, offers never-before-seen images, and delivers exclusive interviews with the cast and crew.
Below, EW has five exclusive behind-the-scenes shots from the book, as well as insight from executive producer Maril Davis, who says the book is “a love letter to the cast and crew” that gives fans an intimate look into the production of the epic, sweeping love story between Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe). “Most fans do want to know how the sausage is made, they’re interested in the filmmaking process,” Davis says. “People don’t really understand the steps we take.” She walks EW through some of the steps for the five shots below.
Season 2 brought the Frasers to France. For a visit to Versailles, Claire donned a memorable, cleavage-baring red dress — and shared an intimate moment with Jamie before heading out. The shot shows just a bit of the crew surrounding them in the bottom left corner, which Davis says is a common sight for the Balfe and Heughan, especially in their closest scenes. “It’s like Jamie, Claire, and 20 other people,” she laughs. “From the start, [Caitriona and Sam] had this amazing relationship. They get along so well. If they didn’t, we’d be in trouble.”
Aside from getting the costumes right for the world-traveling second season, Davis remembers the production focusing on two key sets: Master Raymond’s (Dominique Pinon) apothecary and the king’s Star Chamber, which was only featured in one, grisly sequence. “It’s one thing to see the pictures, but when you walk on set it’s like being there,” she says. “It helps the actors. They walk on and part of their job is done. They have to act, but they’re not distracted.”
Outlander‘s second season may have just come to its devastating conclusion, but Outlander fans can still get their dose of dreamy Jamie Fraser, a.k.a. Sam Heughan, gift wrapped under their tree this Christmas — thanks to his latest collaboration with heritage brand Barbour.
Heughan was named the brand’s global ambassador in July, and since then, he’s taken up the tartan mantle to front the brand’s holiday campaign and help design a capsule for early 2017.
The 36-year-old actor, who first collaborated with Barbour when he led the charge as the Grand Marshal in N.Y.C.’s New York Tartan Day parade in February, is no stranger to manly plaid attire and verdant British hillsides, thanks to his Outlander experience. (He’s also no stranger to the dangers of wearing a kilt on wet grass.)
But for this campaign, shot at Oxford, England’s grand Wytham Abbey, he added something even more delicious to the mix: two adorable puppies (yes, seriously — feast your eyes!).
“I worked with a couple of chocolate Labradors, which were a lot of fun. Very excitable,” Heughan tells PeopleStyle. “They’re cute. I think they should actually… be the new face of Barbour.” (We beg to differ!)
He also gave a little insight into what fans can expect from his first clothing collaboration for the brand. “I hope I’m not giving away too much, but Barbour is well-known for their jackets, so you’ll find that there’s a nice selection there,” he says. “They’ve really taken on board the suggestions that I like, and yeah, it’s very quintessentially Barbour — they’re using all of their heritage and their history. They look great, they feel great and hopefully people like them as well.”
Modeling easy-to-wear items is a nice break from the period attire he wears on the show, but he’s not complaining: He’s more than happy to stick with his kilt, especially when compared to his female co-stars’ garments. In particular, that show-stopping swan nipple dress.
“As beautiful as [the swan nipple dress] looks, I have no desire to [wear it],” Heughan tells PeopleStyle, laughing. “The women on the show have all of the corsets, the underwear and the underdressing they have to wear. It is really is a lot of material to be worn. So I feel very fortunate to be wearing kilts. They’re very easy to put on — and very easy to take off.”
In the upcoming season, which is based on Diana Gabaldon’s third book of the Outlander series, Voyager, Heughan and the rest of the cast embark on a new journey, which leads them to some new (and exotic!) locales.
“In this season, we span over 20 years — we go to Scotland, Jamaica and England and also end up in North Carolina, so it’s a real adventure,” he says, adding that they filmed a few scenes the crew didn’t even know about. “I was like, ‘Oh my God. What are you doing?’ So there’s going to be some surprises and really dramatic, epic scenes.”
But what’s not surprising? The show’s true star — Jamie’s long, luscious ginger curls, which won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon, says Heughan. (His trim waistline? Well, that may be a different story.)
“[Caitriona and my] hair is very much a part of the show,” he says. “It’s all about big hair. Claire’s hair is very unkempt. And same with Jamie. His hair is very much a part of who he is — the color and the look to him. It’s an honor playing this character for over three years now. It feels like a part of me. It’ll be a sad day when I’ll have to lose it [the hair].” Um, we second that.
Sam and Caitriona are both nominated for British Academy Scotland Awards. Sam is nominated for BEST ACTOR – TELEVISION and Caitriona is nominated for BEST ACTRESS – TELEVISION. Outlander the series is nominated for BEST TELEVISION – DRAMA. For the full list of categories and nominees, visit the official site for BAFTA.
There are few things in this world that grown women are willing to camp out for: the arrival of a royal baby, Beyoncé, probably, Hamilton tickets, in its Lin Manuel-Miranda heyday. After last week, add Outlander actor Sam Heughan to the list.
In New York on a quick break from shooting season three of the Starz show that some have called a feminist alternative to Game of Thrones, Heughan announced he was doing an appearance at the uptown Barbour store, and the first 20 in line would have the opportunity to take photos with the actor.
People started lining up the night before the event.
“Can you believe it? They’ve been there since midnight,” Heughan said, clearly bewildered by his own stardom, as we sat down to breakfast. “I was terrified that no one would turn up, and that I would have to fly my family out to pretend that they want to come and see me. It’s magnificent.”
In person Heughan’s Scottish accent is much softer than that of his character, Jaime Fraser, and, of course, he’s sporting a Barbour plaid button-down instead of the show’s 18th-century period garb.
Heughan was recently named Barbour’s global brand ambassador, and we were there to talk shop about the partnership he calls “a perfect fit.” After all, he grew up in the same part of Scotland as the company’s founder John Barbour, an area called Dumfries and Galloway in the southwestern part of the country.
“Barbour is a brand that I have grown up with and been associated with since I was living near the borders of Scotland,” he said. “I was brought up in a very rural area on grounds of a castle. It was a working farm, and I even remember the local shepherd wearing his Barbour jacket.”
So what does being a global brand ambassador entail, exactly? Doing promotional events like the one at the store and appearing advertisements—like these ones for Barbour’s shirt department which debuted earlier this summer—are a given. But what’s most intriguing to Heughan about the role role is the opportunity to design a collection for the brand.
“I’ve been working with their whole design team and Gary Janes, who is just this fascinating designer. And we’ve had many discussions and meetings about the line, and what we want it to represent, and how we can marry some of my ideas with their great heritage. We talked about everything that I love and then they made the prototypes.”
And while he’s never done anything related to fashion design before, Heughan wants to make sure he gets this right, visiting the brand workshops and the company’s archives to look at old catalogs, and jackets from the early 1900s, which helped to inspire the line.
“It’s completely new. Growing up as an actor, [fashion] isn’t something you ever think is going to be part of your job description, but it’s been great fun. This family at Barbour they’ve made me feel very welcome. And it’s been great to go down and see their workshops and see the people that work, and the community that they’ve got,” he said.
The collection is slated to launch with a collection of pieces for men and women for Fall 2017, but for now the vintage-inspired prototypes are being kept tightly under wraps.
No stranger to spoilers, Heughan was also tight-lipped when asked about Outlander season three, which will follow Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager novel. In fact, a siren roared the second I asked my question—even the city wanted the show’s secrets kept safe.
“I’m extremely excited about it. I feel already it’s a very strong season, and I think people are really going to enjoy it,” he said.
As for what’s next? Something tells me there could be a Barbour kilt in Heughan’s future.
“Actually, we’ll see. It might be in the pipeline,” he said of the prospect. “I love wearing them, and I think it would be really interesting to see a Barbour kilt, with all the different elements of what Barbour could bring with its wax or herringbone, and all these different materials and all these different fabrics. We may have talked about it. Who knows?”
Outlander fans can only hope.
En garde, Outlander fans: When the time-traveling series (and recipient of EW’s Poppy Award for Best Drama!) returns for a third season on Starz next year, the action will begin with the historic Battle of Culloden – a significant departure from the start of Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s book series from which season 3 is based.
“It just felt like for the TV show, we’ve been promising this for a while and it just felt like we should have something,” executive producer Ronald D. Moore tells EW of the conflict that was first teased in the season 2 finale between the French-backed highlanders and the British army. “We should give the audience some sense of what happened on that moor.”
In the latest issue, EW offers an exclusive first look from the premiere episode when Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) goes mano e mano with his archenemy Jonathan Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), the British soldier who raped him in prison back in season 1. The two will engage in a dramatic duel, a detail that may throw fans of Gabaldon’s best-selling books. (Voyager starts with a battle-weary Jamie having almost no recollection of the 1746 battle that marked the end of the Scottish Clan system).
“We’re playing it out more,” promises Moore, who says the epic shoot in Scotland in August was “easily one of our biggest set pieces.”
There are plenty of other big developments planned for the new season – like Jamie’s romantic reunion with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and their much-anticipated adventure on the high seas (we’ve got details on that, too!). Even better news: Sophie Skelton will reprise her role as Brianna, the daughter of Jamie and Claire, while Richard Rankin will return as Roger Wakefield for the drama that’s already been picked up for a fourth season.
“It’s daunting,” admits Balfe, who used her time off after season 1 to costar in this year’s Money Monster for director Jodie Foster. “Actors are completely neurotic people. It goes from ‘I would love a steady job’ to ‘Oh God, I have a steady job!’ But to have that stability, and to continue our lives with these characters, is really exciting.”
Wait, there’s more! Join in on the season 3 fun on Oct. 3 by tuning in to a special edition of Outlander Live! on EW Radio. Lynette Rice and Amy Wilkinson will interview executive producer Maril Davis, give away an Outlander Season 2 Collector’s Edition DVD, and take your calls! Outlander Live! airs at 2 p.m. ET on Sirius XM 105.
For more scoop on the new characters joining the Outlander action this season, plus a special treat from Gabaldon herself, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. And don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
And if that’s not enough, Gabaldon will also be at EW PopFest to talk all things Outlander on Sunday, Oct. 30. She joins a growing roster of guests, including Jennifer Aniston and the cast of Office Christmas Party; the casts of the CW’s Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow; Gilmore Girls creator/executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Daniel Palladino; Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles; the cast of Happy Endings; “Three Rounds” with the Grey’s Anatomy doctors, and many more. Plus, Eddie Redmayne will be taking the stage to reveal a sneak peak of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and we’ll be kicking off the festivities with an advance screening of Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
Currently only have the cover image. Will add scans when I get my copy.
“It’s pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?”
I know I’m at the right place when I hear the screams. As I approach the Barbour store on NYC’s Madison Avenue, a man who seems handsome even from 100 feet away steps out of a car and the decibel count immediately goes up. Way up.
There’s a crowd behind a barricade on the pavement. One woman has been waiting there since midnight. Another arrived at 4 A.M., all the way from Washington, D.C. Another says she’s from Norway.
They’re here to see Sam Heughan, Outlander’s Jamie Fraser. He waves at the crowd cheerfully and poses for a couple of photos before striding through the doors, an admiring “He’s so nice!” wafting in after him. In a kind of echo, Heughan approvingly calls, “This is a nice store!” Everything definitely feels nice right now.
Among the storied tartans and jackets of the classic brand, I spoke to Heughan about his role as Barbour’s global brand ambassador, what we can expect from the third season of Outlander, and what he would be doing if he weren’t portraying an 18th-century Scotsman.
How did you come to collaborate with Barbour?
[Vice chairman of Barbour] Helen [Barbour] and I realized that I come from the same village that her ancestor John Barbour came from, who created Barbour. It just seemed like such a great connection. I grew up in Scotland, and everyone wore Barbour. It’s very practical, it’s very outdoorsy. It’s what the gamekeepers and the fishermen and the farmers would wear.
Do you have any particular outdoor memories of your childhood in that village?
It sounds almost unreal, but I was born and raised on old castlegrounds—Kenmure Castle.
That does sound made up.
It’s pretty ridiculous, isn’t it? But it was also a working farm, so we used to go help the local farmers dip the sheep and round up the sheep. The local shepherd, I vividly remember his old Barbour jacket, with a hipflask in the pocket. It just feels very familiar—like part of my childhood. The smell of the wax. Whenever I put one on now, it just feels comforting.
Sheep dipping—what is that?
It’s to cleanse the sheep of any pests. It’s an annual thing, before they shear the sheep.
So you’ve created a capsule collection with Barbour. What inspired the pieces?
They have this great archive where they have jackets that date back to when they first began in 1894. They’re still wearable; they’ve been so well maintained. That’s what inspired me. To see how, over the years, the jackets change to suit the purpose—for the Second World War, or for motorbike riders. It’s all practical.
So that’s what I wanted to reflect in my collection. I love the outdoors, I love climbing mountains. But I also like to walk down the street in New York in the fall and go to a bar. So what I require of a jacket is different, but it still has that heritage.
I read that you’re a fan of Bear Grylls. If you had to head out on an adventure right now, what would it be?
I’ve always been into endurance sport, which I think is more about your mind pushing your body, which is definitely why that Bear Grylls book sung to me. I’m kind of obsessed by Everest and all those men that mountaineer and take themselves to extreme limits. Having gone back to Scotland to work on Outlander, I’ve been climbing a lot and getting out in the Highlands.
I imagine it’s pretty cold in Scotland while you’re filming.
I came from Scotland this week—I’m filming now, and just finished the first two episodes of the third season. It’s freezing cold. It’s raining.
Isn’t it summer?
Yeah. It’s Scotland. It’s always wet. Scotland is about layering. The weather changes every 10 minutes.