It’s one thing to attend a screening of The Spy Who Dumped Me because Outlander’s favorite redheaded Scotsman, Sam Heughan, stars in it (as a steel-jawed MI6 agent, no less). But it’s another thing for the man himself to walk in to the event—surprise!—and chat to the audience about his experience making the movie. Oh, and also, Heughan introduced a sneak peek of season 4. “It’ll self-destruct,” he joked.
Here’s what the man behind Jamie Fraser, and now English spy Sebastian, had to say about the forthcoming action comedy film, the very little he can tease about Outlander season 4, and whether Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, and Caitriona Balfe are actually the same person.
You play a badass agent in this movie. What was it like for you to take the transition from Jamie to this role?
No wig, no kilt, no horses…It was a fantastic experience. This was a great opportunity to do something completely different. And Mila and Kate really are—you’re going to see in a few minutes—so good together, and funny. Their friendship is the core of this movie and it’s genuine. That’s the whole chemistry…those two girls really hit it off. Plus, there’s some pretty badass action.
You got to film with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon all throughout Europe. What was that like—were you just laughing through every take?
They’re amazing. We did get to go all around Europe—you’ll see in the movie that it’s a bit of a road trip. They are just so funny, and it’s completely different to working in a very straight drama where you have a very tight schedule. On this [set], every take was completely different. And I don’t know if you know—you probably have seen Kate—she is the best, she’s so funny. It’s overwhelming, actually, how funny she is. Every take is completely different.
What scene was your favorite to shoot?
There’s one scene, actually, that made me laugh aloud many times when I read the script. I’m not in it, of course—it’s with Kate and Mila. There’s a car…they don’t know how to drive stick shift, and it’s just such a funny moment. And I think that all comes down to Susanna [Fogel] who wrote the script. It’s a really great script.
Everyone here is an Outlander fan. Season 4 is coming in November—what can you tease?
We’re going to be in America. It’s the new world, we’re establishing a home—you get to see Jamie and Claire really be together and enjoy being a family. Which Jamie’s always wanted, of course. He’s always wanted to have a large family and settle. So in America, this is sort of the first opportunity—for, like, a day. And then it’s Outlander, so it all goes tits up.
The show transforms the Scottish countryside into North Carolina. What types of magical tricks did the Outlander team pull off this year?
We put a McDonald’s on every corner—fast food joints all over the place. [Laughs] No. I went to North Carolina, as [Outlander author] Diana Gabaldon kindly instructed me to visit some places. And it’s remarkable how similar Scotland actually does look to places in North Carolina. Filming in Scotland, you’re really transported somewhere. It’s something to do with the woods and the vast landscape—obviously, we’re not as big as America, but there is something in that heritage. Just learning about America…it’s a land of immigrants and different cultures, it’s a melting pot. It’s a dangerous place and an exciting place of opportunity. So you have a really great country here, and we’re going to try to show you a little bit of its infancy.
Did you have to learn any new skills or tricks for Jamie in season 4? How’s your bear tracking?
It’s a dangerous place. I think season 4 is really setting the scene for 5 and 6, too, which we recently got commissioned for. It is a big arc—a big, long story. So it really sets the picture for the next of the rest few seasons.
Book fans will know that [a key location for the season] is Fraser’s Ridge. What should fans know about it?
It’s so cold there. I know you guys deal in Fahrenheit—that’s something we should have changed when we came to America. We should have kept Celsius, because it’s much easier. [Crowd sighs] Booo [laughs], and it was very, very cold there. We’re shooting through a pretty tough winter in Scotland this year, so it’s so cold. And we had thunder snow, which we’ve never had before, where it’s thunder and lightning all the time—oh yeah, you guys have that here. That’s how much we went into making this authentic. It’s just like America.
As we get into the fourth season of Outlander, I’m curious to know—when you look back to how your life has changed since the pilot, what stands out to you the most?
I have my own mic, that’s what’s changed! What has changed…just everything. The opportunities. I’m in a movie! This has given me so much opportunity—not only with charity work and My Peak Challenge, but other things. I’m off to do another movie in two weeks in South Africa, to shoot with Vin Diesel, which will be fun—it’s a comic book movie [Bloodshot]. There’s a lot of opportunity, and that’s down to the popularity of Outlander, and you guys, so thank you.
What do you want fans to know about The Spy Who Dumped Me before they tune in?
Just enjoy it. It’s so fun, you’ll see. The core of it is this great friendship between two women who have each other’s backs. And enjoy the action. See if you can see where I break my ankle like Tom Cruise…no, I didn’t!
Do your co-stars Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis, and [Outlander’s] Caitriona Balfe have any similarities besides being so incredibly talented and beautiful?
I think they’re probably the same person, actually. I feel like they just change wigs [laughs]. No, they’re all extremely hardworking. Caitriona is amazing and diligently works hard, day in and day out. It’s the same with [Mila and Kate]. It’s not just that they’re funny comedians. It’s not about being a funny person—it’s about hard work. Kate had a little notepad she’d bring out every take to write down new ideas, new lines. She learned Hungarian while we were there. She’s so hardworking. And the same with Mila—she’s been in the industry for years. It takes a lot of work to become at the top of your game, and those three girls really are.