A Brief Chat with ‘Outlander’ Star Sam Heughan

Outlander Season 2 Sam Heughan Caitriona Balfe Season 2
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in ‘Outlander’ season 2 (Photo © 2016 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All rights reserved.)

Sam Heughan can be forgiven for not remembering what day it is and what city he’s visiting after traveling through a handful of countries between December 18, 2015 and Starz’ Outlander press event at the Television Critics Association gathering in Los Angeles, CA on January 8th. Grabbing a few minutes with the talented Scottish actor who’s won over a legion of fans with his performance as Jamie Fraser in the critically acclaimed, award-winning series, Heughan tried to recall all of the time zones he’s recently passed through. 

“I can’t even tell you,” said Heughan, laughing. “Yeah, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, America…”

Fortunately, Heughan’s a fitness fanatic who can handle traveling, but he joked about the toll it’s taken on his body. Asked if he’ll be wearing new back prosthetics in season two, Heughan said, “I think I need a new body, to be honest. Back prosthetics? Actually we’re using the same ones, the same company.”

Speaking of keeping in shape, fans of Outlander have joined with Heughan in Bear Strength’s My Peak Challenge launched during season one of the series. The goal of My Peak Challenge is to support and motivate people into both reaching peak fitness levels as well as achieving personal goals, all while raising funds for charity. Bloodwise (formerly The Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research organization) is the charity nearest and dearest to Heughan’s heart, and through My Peak Challenge and the support of Outlander fans worldwide, including a special Peak Posse group that auctions off one-of-a-kind Outlander-inspired baskets full of autographed memorable and other items to support the cause, the first fundraising campaign was a huge success.

The second My Peak Challenge has just launched and Heughan promises those who take up the challenge again (or for the first time) have a lot to look forward to in 2016. “We’ve created a 60-day workout fitness routine that’s going to be like daily videos and nutrition advice,” said Heughan.

Asked if he’d like to get his Outlander co-star Caitriona Balfe involved, Heughan said he’d absolutely love to.

As for his own personal bucket list of physical challenges, Heughan said he’d put climbing Everest at the top of that list. “That would be awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever get up there, but I’m going to be climbing Kilimanjaro this year.”

Keeping our talk completely season two spoiler-free, Heughan discussed the most talked about scenes from season one: the prison rape scenes involving his character and Tobias Menzies as Black Jack Randall. “It was very tough. It was pretty intense. I really wanted to do it justice. It was filmed over about a two week period. They were pretty long days because of the prosthetics, the mud, the blood, and the gore. It was about four hours in the morning of makeup and in the evening a couple of hours to take it off. But I think to Tobias and I really went for it. We rehearsed the scenes well with the director and the writers. We were just fortunate that they were such great scenes to play.”

“I knew we were making something pretty graphic and pretty intense, but it’s in the book. You’ve got to understand why Jamie is affected and what happens to him. The whole physical side, Jamie can deal with that. But it’s the mental thing, the sort of the loss of his will and betraying Claire as well is certainly something that’s hard for Jamie to live with. People’s reaction to it? That’s what we want. We wanted people to be shocked by it and to be shocked by what Black Jack Randall has done to him,” said Heughan.

More on Outlander Season 2: Sam Heughan Interview / Ronald D Moore Interview / Caitriona Balfe Interview / Diana Gabaldon Interview