Meet one of Scotland's bonniest exports: The 34-year-old actor is set to sweep U.S. audiences off their feet as dashing love interest Jamie Fraser on Starz's ''Outlander''
Sam Heughan has been training for the role of heroic Highland warrior Jamie Fraser his entire life — he just didn’t know it. ”I was born and brought up in the countryside,” the Scot tells EW. ”I used to live in converted stables on the grounds of a castle, and I spent a lot of my childhood running around pretending to be Robert the Bruce.” Over the ensuing years, Heughan supplemented all that make-believe with a real résumé of bona fides: studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Shakespearean stage performances, a role on the BBC soap Doctors, and even a gig as the Caped Crusader in a 2011 DC/Warner Bros. touring production of Batman Live — which means he’s familiar with the pressures of portraying a beloved character. ”You can’t please everyone,” he admits, ”but ultimately, I think we’re all fans of the [Outlander] books. We’re as close to them as we can be while still telling a great story.”
For authenticity, Heughan spent two weeks in ”Outlander boot camp” practicing horseback riding and sword fighting, learning Gaelic, and perfecting Jamie’s brogue. ”The Highland accent is quite soft; it’s quite well-spoken, but it’s got a musicality to it, and I think that’s part of the character of Jamie. There’s music in him.” What the actor wasn’t able to glean from that edifying fortnight — or his near-daily conversations with author Diana Gabaldon — he could probably just fudge given his delightful similarities to the 18th-century clansman. To wit, when asked if he wears his kilt the ”traditional” Scottish way, Heughan’s answer is pure, mischievous Jamie: ”It’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it?”