When it came to enacting the role of a victim of torture and rape in the season finale of “Outlander,” Sam Heughan admits, “I was really looking forward to it. To go to these dark places at the end of the season was really kind of a gift for an actor — to see their limits and their boundaries.
“Up until the second half of the season, my character had been on the periphery,” Heughan adds in our webcam chat (watch below.) “We didn’t really know an awful lot about Jamie.”
But TV viewers learned something devastating about Jamie when he was sodomized by “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies) in a prison cell. Momentarily at least, Jamie took pleasure in it and this self-realization is what finally broke his spirit.
“These horrific things that happen to him on the physical side — he can kind of deal with, but it’s the moment that he betrays Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in his mind,” Heughan adds. “He betrays her because he found a moment of happiness, of pleasure. That shows you how depraved Black Jack is, that he managed to find Jamie’s fortitude and strength, that nugget and to break that.”
Heughan reveals interesting facts about shooting those scenes. To prepare, it took four hours every morning for the makeup artists to make his naked back appear to be covered with scars from past floggings. He endured it patiently because the time would “allow me to get into character, into Jamie’s mindset” before cameras rolled.
His favorite scene of the TV season came in episode 9 when “Jamie and Claire go at each other,” he says. “It’s very high stakes, high emotions. It was the first time that Caitriona and I got to expand ourselves and our acting skills and to really get to the roots of the problems going on in their relationship. While being melodramatic, those scenes are very rewarding to play.”
Heughan is in the running for Best Drama Actor at the Emmys. Make your predictions here.