Sam Heughan on New Projects, Social Media and How He Avoids Revealing Outlander Spoilers

SamHeughan-FTR

(Heughan – Kent Miller/Splash News/Newscom; The Spy Who Dumped Me – Hopper Stone/SMPSP)

Jamie Fraser's Leather Sporran

Sam Heughan hits the big screen in the action-comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me (in theaters August 3).The Scottish Outlander TV star, 38, plays Sebastian, a British secret agent who pops up to help two best friends (Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon). They’re embroiled in an international spy romp when an ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux) arrives at their L.A. apartment with a team of assassins on his trail.

What about The Spy Who Dumped Me hooked you?
As soon as I read the script, I laughed out loud. Then when I found out that both Mila and Kate were attached, I couldn’t believe it.

Tell a bit about Sebastian.
He’s one of the good guys—or is he? That whole spy world is very shady. I read some great autobiographies about agents, especially MI5, and how they’re always undercover.

Outlander is heavy on action. Did Spy make you realize you’re a natural for comedy?
I don’t think I’m funny at all, so it was quite intimidating. Outlander is this heavy drama in which we stick to the script and there’s very little opportunity to ad-lib. Whereas on day one of the movie, Mila was just making up s—. It’s so creative and fast-paced. It was a great opportunity trying to keep up with those two girls.

What can fans look forward to in season four of Outlander this fall?
This season is very much about Jamie [Heughan] and Claire [Caitriona Balfe] finally finding a home, settling down and having the life they’ve always dreamt of. Jamie’s always wanted to be a laird and have a family and a place of his own. For a while he does, but, of course, being Outlander, it doesn’t last long.

What quality do you have that would make you a good spy?
Oh, wow. To be honest, as an actor, you have to assess a situation when you walk into a room. That’s what these people do. They’re always aware of the situation they’re in and what’s going on around them. I think people in everyday life, people on the street, don’t really realize what’s going on. I think spies have to have a hyperawareness. I think actors maybe have that in a certain sense. I do in a way that you sense what people are feeling or wanting. It’s just a way of judging a room, hopefully.

In what way has social media positively affected you?
Social media’s been a really great asset for me. Through the interaction with my fans, it’s helped me create My Peak Challenge, my charity fundraiser [in which participants work toward personal goals while raising money for charitable projects]. We’ve been able to do great things with that.

Did Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon make you laugh during filming?
It’s ridiculous, to be honest. You can see from the movie that they’re like best buddies, and they were from the day they met. They hadn’t met before they did the movie and they just got each other really well. When they start riffing and ad-libbing off each other, I’m sitting there in the middle going, “What the heck?” It was fantastic, but it was perfect for the character. They’re in his world, but actually he ends up in their world.

Sebastian also looks more like you than Jamie because he’s got your natural hair color.
Oh, my God, it was so wonderful! I literally would get to be in hair and makeup for five or 10 minutes, put on a T-shirt and pair of jeans and I was ready to go to work. Whereas for Outlander, I’m in hair and makeup for an hour and a half.

Also, we filmed in some great locations. We were in Budapest, Vienna and in Amsterdam as well, so it was nice to be out of Scotland. As much as I love Scotland, it was nice to go somewhere else.

You recently wrapped up filming season four of Outlander. What element of it keeps you excited to keep going to work?
It just changes all the time. The show is incredible. We’re ending our fourth season, and we’re shooting as if we were in North Carolina at the beginning of America. It’s a world with Native Americans and different factors, such as the British, and the Scottish people, who are displaced by the British arriving there. We started season one in Scotland in a castle, and we’ve since gone to Paris and Versailles, and then to the Caribbean.

Every season is different. In fact, every episode for me on Outlander is different. There’s always a challenge. It’s not like we go to work every day in a studio on the same set like a procedural. It really is very challenging.

Outlander has had to have changed your life. How so?
I’ve just come to a very settled place where I feel very fortunate. The job on Outlander is incredible and I work with an amazing team. I get to be creative every day and I also get amazing opportunities, like working on the movie with Kate and Mila. I got to learn from them. I actually have more projects coming up this year in the summer [like filming Bloodshot with Vin Diesel]. It’s given me some great opportunities and I feel very fortunate. Hopefully, I’ll continue to grow with each project that I do.

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