Sam Heughan opens up about having to escape to the Scottish Highlands after filming intense sexual assault scenes in Outlander.
The 41-year-old Scotsman plays Highland warrior Jamie Fraser in the historical fantasy series, who at the end of the first season experienced a traumatic sexual assault.
The Dumfries born actor discussed the “very graphic” scene on the LA Times’ podcast Can’t Stop Watching, and how filming the dark storyline different to future scenes.
Sam said after shooting the “intense” scenes, he took some time off work and escaped to the Highlands in Scotland as a way to unwind.
He told Variety: “It was pretty graphic,” adding, “As an actor we love a challenge. Gone. I want to go to some dark places, but it was pretty tough to shoot. It was pretty intense.”
“I think I’m pretty good at switching off.
“But actually at that time, it was just a very strange place because I had so many prosthetics and so much makeup.
“I was having super early calls, 4 am calls, and wouldn’t be finished until 7 or 8 in the evening. I was staying in a very small hotel next to the studio.
“It almost became this weird little prison. I just literally was just in it the whole time. And I do remember it just being very, very intense, toward the end of the season.
“After that, I did take some time out and go get up into the Highlands of Scotland.”
There have been similar scenes shot since then, including a brutal assault of Jamie’s wife Claire, played by Caitriona Balfe during the Season 5 finale.
“Eight years ago when we were shooting Jamie’s trauma or Jamie’s assault, it was a very different world,” Heughan says.
“We showed more of it. But now, this time, we really wanted to do something more abstract, but still get into the mindset of the victim.”
Outlander bosses actually hired an intimacy coordinator for the sixth season of the show, to help make the behind the scenes process for shooting intimate scenes as smooth as possible.
Vanessa Coffey spoke to Digital Spy about working on the hit Starz show: “There is a lot of trust between Sam and Caitriona already and he has talked about that a lot in interviews, that they had already built up this very physical trust, and relationship between them.
“What I would hope is that by having an intimacy coordinator, when we are able to talk through those scenes we are talking really specifically about the detail of the scene, about the choreography of it, exactly what is going to be happening and why, rather than leaving anything open to the actors at the moment.
“It is all pre-planned and arranged, and then because they’re brilliant actors they put tension behind all that, just as they would with a fight scene.”
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