In his just-published memoir, Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, Outlander star Sam Heughan opens up about a brutal scene he shot in Season 1 of the Starz show and how it affected him negatively—a topic he hasn’t broached in depth before.
The moment in question is when his character, Jamie Fraser, is tortured and brutally raped by his nemesis Black Jack Randall, played by Tobias Menzies of Game of Thrones fame. The shoot included a full-frontal shot of his character after the rape. Heughan details in his memoir he had agreed to nudity in his contract, but he didn’t feel this level of nudity was appropriate to the scene.
More from Deadline
“This wasn’t a moment where I felt that being naked would add to the horror of what Jamie undergoes in that castle dungeon as a form of punishment, subjugation and humiliation,” he writes in the book.
“I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualised [sic.] a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate.”
Outlander is based on the series of bestselling novels by Diana Gabaldon, and the rape originates in the source material. Deadline has reached out to Starz and will add any comment received.
“We’re not playing around here,” showrunner Ron D. Moore told Vulture of the scene in 2015. “This is the story. There’s a book that we’re following, and this is part of the story that is absolutely necessary to that book. There’s really no way not to do it. This is a horrific situation, so it should be horrific.”
Heughan admitted to Vulture that he felt duped into playing the grueling scene one more time at one point in the shoot.
“They said, ‘We’d love one more wide shot of it, the whole thing.’ And I was like… [groans], ‘Oh God.’ I thought I’d gotten it all out of the way. And they said, ‘We’ll only do it up to a certain point, just before it happens.’ “
But, Heughan said, the director never called “cut,” and the actors acted out the rape once more.
“It got up to that point, and they didn’t call ‘cut,’ so we had to carry on,” he explained. “I remember feeling so scared, and actually feeling slightly like my trust had been broken a bit because it was horrific. Great to play, but horrific.”
The actor later spoke with the production team and they agreed his character would be seen naked, but without the bit the actor felt was gratuitous.
“We don’t need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful,” he writes in Waypoints. “Even though, thankfully the nude shots ended on the cutting room floor. It was a harrowing, exhausting experience.”
As a result, Heughan revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast earlier this year that Outlander, in season six, now has an intimacy coordinator.
“It’s important that everyone is protected, but also we find a way to explore these scenes and actually maybe get something more out of them,” Heughan said, saying that he felt “just thrown in the deep end” at the beginning of the series.
“Times have changed,” he writes in the book. “The c**k shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit.”
Best of Deadline