Outlander star Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) has kept very busy during this year’s longer-than-expected Droughtlander. Since the spring, the pandemic has put production for season 6 on hold. In the meantime, Heughan and his co-star Graham McTavish (Dougal Mackenzie) have been working on their new book Clanlands and the follow-up docu-series Men In Kilts. The new project is a love letter to Scotland, and Heughan opens up about his family like never before.
‘Clanlands’ follows the ‘Outlander’ stars on a road trip through Scotland’s historical sites
On November 3, Heughan and McTavish released Clanlands and it quickly became number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. According to Town & Country, the book follows the Outlander co-stars as they road trip through Scotland.
During their journey, Heughan and McTavish drink plenty of alcohol, share a lot of laughs, and bicker “like an old married couple” while visiting Scotland’s historical sites. The duo wrote the book in first person. It’s essentially a conversation between the two as they discuss Scottish history, reflect on their respective acting careers, and share anecdotes from Outlander.
In the forward, Outlander author Diana Gabaldon describes the book in a very unique way. She writes, “Think Jack Kerouac, but with fewer drugs, more paragraphs, and no sex. Well, almost no sex . . .”
Next year, the follow up docu-series Men in Kilts will debut on Starz. The series documents Heughan and McTavish making their way across Scotland with various forms of transportation. It will show the duo traveling by campervan, vintage motorcycles, and kayaks.
Sam Heughan was broke and ready to quit acting when he landed a life-changing audition
Despite his Outlander fame, Heughan has remained relatively quiet about his private life. As Parade magazine notes, that changes in his new book. In Clanlands, Heughan opens about his family and provides insight into his life.
The actor revealed that when he was 34, his acting career had left him completely broke. After 12 years as a “jobbing actor,” his trip to Los Angeles for pilot season was a bust. At that point, Heughan says that he gave up and decided to become a bartender.
“I had been testing on a number of shows and films that would potentially change my life and I had signed the contracts – spending the money and living the fame – in my head!” Heughan explained. “However, once again I found myself penniless, depressed and back in the UK. I was really beginning to question if I could keep going with no real long-term opportunities in sight.”
Heughan admitted that he was broke and in debt to the point that “bailiffs” were at his front door. He says he was drowning in debt from credit cards and loans and he couldn’t see a way out. But the moment that he decided it was time to make a drastic change in his life, he was offered a screen test for Outlander “out of the blue.”
The ‘Outlander’ star opens up about his family and gives fans insight into his life
In Clanlands, Heughan and McTavish discuss kilts and how the different plaids reflect the area of Scotland where each clan lived. Heughan revealed that he owns five kilts, and one is extremely special to him.
“Most dear to me is my father’s kilt, which I received after he passed away whilst I was shooting season one of Outlander in 2014. I haven’t worn it yet,” Heughan revealed. “It’s MacDonald, as our family descends from the MacDonalds and comes with a plain but well-used brown leather sporran. I’ll honour him one day by wearing it – just need to lose some weight first, he was rather slender!”
Heughan also revealed that he “swears by porridge” as the ultimate breakfast. He says it’s the best way to sustain energy because it is a “slow-release carbohydrate.” The actor explained that when he eats porridge daily, it sustains him for hours of filming.
The Outlander star also discusses his mother Chrissie, who is an artist. He says that she raised him and his older brother, Cirdan, as a single mom. When she landed a spot in the printmaking course at Edinburgh School of Art, Chrissie moved her boys to Scotland’s capital.
“Despite being a single mother to two teenage sons, Chrissie completed her course at art school and went on to create her own studio, where she continues to make various pieces for exhibition or commission,” Heughan writes.
The actor says that his mother has always encouraged his dream of acting, and she is very proud of her son’s work on Outlander.
Clanlands is available wherever books are sold. Seasons 1 through 5 of Outlander are available on the Starz App and Amazon Prime Video.