Before ‘Outlander’ Sam Heughan Lost a Role in ‘Tron Legacy’ but It Still Changed His Life

Since Outlander, Sam Heughan has spent his hiatuses between seasons doing movies like Bloodshot and The Spy Who Dumped Me. Before Outlander, Heughan had tried to land major film franchise roles. He’s talked about his Lord of the Rings audition, and in a recent interview he also revealed he tried out for Tron :Legacy.

'Outlander': Sma Heughan stands in front of the camera crew in costume
Sam Hueghan | Starz

Heughan was a guest on the Square Mile podcast on March 8, 2021, being interviewed by Tom Ellis. During their conversation, Heughan discussed his Tron: Legacy audition. Even though he didn’t get the role, the trip to Hollywood changed his life. Outlander Season 6 airs Sundays on Starz.

Sam Heughan ‘Tron: Legacy’ audition brought him to Hollywood before ‘Outlander’

Tron: Legacy came out in 2010, so auditions for it might have been the year prior. The sequel to the 1982 cult classic ultimately starred Garrett Hedlund opposite returning Jeff Bridges. Heughan didn’t say which part he went for, but described the whirlwind of coming to L.A.

“My first taste of Hollywood I guess was I think I did a self tape for Tron,” Heughan said on Square Mile. “At the time, the movie I was living in this sort of really crappy apartment on the outskirts of London. There were drug dealers on my street. I remember having very little money to my name and this beautiful car turned up to pick me up first class, flown to Hollywood, stay in this amazing hotel.”

The luxuries of Hollywood were intimidating to Heughan. 

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“I remember just being terrified that I had to tip the driver when I got to LA because I’d read about tipping in Los Angeles,” Heughan said. “I only had $20. So I gave him my last $20 and I’m like, ‘Sh*t, I’m staying in this amazing hotel but I can’t touch anything. I can’t touch the minibar because I wont’ be able to pay for it.’”

Sam Heughan stayed in L.A. and met the woman who led to ‘Outlander’

Heughan called that trip to L.A. for Tron: Legacy a turning point for him. He’d been frustrated with his career in London, but in L.A. he could meet people connected to Hollywood.

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“Suzanne Smith, the casting director, eventually did cast me in Outlander,” Heughan said. “For years I’d been going to see her. She was quite intimidating at first. I remember she’d always be like, ‘That was terrible. Do it again but faster.’ You’re like, ‘Oh God, I’m rubbish.’ Suddenly she cast me in Outlander and everything changes.”

‘Tron: Legacy’ also allowed him to quit his bartending job

Apparently, Heughan forgot to tell his day job where he was going. While he was in town for the Tron: Legacy audition he got a panicked phone call.

“It was an amazing process to go there and to go on set and be part of this huge production,” Heughan said. “I think I was there for three days of tests. It was my first taste but I specifically remember walking down Hollywood Blvd. in some time off. My phone rang and it was my local pub in London I was working at at the time. They were like, ‘Hey mate, you’re five minutes late.  Are you going to be here?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m afraid I’m in Hollywood.’ It didn’t go down too well.”

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