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Sam Heughan says ‘unnecessary’ full frontal scene 'betrayed his trust' in 'Outlander' creative team

The actor revealed in his new memoir why a full frontal scene in Season 1 upset him. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Sam and Brianna in Outlander 410

Sam Heughan, aka Jamie Fraser on Outlander, has revealed that his first season on the Starz show had a scene that initially had an “unnecessary” full frontal shot of him. 

Insider was first to report that in Heughan’s memoir, Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, the actor shared that he knew from the get-go that the show didn’t shy away from sexual violence. He did, however, think that a scene at the end of the first season where his character gets brutally raped by Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) didn’t require the audience to see his penis. 

“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 wrote.

Heughan said he argued against the shot, saying that “nudity sexualized a horrific experience” for his character. The actor’s pushback appeared to cause quite the debate on set. Eventually, Heughan and the creative team — which includes show creator Ronald D. Moore — came to a compromise where Jamie would only be shown fully naked after the rape. Ultimately, all full frontal shots were “left on the cutting room floor” in post-production and those images never aired.

The first season of Outlander premiered almost a decade ago in 2014. There was no sensitivity coordinator then, and Heughan wrote that the situation “would have been handled differently” if it occurred today, not least because he pushed the decision to bring a sensitivity coordinator on board for the show’s sixth season, which aired earlier this year.

The disagreement, however, left a lasting impression on Heughan. 

“The cock shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit,” he wrote in his memoir. “We don't need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful."

The seasons since have had more than a few additional horrors that the show’s characters have gone through —  events that weren’t a surprise to those who’ve read the Diana Gabaldon books that the show is based on. Those characters will undoubtedly face more trials and hardship when the super-sized seventh season of the show premieres some time in 2023.

Looking for some time-travel fare on the lighter side? Check out all three Back to the Future movies, now streaming on Peacock.