Outlander's Sam Heughan talks obsessed Jamie Fraser fans and speaking Gaelic

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Mar 12, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

Sam Heughan -- who plays the dashing young Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser (a.k.a the "King of Men" -- Moore's words, not ours) in Ron D. Moore's upcoming time-traveling series Outlander -- has opened up about the obsession of Jamie fans and speaking Gaelic on the show.

In an article from The Scotsman, Heughan said (referring to a fan event that took place in L.A. this past January, which attracted more than 2000 Outlander fans):

“I don’t think the fans are obsessed with me, they are obsessed with Jamie Fraser, he’s such a great character. I didn’t really know about the fanbase when I took on the role. But they’ve been so supportive.
“It feels like we have got on this roller-coaster and have not got off it yet. There is so much in the show - romance, adventure, romance, supernatural stuff, and the whole historic side with the build-up to Culloden.
“It’s been great fun, although the whole experience in America was a bit of an eye-opener, but it was great to see the reaction of the fans and the anticipation that’s already there.”

Fun fact: The actors in the show are being taught to speak Gaelic, a language that will figure prominently in the series, which mostly takes place in 18th-century Scotland. Heughan explains how it'll be used:

“Gaelic is a really strong part of the show and I’ve been really passionate about it. The fans have all really embraced it - they are desperate for anything to do with Outlander.
“I’m playing a character whose first language is Gaelic and it is used as a tool in the show as Claire, who is an English character thrust into a Scottish world where they all speak a foreign language. It like an alien world for her, with a different time zone and Gaelic is used to separate her from this race of people.
“The viewer will have that as well as they won’t understand what is being said. A really large chunk of the show is in Gaelic and Ron (Moore, Outlander’s producer) has said that he doesn’t want to use subtitles, so Gaelic can be used as that tool.”

As for the authenticity of the Starz show, Heughan insists that showrunner extraordinaire Moore, of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica fame, will be a stickler for detail:

“Ron has been so enthusiastic about Scotland - he is really trying to make it as authentic as possible.
“His wife Terry is a costume designer and she has gone right back to basics to source all the materials and the colours and how kilts were worn at the time.
“It is such a vast production. The studio is like a wonderland and feels a bit like home now. There are so many workshops, where things are being built up and broken down all the time. I think they made something like 300 costumes in the first six weeks.

Heughan, who admitted he has had to die his hair red for the part, said:

“It feels like I get beaten up in every show. I do have hundreds of scars in the show. My whole back is covered in them. It looks really gruesome. We did a shoot last week when there was a crowd of extras there and people were almost passing out when they saw them. They look amazing.”

Outlander is slated to premiere in the summer of 2014 on Starz.

(via The Scotsman)