In his new memoir Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, Sam Heughan discusses a behind-the-scenes controversy over on-screen nudity by retelling an incident from the conclusion of Outlander Season 1 filming.
After his character Jamie Fraser was sexually assaulted by Tobias Menzies' Frank Randall, the actor claimed in the book that he was forced to do an "unnecessary" full frontal scene.
Sam Heughan Spent Hours in ‘State of Undress in Outlander Season 1
According to Heughan's book, Outlander does not shy away from sexual violence because it is a portrayal of the period. However, the "brutal rape" of Jamie in Season 1 was tough to film since the crew wanted it to be a “difficult watch.”
The focus was on the "consequences" at the time, but they felt it was necessary not to "shy away from the act itself."
Heughan was eventually filmed naked in the aftermath of the assault, "sprawled on the dungeon stones in a state of absolute defeat," and he claims he spent hours in a "state of undress."
“Those closing scenes were incredibly challenging to film, even though, thankfully the nude shots ended on the cutting room floor. It was a harrowing, exhausting experience,” Heughan writes.
“Times have changed. The c**k shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit,” he expresses in the book. “We don’t need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful.”
The 42-year-old revealed that although his contract did contain a clause requiring him to "film nude scenes," he still objected to having to film the naked rape scene in Season 1 because it was "sexualized" and a "horrific experience."
"I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualized a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate. Creative conversations are a feature of all productions, good art is made by questioning the truth and we all want to get it right," Heughan adds.
Sam Heughan Stresses Importance of Intimacy Coordinators
Heughan claims that after filming the scene, he walked back to his trailer to analyze his emotions. He claims that he and Caitriona Balfe had only recently begun navigating Jamie and Claire's sex scenes, and they were constantly on the lookout for each other. However, this is not always the case in the sector.
The actor also stated that if the scene had been shot today, "it would have been handled differently" because the set now has an intimacy coordinator.
Heughan did, however, assure Entertainment Weekly that despite the scene being "really dark and tough" and "probably some of the most testing stuff" he's ever done, he "kind of really enjoyed it."
“I think every actor enjoys putting themselves through something like that because it’s a challenge,” Heughan said.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Pop Culture page.