What We Learned about Sam Heughan's New Book with 'Outlander' Co-Star at Comic Con
Sam Heughan and former Outlander co-star Graham McTavish faced off host Josh Horowitz in the New York Comic Con virtual trivia death match. Turns out one of them was really bad at trivia. But before the game began, Heughan and McTavish talked about their new book, Clanlands, due out in early November. They dropped behind the scenes details about co-stars Caitríona Balfe and Duncan LaCroix, both of whom appear to be in the book. In fact, they reveal a particularly "memorable" night shared by the cast, when most had to work early the next day. Let's just say saki and whiskey were involved.
Clanlands is based on the road trip they took together across Scotland while filming their upcoming Starz show Men in Kilts, which is slated to be released in early 2021. Heughan reveals that as well as talking about Outlander and Scottish history, they'll also discuss both careers. McTavish and Heughan met on Outlander and say they had a special relationship with Balfe, LaCroix and all of the "Highlanders" in season one. In fact, it was McTavish's character, Dougal MacKenzie, who played Balfe and Heughan's Claire and Jamie as matchmakers. And how do you pay it back? Spoiler alert. Murder. Technically self-defense. Oops. He tried to murder her first. "Fair is fair," as Jamie Fraser once said to Claire and lastly to a snake.
When asked what they spotted each other, McTavish, thanks to Outlander, jokes, "I haven't seen anything from Sam," no doubt referring to Balfe and Heughan's iconic kiltless love scenes. McTavish says he and Heughan wrote the book to show the reality of Scottish history and not to romanticize it. As a result, the two have spent most of the past few months in a small space, such as RVs and audio booths. McTavish described her road trip as follows: "I was concerned that Sam was constantly making plans to endanger my life."
Heughan says the book contains a lot about his childhood, growing up in Scotland, and rediscovering his love for Scotland when he got Outlander. "We learned about ourselves and each other." McTavish learned that he was to be the driver on the road trip. But Heughan was because McTavish was too hungover. He later learned, "Sam too, but it wasn't that obvious."
On their road trip, they visited famous places, but also met guests. Heughan previously hinted that Balfe is mentioned (and maybe an appearance on Men in Kilts?). Balfe recently asked him in a virtual chat if she would see it before it came out. It turns out no. But we'll come back to that shortly.
Which Outlander star is the worst driver?
How was Heughan as a driver? McTavish shakes his head and says, "Don't do it." He reveals that Heughan had barely driven a gear stick, which Heughan proudly acknowledged.
When Horowitz admits he doesn't have a license, Heughan quickly offers to teach him the "ridesharing karaoke" style. Horowitz says no just as quickly. Hold. Here's an idea: "Carpool Claireaoke," a sketch in which Jamie and Claire teach Horowitz to drive. Spoiler: Jamie and Claire actually can't drive. (Balfe and Heughan both confessed to be terrible drivers). This would be a good sequel to Couples Therapy, an Outlander fan-favorite sketch that Horowitz did with Balfe and Heughan in 2017.
Men in kilts versus men in very small shorts
And how did Outlander fans react to Heughan and McTavish roaming Scotland to film men in kilts? "Did their heads explode?" Asked Horowitz. Heughan revealed that it was just the opposite. In fact, while visiting a castle, her camper was stuck in an entrance to the castle gate that marathon runners were trying to get through. McTavish said they were yelled at by the runners. "I've never been molested by men in very tiny shorts before," joked Heughan. Seems like these runners weren't Outlander fans after all.
Which Outlander co-star gets hungry?
When Heughan tells Horowitz that McTavish ate all the time on her road trip. Horowitz asks if any of them are getting hungry. Heughan laughed and said, "If the man doesn't eat every two hours, there will be blood." Apparently, McTavish's pet sleeves are covered extensively in the book. Twenty-one of them to be precise. Heughan looks like an embarrassed teenager when McTavish says he hates that there is constant music all over the world. The other thing that bothers McTavish is weak handshakes. But also bone-breaking handshakes and admits that Heughan has a "nice middle handshake with a little caress and a tickle". Future me: Seeing Sam Heughan, opting for a socially distant wave. Tickle sans. (French for "no tickle").
McTavish is like The Muppets' Statler and Waldorf in one man. Horowitz says McTavish appears to be a "Scottish Larry David" and Heughan said he was more of a "Scottish Bad Santa Claus". And then McTavish mentally added them to his list of pet sleeves. As for Heughan's favorite cases, McTavish said he had only one: "Alcohol Deficiency". Heughan stated that making and consuming whiskey is a big part of her book. His other favorite part of the book is a list of Scottish slang.
"The Hangover" with the cast of Outlander
But who better to keep their schnapps? McTavish admits, "Sam - judging by how spirited he was that morning." Heughan joked that McTavish "likes any expensive alcohol billed to my hotel room." They talk about a story in the book about a night when the Outlander cast, including Balfe, Heughan, LaCroix, and the show's producers, drank one night at McTavish. Fortunately, McTavish didn't have to work the next day, but Balfe, Heughan, and La Croix had a read through. In short, McTavish said the mistake they made was to start with saki and then move on to whiskey. The night ended with having to carry LaCroix, who received a call at 8 a.m., to bed. But not before LaCroix hit a glass table. Ow.
Road trip with Caitríona Balfe or Vin Diesel?
"Has Caitríona read the book?" Horowitz asked Heughan innocently. "Um, we thought it was best to take it out and run. I'm in an unfamiliar hotel somewhere in the UK, hopefully she'll never find me. "Maybe Balfe will make Clanlands her next book club pick. Or she could just use that tactic to get Heughan out of hiding.
When asked if he could go on a road trip with Balfe or Vin Diesel, Heughan's Bloodshot co-star, Heughan picks both. “Caitríona would be just great. Caitríona's amazing nature of drinking Irish whiskey is more dangerous than Graham's. Fast & Furious star Diesel: “He's a character and it would be interesting to say the least.” Balfe and Furious sound exactly what we all need in 2021. And maybe Balfe and Diesel could take turns driving. One is by their own account (and a letter from the state of California) known for being "the worst driver in LA".
Outlander occupied friendships
McTavish and Heughan talk about how deep their friendships are with the cast, particularly between Balfe, LaCroix, and Tobias Menzies. McTavish says he sees "Sam, Caitríona, and Duncan" the most. LaCroix even vacationed with McTavish's family. “I heard you got him cooking and babysitting,” says Heughan. McTavish didn't say yes, but neither did he say no. Seems like Duncan LaCooks.
When asked how it felt to return to Outlander as a different character in season 5, McTavish said, "It felt like coming home." Although it was kept a secret. Most cast members and crew members didn't know McTavish was playing the character until he left on set. Surprise! Uncle Dougal is back. No, Jamie and Claire really, really killed him.
Sam versus Graham
It turns out that Heughan spent hours with McTavish but doesn't listen to him at all. When Horowitz let them compete against each other, Heughan failed on "Graham Trivia". He didn't know his birthday or his character in the hobbit. "Were you an angry Scottish dwarf?" He also thought he appeared in Smurfs as "Grumpy the Scottish Smurf". He did not.
Graham squashed his "Sam Trivia" questions. Round 2 was all about Scottish history. And Heughan was history after McTavish hit him again. But do you know who is an advocate of trivia rules? Sam Heughan. As McTavish was just starting to shout answers instead of raising his hand, Heughan yelled, "I had my hand up!" Unfortunately that didn't help him. He lost, lost hard.
But Heughan got one answer right. And thanks to him, we learned that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. Unicorns aren't real, Scotland. Wait, are you? Are unicorns real? Mark this as the day I learned unicorns are real. And if not, nobody will tell Scotland.
Heughan ended with zero points. And McTavish won with 9 points. McTavish's price was to have Heughan do 10 pushups. When Heughan walked off camera to do it and McTavish quickly yelled, "We can't see you, you fool." Heughan may have lost the game, but in the end he won. Take care of yourself.
Heughan declared himself the winner on Instagram shortly afterwards. So the "moral" winner. (The real winner was McTavish). And we.
Judging from this incident, Heughan and McTavish are extremely entertaining and incredibly controversial. If you need more content to get through Droughtlander, pre-order your book here. Or if you prefer to hear Heughan and McTavish read aloud with "false Scottish accents," as Horowitz describes, this audiobook is for you. Let's hope Horowitz brings us more Outlander content because it's 2020 and we all deserve this joy. "Carpool Claireaoke" - make it happen.
Before you get started, click here to see the best Outlander episodes of all time that you will want to watch again.
"Outlander" cast Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan,
Launch Gallery: The best "Outlander" episodes of all time to watch (or re-watch)
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