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What We Learned about Sam Heughan’s New Book with Outlander Co-Star at Comic Con

Sam Heughan and his former Outlander co-star Graham McTavish faced off at New York Comic Con’s virtual trivia deathmatch, with host Josh Horowitz. Turns out one of them was really bad at trivia. But before the game got started, Heughan and McTavish talked all about their new book Clanlands, which comes out in early November. They dropped behind-the-scenes details about co-stars Caitríona Balfe and Duncan LaCroix, both of whom are in the book it seems. In fact, they reveal a particularly “memorable” night the cast shared when most had to work early the next day. Let’s just say, saki and whisky were involved.

Clanlands is based on the road trip they took around Scotland together, as they were filming their upcoming Starz show, Men in Kilts, which is expected to be released in early 2021. Heughan reveals not only do they talk Outlander and Scottish history, but they also discuss both of their careers. McTavish and Heughan met on Outlander, and say they formed a special bond in season one with Balfe, LaCroix and all of the “highlanders.” In fact, it was McTavish’s character, Dougal MacKenzie, that plays matchmaker to Balfe and Heughan’s Claire and Jamie. And how do they repay him? Spoiler alert. Murder. Technically, self-defense. Oops. He tried to murder them first. “Fair’s fair,” as Jamie Fraser once said to Claire and most recently to a snake.

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Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan/Image: Starz

Asked what they discovered about each other, McTavish jokes, thanks to Outlander, “There’s nothing I haven’t seen of Sam,” referring to Balfe and Heughan’s iconic, kiltless love scenes, no doubt.  McTavish says he and Heughan wrote the book to show the reality of Scottish history and not romanticize it. As a result, the two of them have spent the better part of the last few months in small spaces, like their camper van and audio booths. McTavish described their road trip like this: “I was worried about Sam plotting constantly to endanger my life.”

Heughan says the book includes 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 should have been the driver on the road trip. But Heughan was, because McTavish was too hungover. He later learned, “So was Sam, but it was not as evident.”

Their road trip had them visiting iconic places but also meeting guests. Heughan previously hinted that Balfe is mentioned (and maybe perhaps an appearance on Men in Kilts?). Balfe even asked him in a recent virtual chat if she was going to get to see it before it comes out. Turns out no. But we’ll get to that shortly.

Which Outlander star is the worst driver?

So how was Heughan as a driver? McTavish shakes his head and says, “Don’t do it.” He reveals that Heughan had barely driven stick shift, which Heughan proudly confirmed.

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Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish/Image: Peter Sandground

When Horowitz admits he doesn’t have a license, Heughan quickly offers to teach him “Carpool Karaoke” style. Horowitz just as quickly says no. Hold up. Here’s an idea: “Carpool Claireaoke,” a sketch with Jamie and Claire teaching Horowitz how to drive. Spoiler: Jamie and Claire can’t actually drive. (Balfe and Heughan have both confessed to being terrible drivers). This would be a good sequel to “Couples Therapy,” an Outlander fan-favorite sketch Horowitz did in 2017 with Balfe and Heughan.

Men in Kilts vs. Men in Very Small Shorts

And how did Outlander fans react to seeing Heughan and McTavish roaming about Scotland filming Men in Kilts? “Did their heads explode?” Horowitz asked. Heughan revealed it was quite the opposite. In fact, when visiting a castle, their camper got stuck in a castle gate entrance that marathon runners were trying to get through. McTavish said they were yelled at by the runners. “I’d never been abused by men in very small shorts before,” Heughan joked. Seems like those runners might not have been Outlander fans after all.

Which Outlander co-star gets hangry?

When Heughan tells Horowitz that McTavish was constantly eating on their road trip. Horowitz asks if either of them get hangry. Heughan laughed and said, “If the man doesn’t eat every two hours, there will be blood.” Apparently, McTavish’s pet peeves are covered in-depth in the book. Twenty-one of them to be exact. Heughan looks on like an embarrassed teenager when McTavish says he hates how there’s constant music everywhere in the world. The other thing that upsets McTavish, weak handshakes. But also bone-crushing handshakes, and admits Heughan has a “nice medium handshake with a little caress and a tickle.” Future me: Sees Sam Heughan, opts for a socially-distanced wave. Sans tickle. (French for “without a tickle”).

McTavish is sort of like The Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf rolled into one guy. Horowitz says McTavish seems like a “Scottish Larry David,” and Heughan said he’s more a “Scottish Bad Santa.” And then McTavish mentally added them to his list of pet peeves. As for Heughan’s pet peeves, McTavish said he only has one, “Lack of alcohol.” Heughan explained whisky making and in-taking is a big part of their book. His other favorite part of the book is a list of Scottish slang.

“The Hangover” starring the cast of Outlander

But who holds their liquor better? McTavish admits, “Sam – judging from how spritely he was in the morning.” Heughan joked McTavish “likes any expensive alcohol that’s charged 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 had a night of drinking at McTavish’s. Luckily McTavish didn’t have to work the next day, but Balfe, Heughan, and La Croix had a read-through. Long story short, McTavish said the mistake they made was starting with saki then moving to whisky. The night ended with him having to carry LaCroix, who had an 8 am call, to bed. But not before LaCroix met a glass table. Ow.

Road Trip with Caitríona Balfe or Vin Diesel?

“Has Caitríona read the book?” Horowitz innocently asked Heughan. “Um, we thought it best to get it out there and run. I’m in an undisclosed hotel somewhere in the UK, hopefully, she will never find me.” Perhaps Balfe will make Clanlands her next book club pick. Or she might just use this tactic to lure Heughan out of hotel hiding.

When asked if he could road trip with either Balfe or Vin Diesel, Heughan’s Bloodshot co-star, Heughan kind of chooses both of them. “Caitríona would be just awesome. Caitríona’s prodigious nature for drinking Irish whisky is more dangerous than Graham’s.” As for Fast & Furious star Diesel, “he’s a character and it would be interesting to say the least.” Balfe and Furious sounds like just the thing we all need in 2021. And perhaps Balfe and Diesel could take turns driving. One is known for being “the worst driver in LA,” by her own admission (and a letter from the state of California).

Outlander cast friendships

McTavish and Heughan talk about how deep their friendships are amongst the cast, especially between Balfe, LaCroix, and Tobias Menzies. McTavish says he sees “Sam, Caitríona and Duncan” the most. LaCroix even went on vacation with McTavish’s family. “I heard you made him cook and babysit,” Heughan interjects. McTavish didn’t say yes to that, but he didn’t say no either. Seems like Duncan LaCooks.

When asked how it felt to come back to Outlander in Season 5, as a different character, McTavish said, “It felt like coming home.” Though it was kept a secret. Most of the cast and crew didn’t know it was McTavish playing the character until he walked on set. Surprise! Uncle Dougal’s back. No, Jamie and Claire really, really killed him.

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Gif image: Oohlo

Sam versus Graham

Turns out Heughan spent hours with McTavish but doesn’t listen to him at all. When Horowitz had them face off against each other, Heughan failed at “Graham trivia.” He didn’t know his birthday, nor his character in the The Hobbit. “Were you an angry Scottish dwarf?” He also thought he starred in Smurfs as “Grumpy the Scottish Smurf.” He did not.

Graham crushed his “Sam trivia” questions. Round 2 was all about Scottish history. And Heughan was history after McTavish beat him again. But you know who’s a stickler for trivia rules? Sam Heughan. When McTavish just started yelling out answers instead of raising his hand, Heughan yelled, “I had my hand up!” Sadly, that did not help him. He lost, lost badly.

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Josh Horowitz, Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish/Image: New York Comic Con

But Heughan did get one answer correct. And thanks to him, we learned that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. Unicorns aren’t real, Scotland. Wait, are they? Are unicorns real? Mark this as the day I learned unicorns are real. And if they’re not, nobody tell Scotland.

Heughan ended up with zero points. And McTavish came out victorious with 9 points. McTavish’s prize was that he got to make Heughan do 10 push-ups. When Heughan walked off-camera to do them, and McTavish quickly yelled, “We can’t see you, you buffoon.” Heughan may have lost the game, but he won in the end. Watch for yourself.

Heughan declared himself the winner shortly after on Instagram. The “moral” victor that is. (The actual victor was McTavish). And us.

Judging from this event, Heughan and McTavish are extremely entertaining and hilariously adversarial, and if you need more content to get you through Droughtlander, pre-order their book here. Or if you prefer to hear Heughan and McTavish read to you in “fake Scottish accents,” as Horowitz describes, the audiobook is for you. And let’s hope Horowitz gives us some more Outlander content because it’s 2020 and we all deserve that joy. “Carpool Claireaoke” – make it happen.

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Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish/Image: Instagram/SamHeughan

Before you go, click here to see the all-time best Outlander episodes you’ll want to re-watch. 

'Outlander' cast Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan,

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