Whether Sam Heughan is our next (gay?) Bond remains to be seen. For now, the 38-year-old Scottish heartthrob is playing it straight as sexy British agent Sebastian in his first major film, The Spy Who Dumped Me.
In Susanna Fogel’s action-comedy, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star as BFFs Audrey and Morgan who are hilariously fleeing from assassins targeting them because Audrey’s ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) is a spy.
Known for portraying Jamie Fraser in the Starz time-travel drama Outlander, Heughan talked to NewNowNext about his blessedly gay oeuvre and the queer cult classic he’d go bare-legged for.
How aware are you of your LGBTQ fan base?
I’m not aware! But I hope there is one. And if there isn’t, then we need to make one.
I think it’s been made, Sam. Outlander’s queerness seems to have courted a sizeable gay audience.
I suppose it has. The only gay character is John Grey, but that relationship (with Jamie) is so interesting, and it’s been really, really fun. It’s a really beautiful friendship they’ve got, and this sort of understanding. And it’s sad, actually, for John Grey because he’s really fallen for Jamie, and it’s not reciprocated in that way. I really feel for that guy.
The Spy Who Dumped Me just might lead to the Bond movie that William Shatner wants you to star in. And based on his endorsement, he wants you to play…gay Bond?
God bless him. Everyone’s being talked about, but I think it’s time that, yeah, why not? Let’s do a gay Bond. That’d be cool. I’ve actually played quite a few gay characters. I did A Very British Sex Scandal (in 2007), which was about this reporter who was taken to court in the late ’50s. I’ve done a few characters on stage as well. But, yeah, I don’t know if it’s typecasting. (Laughs)
How did you end up playing so many gay roles?
Those parts are really interesting because there’s this grey area. These characters are not always fully aware of their situation or in control of their situation, and they have very strong feelings and very strong emotions and tend to be really interesting parts.
Your love scene in the play Plague Over England, which was performed in London in 2008 and 2009, obviously resonated with gay audiences. How did you approach that role?
It’s such a wonderful awakening for this character to sort of fall in love with this very attractive, very intelligent, very fun guy. Then, we see him 20 years later. He’s kind of lost the love of his life, and I loved the arc, the journey of that.
And it doesn’t matter if he’s straight or gay; it’s just about love, and love lost, really. And it was a really nice play to do, actually. Leon [Ockenden] was my lover in that and we’re still very good friends.
A critic, or a troll, tweeted: “Mr. Heughan is one of the most boring homosexual actors out there.” Your retort: “Boring and homosexual never go together. But thank you for the compliment.x” Do people sometimes mistake you as gay, and do you usually just take that as a compliment?
Yeah, I guess. I played a few gay parts and maybe people might make assumptions about me. I mean, it’s not true, but I don’t really care. I think, whatever, if that’s what you’re gonna pick out from someone’s performance.
But you take being called gay a compliment.
I love that world. My makeup artist in the U.K. is very camp and she brings out the best camp side in me.
Do you aspire to play a campy role?
There’s a fantastic play I saw many, many years ago and it’s a one-man show about a transvestite. It was such a wonderful bit of writing. I would kind of love to do that.
How about The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
Maybe one day. Work up to that. That singing, though! And I can’t dance.
You’re quite tall. Any interest in wearing fishnets to play Frank-N-Furter?
Yeah, why not? I’ve got the legs for it.
The Spy Who Dumped Me opens nationwide Aug. 3.