By now we have all accepted Sam Heughan as our beloved JAMMF, but did you ken that he wasna the first?
It’s true—there was another ‘official’ Jamie Fraser, years before Sam:
When I was in Edinburgh in 2009, I made the acquaintance of a lovely man named Mike Gibb. Mike’s a lyricist and playwright, and having fallen in love with OUTLANDER, asked me whether I might approve his writing a song-cycle of the story: a series of 14-15 songs, telling the high points of the story, which might later form the libretto for a stage production.
Mike and his friends, composer Kevin Walsh, did a couple of demo songs for me, which I found entirely charming, and they went ahead with the project. I’m enchanted with the results. ~ Diana Gabaldon, 2010/Outlanderthemusical.com
And so a musical was born:
(Listen to Outlander the Musical song samples or purchase the CD here - it’s also available on iTunes)
Well, being obsessed with all things Outlander, naturally I ordered the CD as soon as soon as I found out about it, let alone as fast as my fingers could type! And it was then that I learned that the role of Jamie Fraser was sung by Allan Scott Douglas, an actor/singer and native Scot.
From his bio on Outlander the Musical’s website:
…Allan is absolutely delighted to have joined the Outlander universe and hopes he can live up to the expectations and fluttering hearts that Jamie’s words have set over the years – if all else fails, he is at least a 6’4″ redhead who regularly wears a kilt and whose nose is slightly too long…so at least he’s got that part of Jamie covered!
I thought it would be nice to get Allan’s perspective on his experience with Outlander/JAMMF, as well as get to know the non-Outlander side of him (he’s been keeping busy, whether working on projects in Egypt, Turkey, or home in bonny Scotland…
Thanks to Outlander the Musical, you have the distinct honor of being the original “Jamie Fraser” in a production setting; knowing what you know now about the popularity/success of the series, would you have portrayed him any differently if you had the chance?
We were in the studio recording barely a couple of weeks after my audition. I am incredibly proud of the finished product and I truly believe we did the story and characters justice. However, if there was anything I would’ve done differently I guess it would’ve been to have had a bit more time to research the whole Outlander universe.
I felt I had a good understanding of Jamie and where he was in his journey in each of the songs in the musical—what I didn’t know though was just how massive the Outlander series really was and how incredibly fanatical it’s readers are.
It’s been an amazing journey for me but, for the first few months, I was genuinely shocked at just how many people suddenly knew who I was and had such strong opinions (both good and bad) on me as Jamie.
(He’s not kidding about Outlander readers being fanatical, and having strong opinions regarding him as Jamie; by and large he has been well received by Outlander fans, though he has had his (un)fair share of criticism.
I recall a specific instance last year when, on Herself’s Facebook wall, some incredibly rude and insensitive comments were made about his physical appearance, respective to his resemblance to Jamie. Mass bickering ensued and the whole debacle left many of us in the Outlander community with a bad taste in our mouths.
But Allan took it all in stride. Check out his classy response:
“It’s just as well I’m a polite and even-tempered chap really, isn’t it? I COULD go through the images of each person who has posted mindless negativity and dissect everything that is wrong with their appearance and throw out random character assassinations purely on that basis—but thankfully, my mother raised me better than that.”)
Other than that, I kinda wish I known I was going to be portraying Jamie far enough in advance not to dye my hair purple a few weeks before my audition and therefore having to sport what was basically a crew cut for the concert performances and photo shoots…
Here is Allan as Jamie with ‘The Crew Cut:’
Here is what Allan’s hair is capable of, lol:
His answer to this next question really took me by surprise—not what I was expecting him to say at all.
This might be highly controversial but the character I find the most fascinating is actually none other than “Black Jack” Jonathan Randall. I’m not sure how easy it would be to pick a “best personality trait” but he is definitely a character that intrigues me every time he appears.
As a reader, I find everything about him incredibly uncomfortable but I’ve always been the sort of person who is deeply fascinated by slightly deranged/damaged individuals. Without such an incredibly well written anti-hero, Jamie probably wouldn’t have captured everyone’s heart quite so readily.
I guess, at heart, I’m just the nerdy kid who roots for the bad guy…
I once did a short film in which I played a Hitman who was sent to kill someone for cheating on his girlfriend; just when the Hitman was about to pull the trigger, he suddenly broke down in floods of tears…and it transpired that, just that very evening, his own girlfriend had thrown him a ‘surprise’ birthday party, but as soon as she had jumped out from the dark to surprise him, his killer instincts had set in and he shot her in the head before realising what was going on.
That was one truly messed up mindset to try to get into to shoot a movie…
I also once played a psychotically deranged Glasgow gangster who constantly got into blazing rows with his brother…despite the fact that his brother had been dead for 10 years! Now THAT was a lot of fun…
In the play Laquearia, I played the Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett and really enjoyed finding what little video and audio recordings there are of him and tried to give a faithful performance of him both physically and vocally.
Challenges like that are what make this business so fascinating and (when you get it right) rewarding for me.
His dedication and humility are refreshing; it’s wonderful that he truly enjoys what he does for a living because we the audience reap the benefits. Specifically I was thrilled to learn of another, separate connection to the Outlander Universe…
July 2013 was a monumental month for Outlander fans, in more ways than one. First, when it was leaked that Sam Heughan was cast as Jamie; Allan Tweeted this:
Well, from one “Jamie” to another, I’d like to wish @Heughan every success in the Starz series! Oh and you lot, be gentle with him…
— Allan Scott-Douglas (@AlScottDouglas) July 6, 2013
He’s a class act, that Allan! And, he had some good news of his own to share (from his Facebook wall, July 3rd):
Well, now that all the contracts and various legal forms have come through (and since Diana herself has already mentioned it on Twitter), I think I’m safe to now officially announce that I am delighted to have been chosen to read Diana’s short story “Virgins” for Random House Audiobooks.“Virgins” is one of 21 stories which have been selected for inclusion in an upcoming anthology called “Dangerous Women”—which is being put together by none other than Mr. George R.R. Martin, of ‘Game Of Thrones’ fame!! The anthology and it’s audiobook version are due for release in December. To say I am excited would be something of an understatement! This is an anthology featuring work by some of the world’s finest sci-fi and fantasy novelists and will feature a host of very well-known actors lending their voices to the audio versions—along with little old me!Even more humbling was the fact that a prominent Game Of Thrones actor was offered to Diana to read “Virgins” but she felt I was better suited and Random House have bent over backwards to get me on board! Still a few logistical issue to iron out but I’m hoping to get the recording done by early September. Thank you all so much for all your support—I remain utterly bemused that so many people have taken an interest in my career but I appreciate every single one of you and hope there are many more exciting announcements to share with you all in the future…
You KNOW I couldn’t wait to ask him about THAT!
Working on Virgins, for it’s inclusion in the “Dangerous Women,” anthology being compiled by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, was a truly amazing experience! Hooking up, via Skype, with the director Fred in LA was incredible and the whole process was just so much fun!
It was also very interesting for me personally having to read as Ian, as well Jamie, as Ian was a character I hadn’t had any experience of up to that point.
I really can’t wait for everyone to hear the finished product and just hope I can live up to the very high standards Davina Porter sets with the main Outlander audiobooks.
Well we can’t wait to hear it too! Diana Gabaldon said on her Facebook wall today that “Dangerous Women” anthology will be released on December 3rd, so hopefully the audio version will be available at the same time. I think I’ll have to buy both, just to hear Allan’s narration! What about you?
Follow Allan on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AllanScottDouglasFans
Follow Allan on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/AlScottDouglas
BONUS: From Allan’s Facebook page (a snippet of his narration skills,which are verra nice I might add):
Howdy folks! Here’s a wee 90 second free preview of the radio drama adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling story “The Black Cat” which I recorded earlier this year. The full version is available for just $1.99 on iTunes. Something to tide you all over until ‘Virgins’ is realised… :-)