It turns out that it wasn’t just the famously passionate fan base of Outlander that sparked interest in Scotland, the key mindset of both Diana Gabaldon’s beloved novels and her Starz TV series adaptation, in fact, the cast and Scots were Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish are so obsessed with the history, landscape and culture of their homeland that the couple co-designed and produced a new series for the network that takes them around the country in a motorhome

Heughan, who alongside Caitriona Balfe as 18th-century heartbreaker Jamie Fraser Performing in Outlander in the 20th century, originally conceived of Men in Kilts: A Road Trip with Sam and Graham, which premieres on Sunday as a podcast on Starz (McTavish says he pretended to know what that was) it quickly became clear that the project needs a visual component

“I wanted to develop something around the Scottish Highlands and the Clans and Tartans,” says Heughan, who began conversations with McTavish, his co-star in Outlander seasons 1, 2 and 5, in early 2019 while both were in Los Angeles “Obviously while working on Outlander I saw that people were interested in Scotland and the history of Scotland. And I love that part of Outlander too. When I got back to Scotland I realized:” I work with some of the best crews in Scotland and know the best locations What is stopping us? “I put a crew together and funded them and put Graham on a plane and we just did it”

The first shooting took place in September 2019 The actors and their small crew worked weekends around Heughan’s “Outlander” plan, using this video to create a pilot that they introduced to multiple networks, including Starz, who connected McTavish, Heughan and their production partner Alex Norouzi with Boardwalk Pictures

“We were very conscious that we didn’t want to be just an Outlander spin-off.” It obviously has to provide context – it’s why I and Graham know each other, and it’s why I do I’m here, “says Heughan.” But we’ve set out to do our own show “

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The majority of the series’ eight themed episodes were filmed over three weeks in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic, production managed to hit a sweet spot after the UK”Men in Kilts” was one of the first productions to go live under the new COVID-19 filming protocols, and it helped that the series was structured as a road trip, with the two actors traveling around Scotland in a funky motor home, the Heughan most of the time of the shoot was actually driving.While the locations and guests were agreed in advance, most of the action is off the shelf

“We knew where we were going, we knew who we were going to meet, we knew what we were going to see and why we were interested,” explains Kevin Johnston, who directed the episode. “But there is a documentary Ton and I didn’t mean to bring out the guys too much. They are really charming, they are really good and I think if we told them what to do too much it just wouldn’t be that interesting. Other people went to Scotland, others have done travel shows but no one has these two and their chemistry ”

“Men in Kilts” is a companion piece to McTavish and Heughan’s 2020 book, Clanlands: Whiskey, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other, which delves into the history and culture presented on the show, both aiming at a nuanced version To present Scotland and to highlight what makes the country and its people unique

“I wanted to demystify the romance of Scotland a little,” explains McTavish. “Modern Scotland is very forward-looking I think history is great and I’m particularly interested in it, but when I look at Scotland now I see a really vibrant European Nation A nation connected to the world ”

While “Men in Kilts” is not explicitly political, the mention of Scotland’s Europeanity underscores the series’s underlying connection to issues such as Brexit, the UKLeaving the European Union January 1 and Scottish Independence Both actors were vocal campaigners for the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and want their homeland to have a voice and identity of its own in the modern world

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“I think the stories we tell and the love letter we give Scotland with the show hopefully speak for our own views on independence without beating a drum over it,” says McTavish. “Scotland is a place that to celebrate if you are Scottish or not and that to be very proud of. I’m not nationalistic in the sense that I think we’re better than someone else I just think it’s about being proud of being your own country and where you are from and having a sense of connectedness with it.That was really what Sam and I wanted to convey, was our personal sense of pride and we wanted the history of Scotland and what it has to offer , share ”

“I’m not a politician,” adds Heughan. “I am careful when actors are asked about their politics or attitudes – but why not?” Especially when we do a show about Scotland and Scottish heritage and culture it’s something to be proud of Nationalism is not a good thing in my opinion, and we have seen the rise in America. But actually Scottish nationalism is a little different. It’s not about closing borders, it’s about being open to the rest of the world and not being insular be ”

McTavish sees recent calls for a second referendum on independence as giving Scotland “the chance to shape its own destiny as a nation.” Heughan was more direct on Twitter in December, responding to news that the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would push for independence again, writing: “Time to Escape Ruled by BuffoonsDespite very real political disagreements in Scotland, the percentage of Scottish voters who opposed Brexit was 62%, compared with 48% in the USAK.” Overall, and according to surveys, support for independence is around 54% – “Men in Kilts” is light-hearted, vicarious fun. Although some non-written travel shows feel like parachute journalism, this is like two guys that you take home for a laugh

“A lot of people can’t travel right now, and in a way, I would like,” Should we put people on a travel show when they can’t travel? It only makes it worse, ”Heughan admits,“ But the gist of it is that it’s about the travel and what’s right on your doorstep. Instead of having to go somewhere far away, you can literally find a travel companion and go on a road trip and look at the history around you ”

“It was a tremendous laugh,” adds McTavish, who confirms that there have been discussions about a second season. “This is one of the things we both wanted – the feeling of two people really traveling together go because they want to have a good time It just so happened that we brought a film crew with us. We would have done it anyway, to be honest ”

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Men in Kilts

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Source: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2021-02-14/men-in-kilts-starz-outlander-sam-heughan-graham-mctavish-brexit-indyref