Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh and Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser (Sony Pictures Television/Starz)
Duncan Lacroix has delighted “Outlander” fans all season long with his portrayal of Jamie Fraser’s right hand man, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser.
As a surrogate dad for the all-grown-up lad, Murtagh has not only had Jamie’s back, but he’s offered him support and guidance (memorably sharing a special moment ahead of Jamie’s wedding to Claire).
Duncan told Access Hollywood he originally auditioned for a different role in the show, one that “wasn’t a good fit.” But the people behind the show liked what they saw because they came back to Duncan and asked him to read for Murtagh.
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“I kind of read the description of the character as ‘dark, kind of brooding, hawk-like.’ I thought, ‘Yeah I can do that,'” Duncan laughed, as he spoke with Access over the phone from Scotland. “I did the self-tape in my flat with a friend of mine on his iPhone and sent it away. I didn’t really expect to hear anything back, or if I did, I thought, you know, there’d be kind of rounds of interviews. But yeah, a week later, I got offered the role, which was huge, and [I was] whisked off to Scotland that very week.”
With Duncan’s Murtagh about to join Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jenny (Laura Donnelly) in the search for the missing Jamie Fraser, Access decided it was about time we spoke with the actor playing the marvelous Murtagh.
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AccessHollywood.com: Apparently you had a small little role in ‘Game of Thrones’?
Duncan Lacroix: That was – small is an overstatement, I think. Yeah, it was just a day job, I think. I can’t remember – was it Season 2, when Jaime Lannister’s being hauled through the mud… and I think I was in the background somewhere. If you pause it for about one minute, I think you might see my face. That was the extent of that.
Access: It’s a really big show, and you get to say that you were a part of it, just like Tobias Menzies.
Duncan: It was, yeah. It was my first big job when I finally arrived in Dublin and got an agent. It was a great laugh.
Access: What did they have you audition with for Murtagh? Because obviously your character doesn’t actually speak a lot. That’s part of his charm.
Duncan: It was the scene, I think, where I’m explaining to Claire in Castle Leoch when Jamie’s coming in for The Gathering, and I’m explaining kind of the ins and outs to Claire. And I think Ira [Steven Behr], one of the producers — I think he said I got it from my eyebrows within about two seconds apparently, so I didn’t even have to do much acting.
Access: You know what though, the expressions are as important, I think, to every character, as how they say their words. I’ve got to ask though, kind of a funny question – was one of the requirements, ‘must be able to grow giant mountain man beard’?
Duncan: Yeah… I’d already had one kind of on the go because I’d had a small part in ‘Vikings’ as well, so I had one on the go from that, and yeah, who knew. I was able to grow a massive, bushy beard within about a month, so that was a big bonus.
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Access: Was there a brief that they gave you guys on the Scottish accent for those of you that aren’t Scottish?
Duncan: Yeah, well, we got a dialect coach — Carol Ann [Crawford], who’s brilliant — and we kind of sat down, well I did, sat down intensively with her, when we had a bootcamp, before [Season] 1 and like a lot of my time was spent with her and Àdhamh [Ó Broin], the Gaelic coach. Yeah, I mean, the Highland accent’s kind of, you know, when an Englishman tries to do a Scottish accent, it’s usually the broad Glaswegian accent, but the Highland accent is a lot more mellower. It’s kind of nice. [I spent] lots of time with [Carol Ann] and she’s always there on set as well to pick me up when I’m mucking it all up.
Access: Tell me about the Gaelic though – a lot of people are very interested in it. Was it tough for you?
Duncan: The Gaelic, I mean, originally, Àdhamh was – he’s just one of the most enthusiastic people you ever want to meet, and he was trying to teach us the whole language, which was obviously too much, so it’s just a question of breaking it down phonetically. Actually, the very first take I did I think, was when we went into the cottage with Claire… I was kind of so nervous ’cause I think it was one of my first scenes that I [gobbled] the Gaelic, but apparently, what I was saying actually made sense anyway.
Access: That’s awesome.
Duncan: Yeah, I was kind of improvising in Gaelic without even knowing it.
Access: I spoke with Sam [Heughan] last year and one of the things he said to me is that you guys — in order to sort of make that Jamie/Murtagh connection — you guys always try and either see each other in scenes or speak Gaelic to each other. Is that right?
Duncan: Yeah, yeah. Well there’s a lot of kind of I think non-verbal communication we kind of get in, in the scenes. … Yeah, it just kind of adds to that bond we’ve got as characters.
Access: On screen, you guys have a lot of chemistry and you feel the history between these two characters. Did you kind of have an instant chemistry with Sam when you met him? Because you really feel that between the two of you as actors when you’re watching it and that doesn’t happen all the time.
Duncan: That’s great to hear. I think it’s just very hard not to have an affinity with Sam. He’s just such a lovely guy, you know what I mean? Same as Caitriona, they’re very easy actors to work with. … There actually was a scene that we did quite early on, which I think got cut out in one of the episodes, which kind of set up a nice intimacy between us, [which] is when we got back to Castle Leoch after the ‘Rent’ episode, and because we filmed those out of sequence, it was one the first kind of big scenes we had together. … He’s a very good actor at listening, and yeah, I think it just comes along naturally in those moments. I can’t really explain it. There’s nothing we really work on, I think it was just natural.
“Outlander” continues Saturday at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.
— Jolie Lash
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Copyright © 2023 by NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be republished, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.