Courtney’s Comments: You know I saw these photos of Sam all over SM over a year ago, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the style, so I never looked further. The interview is fantastic. If you haven’t read it… enjoy!
EMMA BROWN: Do you remember your first visit to New York?
HEUGHAN: My first visit was when I took two years out after school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I was working a lot and I traveled—I flew to San Francisco, and traveled down the West Coast by bus, down to New Orleans, down to Mexico, and back up the East Coast. New York was the end of my journey. I had no money left and I was very lost. I had enough money for one night in a hostel and I didn’t know what to do. I thought, “I’m going to spend that money, I’m going up the Empire State Building.” And that’s what I did. I went up there, saw the views, and I was like, “This is amazing.” Val Kilmer was there, for some reason.
BROWN: That’s so random.
HEUGHAN: Yeah. Then I came back down and I was like, “I really now need to work out what I’m going to do.” I went back to the hostel and there was a note left there for me from one of my best friends back in the U.K. Somehow he had found out I was staying there and was like, “Come and stay with me and my family.” I was like, “Phew.” But I’ve been here a lot. I was here for the marathon; it got canceled. I trained for it and then Sandy happened.
BROWN: When did you decide to apply for drama school?
HEUGHAN: I was always interested in it. I remember I was on a boat in Pensacola and was just feeling very pensive—I thought, when I go back to U.K., I’m going to explore this more. So I went back and I joined the Lyceum Youth Theatre and it was just wonderful. I was there with them for a year. We did workshops. I got put into a couple of productions through the Lyceum in Edinburgh—just as “Spear Carrier Number Two” or whatever—but it really gave me an understanding [of acting]. I’d always gone to the theater as a child every month to see whatever was on. I think that’s where the passion for it came from.
BROWN: Do you come from quite an artistic family?
HEUGHAN: I do, yes. My mum is an artist. I guess that helps; she’s very supportive. She did warn me that this is not an easy career. I think anyone in the arts, you’re self-employed, it’s so difficult.
BROWN: Are you really named after Samwise Gamgee?
HEUGHAN: [laughs] Well, yes. On my birth certificate it’s just Sam, but my brother does have a name from The Lord of the Rings. It’s Cirdan—he was the shipwright at the end of Lord of the Rings that takes them across to wherever it is they all go when the elves leave the earth. My family were pretty big hippies.
BROWN: Did you identify with Samwise when you read the books as a child?
HEUGHAN: It always was like, “I don’t want to be that one!” ‘Cause he’s so nice and honorable and good, and I wanted to be Bilbo. I wanted to be more dangerous, less dependable. It’s funny though, as a child you’re already thinking, “Who do I want to be and how do I see myself portrayed?”