How Sam Heughan Became A Charming Psychopath For SAS: Red Notice - Exclusive

In the new action-thriller SAS: Red Notice, Outlander actor Sam Heughan stars as Special Forces operative Tom Buckingham. The movie, directed by Magnus Martens, offers viewers plenty of adrenaline surges as a hostage situation on a passenger train unfolds. A group of cold-blooded mercenaries called the Black Swans leads the hijacking and attempts to get the British government to meet their demands. Despite their strategic and astute plan, however, the group didn't count on Tom Buckingham being on the roster of travelers.

When it becomes clear to the riders and crew that they are under attack, Buckingham proves he's just as driven and unflappable as the Black Swans, immediately swinging into action without a second thought. Heughan gained a lot of character insight from Andy McNab, the author who wrote Red Notice, the book that inspired the movie. McNab is a bestselling author, and his many years as a soldier in the British Army help him transfer real-life experiences to the page. Heughan took advantage of McNab's on-set presence to help him get the best grasp of Tom Buckingham possible.

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Tom Buckingham's ability to never be ruffled in any situation is a substantial part of what drew Heughan to the role. In both his work and his personal life, Buckingham moves with a combination of grace and determination. He's so steady that you wonder when — or even if — his impenetrable wall might crack. Getting a sense of Buckingham's demeanor is something the actor credits to working with author Andy McNab.

As he spent time with McNab, Heughan realized how much Tom was based on the author's real-life personality and experiences. Having this in-person understanding helped him bring Tom to life. "At a point, I realized I was playing [McNab]. In social situations, he's learned to be charming and charismatic, and that's what a psychopath does. They know how to manipulate people," Heughan shared with Looper in an exclusive chat to talk all things SAS: Red Notice. "Having Andy on the set and the phone, that gave me the way into the character, for sure."

It was through watching McNab that allowed Heughan to slip more easily into Buckingham's mind. "On the surface, this is a fun action movie, and that was something I wanted to do," Heughan said. "The added element of not only working with Andy, but [also] having him as a fascinating character study helped me because Tom Buckingham is hard to get your head around."

Watch Sam Heughan become charming psychopath Tom Buckingham in SAS: Red Notice, set for release on on-demand platforms Tuesday, March 16.