The Hallmark Movie Sam Heughan Starred In Before Outlander

Global audiences will recognize Sam Heughan from the historical fantasy series "Outlander," in which he plays Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser (per IMDb). Having premiered in 2014, "Outlander" has provided fans with six seasons full of action, emotion, and stunning cinematography — and more seasons are believed to be on the way (via Town & Country). Heughan was reportedly cast as Jamie just four days after auditions started. But before he rose to prominence portraying the charismatic Highlander, he appeared in a variety of lesser-known films and TV shows.

In September 2022, Heughan paid tribute to the BBC Scottish soap opera "River City" which was celebrating its 20th anniversary (via Edinburgh News). Heughan made his acting debut in the show back in 2005, playing a Livingston FC footballer called Andrew Murray. Die-hard "Outlander" fans have dug deep into the actor's career history and found that he made appearances in a few more surprising projects, including a Hallmark movie where Heughan played the dashing romantic lead — a glimpse into his future role as the hunky Jamie Fraser.

Sam Heughan's early career and Outlander success

Sam Heughan is a formally trained actor, graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (via Hallmark Channel). As he completed his education, there were signs he was destined to make it big; in 2003, he was a nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performance. After making his debut on "River City," Heughan took part in a variety of theatrical performances in Scotland. "The Twits," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and "The Pearl Fisher" were just some of the stage productions he was part of — according to Hallmark Channel — in addition to Shakespeare classics such as "Hamlet", "Macbeth," and "Romeo and Juliet."

In an Instagram interview with fellow actor Noel Clarke, Heughan opened up about his struggles at the beginning of his career, when he was taking jobs in hospitality. He referred to himself as being "penniless" while living in North London, hoping to make a living from acting. However, the success of "Outlander" changed Heughan's life. Not only was he making a living from acting, but he also played a part in showcasing his homeland on the world stage. Speaking at the BAFTA Scotland Awards in 2018, Heughan stated that he was honored to bring "Scotland to the rest of the world" (via The Scotsman).

But just two years before he started shooting the pilot for "Outlander," Heughan's career looked like it was going to traverse down a different path when he starred in a Hallmark film.

Which Hallmark movie did Sam Heughan star in?

Fans might have missed Sam Heughan in 2011's "A Princess for Christmas" (via IMDb). The film tells the story of Jules, a woman who receives an invitation from a relative to visit a European castle for Christmas. There, she falls in love with Heughan's Prince Ashton. The movie was filmed on location in Romania at Peles Castle, which was framed as the lavish Castlebury Hall.

In a 2021 interview with Parade, Heughan admitted that he still loves "A Princess for Christmas" but feels that he's grown a lot as an actor since then. He also cherished the chance to work with legendary actor Roger Moore: "He is one of the most famous Bonds and it was incredible. All of those jobs are the precursor to what I am doing now. I met great people." Interestingly, Heughan also got to work with his future "Outlander" co-stars on the project, Miles Richardson and Tim Downie.

According to E! News, Heughan auditioned several times for "Game of Thrones." He reportedly tried out for the roles of Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell but was unsuccessful. He also almost starred as James Bond in 2006's "Casino Royale." In hindsight, it may have been a blessing that Heughan was turned down from earlier auditions — the rejection paved the way for his journey to "Outlander" which has turned him into an international star and given him the opportunity to represent his beloved Scotland.