Saskatchewan

'I've never been in something of this scale before': Regina actor scores role on popular TV show Outlander

A local actor has landed a role in the popular TV show Outlander. Sera-Lys McArthur was born in and grew up in and around Regina and began acting here as well.

Regina's Sera-Lys McArthur played a Mohawk healer in latest episode

Sera-Lys McArthur in her trailer on the set of Outlander. The Regina actor appeared in the episode of the hit Starz TV show that aired on Jan. 20. (Submitted by Sera-Lys McArthur)

A Regina actor says she's relieved she can finally talk about her work on a hit TV series — something she's been keeping a lid on for months.

Sera-Lys McArthur landed a role in the popular TV show Outlander — but she had to keep the details under wraps until her episode aired on Jan. 20.

"I've never been in something of this scale before and now I'm also in this age of social media," she said. "The way things pop off is, like, very instant."

McArthur was born in Regina, and grew up in and around the city, where she also began her acting career. She had a recurring role on CBC TV's Arctic Air, and has also performed in theatre productions across the country.

Her episode of the Starz series — which centres around a World War II-era nurse who finds herself transported back in time — aired last Sunday.

The current season — the fourth for the series — is set in Colonial-era North Carolina. McArthur played a Mohawk healer whose relationship with the father of her child mirrors a relationship between two other main characters in the show.

McArthur on set with the baby who played her character's child. (Submitted by Sera-Lys McArthur)

Johiehon, McArthur's character, only speaks Mohawk and French. McArthur grew up taking French in school, but had no experience with the Mohawk language. She only had a matter of weeks to learn her script. 

"As an Indigenous actor, we're all very often asked to take on languages that we don't fluently speak ," McArthur said. 

"While the languages that I've taken on in the past are very different from Mohawk, you do gain some confidence and just going in and learning the nuances."

Regina actor Sera-Lys McArthur recently appeared in an episode of the extremely popular TV show "Outlander." She joined Stefani on the phone from New York to tell her about the experience. 10:44

McArthur said the show also hired around 100 Indigenous extras to play the roles of the Mohawk people, and flew them to Scotland to film. 

"It just felt like a lot of due diligence was taken, and you could trust people and you could have a good time once you're out there," she said. 

While McArthur said keeping her work on the show a secret was hard, the impact it has had on the viewers made it worthwhile. She said she was getting Instagram messages and tweets almost immediately after the episode aired. 

"It just feels really good that your work has has affected so many people in such [a], I guess you could say, positive [way] — even though everyone says I made them cry."

McArthur, bottom right, with some of her co-stars on set in Scotland. (Submitted by Sera-Lys McArthur)

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition