Kevin McKidd has gone from playing a time-traveling reporter on NBC’s Journeyman to operating as a troubled trauma surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy.
But the one thing Seattle Grace’s Owen Hunt hasn’t done is procure a McNickname for his character on the ABC show. “They haven’t given me one,” McKidd tells PEOPLE.com with a laugh at a VH1 Save The Music Foundation benefit in San Pedro, Calif. “I’m waiting for that! Some people call me G.I. Joe, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten so far.”
Though he couldn’t divulge any show secrets, McKidd hints that Hunt and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) will develop a close bond as the season progresses. “It’s interesting what happens with my character and O’Malley in the latter half of the season. I kind of connect with him and see potential in him in a field that even he hadn’t thought about,” says McKidd. “So he really comes into his own in this season and I help him realize he has a natural gift for a certain type of surgery.”
And Grey’s is also finding creative ways to handle costar Chyler Leigh’s pregnancy, which isn’t being written into the storyline. “There’s a lot of scenes, you’ll notice, where there are two guys standing in front of her and she’ll be kind of peeking around,” he says. “That’s how we’re getting around it, in a very old-school way. She’s really showing now. She’s looking really healthy and really happy.” – Jessica Herndon
Since the moment Kevin McKidd walked onto Grey's Anatomy, his swashbuckling Iraq-war medic Dr. Owen Hunt has had us swooning for him almost as much as Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) was. Their star-crossed, post-traumatic-stress-disorder-impaired love affair has kept the show afloat even as it drifted through sex-with-ghosts storylines and a barrage of ill-advised guest stars. And now, as the drama suddenly rights its course heading into the final stretch of season 5, things will get even more complicated for Seattle Grace's hottest new couple. The Scottish actor (last seen on Journeyman) talked to us about Cristina and Owen's tough times ahead -- and what's to come (SPOILER ALERT!!) in the season's remaining bombshell-laden (weddings, therapy, brain surgery, etc.) weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So this week features some pretty serious developments between Cristina and Owen.
KEVIN McKIDD: It's scary, what happens. Basically it's a night terror. He's unconscious and asleep and he starts to hurt Cristina. That’s his rock-bottom moment. So he starts to reach out for help. He starts to go into therapy and reach out to people like Derek Shepherd [Patrick Dempsey] to solve this thing. Derek at some point says, Look, this is treatable. With the proper treatment and therapy, you’re not trapped. I think that’s so important to talk about, with so many vets now. There’s such a stigma attached to admitting to something like that, and I think it’s important to discuss it in such a high-profile way.
How did you feel when you first took this role, knowing you'd be dealing with such a touchy issue?
We’ve worked on making sure this isn’t sort-of a fluffy representation of somebody who has this problem. He’s a good guy. He’s just deeply damaged right now. [When I started on the show], we knew he was a great trauma surgeon, and we knew he was going to get involved with Cristina. We didn’t know how much we were going to deal with the aftermath of being in the Iraq War situation. It was going to be more romantic then. But we realized pretty quickly that there was a lot there. It’s a really interesting opportunity for acting moments, and to follow the romance into that.
Do you think they really love each other, or are they just sort of clinging to each other for emotional support?
I think they’re really in love. I think Owen—I’m not speaking for Sandra, but I think Owen pretty much in the season premiere, Cupid’s arrow shot him in the heart when he saw her across the room. Something happened. And this whole season is about them fighting through all this crap so they can get back to that thing. What’s cool about it is they’re both such intellectual, badass people in their work. It’s cool to see that happen to these people who are so straight ahead, showing each other their vulnerable sides and not showing them to anyone else. And she’s such a good actor. I think we’re really bouncing off each other well.
Will this poor couple ever just get to have sex like everyone else at Seattle Grace?
I think they will. Just keep watching. A lot happens this week. I think they’ve drawn that one out a lot, and I know people are getting frustrated. I think it’s good because they’ve really connected on a mental and emotional level. And now I think it’s time they connect physically.
What's up with the rest of the season? There are so many rumors about weddings, and Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight leaving...
You’re only just scratching the surface [in episodes that have aired] with where this Izzie [Katherine Heigl] thing is going. All I know is they’re in every episode. She’s not dying, or at least she hasn’t yet. What I can tell you about T.R.'s character is Hunt sees something in him that no one has seen before. Because his character’s been kind of a dark horse this season. There’s an event that happens and I realize there’s a lot more to him, that he has a set of skills that maybe he isn’t even aware of. Hunt starts to mentor him in a way that gets really interesting. So that’s cool to see.
What has it been like, joining such a huge series with a history of off-screen drama?
I’ve always joined a show on day 1 -- and on top of that it’s a hit show, so I was expecting the worst. But the transition has been really nice. It might have been different a few years ago in the middle of the hoopla. But now everyone seems to have settled in; they’re all thankful to be there. I was nervous when I started. I didn’t really know the show. I watched the first two seasons because [creator] Shonda [Rhimes] wanted me to, but she said she didn’t want me to watch seasons 3 and 4 because she didn’t want Owen Hunt to know about the recent past. So I watched some to get a feel for the show, but I don’t know what happened with whoever and whoever, which is the way my character is.
After the incident this week, what's ahead for Cristina and Owen?
He’ll be focusing on himself for a while. He and Cristina will very reluctantly realize they have to separate, which is hard because they’re really, really involved with each other. But they know they have to have some time apart. It’s going to be pretty emotional. He’s having to heal himself. They’re so clever, these writers. Some episodes you think it’s so light and fluffy, but they’re ratcheting up the emotional stuff a lot in the last part of the season. And that’s good television. At the end of this season there’s going to be a big curveball for Owen and Cristina that neither of them see coming. Just as he starts to get over his thing, something else happens. Which is good and bad. It’s like, Oh my God, this is big. It will be interesting to see how it leads into next season.
TV Watch: 15 Highlights From the Week Ending March 26 Grey's Anatomy Recap: http://www.ew.com
Cristina and Owen took it to the next level, in more ways than one, Izzie started her treatment journey, and Derek got back on the horse and stepped up his game with Meredith
For starters, I was heaving sobs in under three minutes, despite the fact that I was well-prepared for Owen's post-traumatic-stress-disorder-induced sleep-choking of Cristina. Callie heard the commotion and broke it up, otherwise things could've gone much worse. And that's just the point. At the risk of getting all public service announcement here, I truly believe this is a fantastic story line to tackle — the phenomenon of post-war night terrors that can endanger your bed partner is very, very real (my Vietnam-vet dad went through this for years, when I was too young to appreciate the strain on both him and my mom), and few people realize (or really want to think about) what soldiers go through once they get home. It helps, in this case, to have a pair of sublime actors handling this sensitive topic. As good as they've been at amping up the romance crackling between Owen and Cristina, Kevin McKidd and Sandra Oh brought the Emmy consideration tonight from scene 1. — Jennifer Armstrong
After A STRING of lauded but less visible roles ("Rome," "Journeyman"), actor KEVIN MCKIDD has joined the clan of high-profile Scots -- Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor -- at the heart of Hollywood. Playing Iraq war veteran Owen Hunt, he's now a figure on ABC's doc drama "Grey's Anatomy" (Thu., 9pm), even snagging the heart of standoffish Cristina.
EXPRESS: After a lot of movie and theater roles, how do you like "Grey's"?
» MCKIDD: I'm really enjoying myself. The cast is great, and I'm very interested in Owen Hunt- he's had an interesting past and is very complex.
» EXPRESS: Do you put a lot of research into developing a character like him?
» MCKIDD: It's my responsibility as an actor to bring an authenticity to the role, and I feel the weight of that very much. Serving in Iraq is such a big part of Owen's character, so I made sure to interview surgeons and read books by doctors who had been there.
» EXPRESS: Viewers must really respond to your character's situation.
» MCKIDD: I definitely seem to be getting the biggest reactions with this role because it's very relevant for right now. It's not all about Iraq, though: People also come up to me in Trader Joe's and ask, "When are you [and Cristina] going to get it on?"
» EXPRESS: Anything you can tell us?
» MCKIDD: It's been a rocky road, but Cristina and Owen are so similar in many ways. Cupid has shot an arrow through them, and I think they're really finding it tough to be apart.
» EXPRESS: Despite the seriousness of your character, is it a fun place to work?
» MCKIDD: It really is, but working on a TV show involves long days in a small space where you might not see sunlight for 15 hours at a time. It's almost like working at an actual hospital. Maybe that's what helps it feel so authentic.
» EXPRESS: Is all the equipment on the show real, or is it all an elaborate setup?
» MCKIDD:We have a medical adviser on set who makes sure we have the very latest machines. In fact, I damaged my calf muscle a few days ago when I was working out. The adviser thought I might have a blood clot, so she picked up a machine and scanned me right then and there on the set. Turns out it's OK.
» EXPRESS: What about the surgeries?
» MCKIDD: We are really drilled on how to make them believable- it's not someone else's hands that go in there for those shots. Those are the most challenging scenes, because not only do you have to do the dialogue, you need to do this incredibly technical procedure along with it.
» EXPRESS: They do a pretty realistic job of making the medical part very gory.
» MCKIDD: We have these crazy cadavers with internal organs that are made of latex and filled with strange goo. It's all synthetic but completely stomach-turning.
» EXPRESS: Your wardrobe must be all scrubs.
» MCKIDD: There's definitely a lot of blue going on. Actually, they only give you one set of scrubs to wear the entire season. I think I've been in the same costume for six months now. I have to say, they're the most comfortable things you'll ever wear in your life. It's like working every day in pajamas.
» EXPRESS: You're originally from the Scottish Highlands. How are you finding L.A.?
» MCKIDD: I moved here from Europe about 18 months ago. I actually really like it here- people are so friendly- but the lager is just no good.
When Kevin McKidd wishes to remind himself of the bluntly violent experiences that inform the behaviour of his latest character, he retreats to his trailer. From a pile of books, he chooses one of several diary-style autobiographies written by army trauma surgeons and falls back into the horror of treating grievously injured colleagues and friends in the midst of a battle zone. “You have to keep reminding yourself how bad it is for them,” he says, “and how proud they are of the men they manage to save.”
For McKidd’s latest role, he joins the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, the hugely successful American medical drama set in a Seattle hospital and now in its fifth season. He plays Owen Hunt, a military surgeon who was recently discharged from service in Iraq and carries a brooding sense of disquiet stemming from his battlefield experiences. In his first scene, he treats a patient outside the hospital by performing a tracheotomy using a ballpoint pen, a procedure that is jarringly brutal.
“The hospital staff are shocked, because it’s not sterile, it’s not protocol, and I say, ‘Well, I cleaned the pen with a handful of snow.’ The guy’s still alive, but because the pen is inserted with such force, it damages his windpipe and he suffers complications. These surgeons are coming back to civilian medicine and learning they don’t have to be so balls-to-the-wall, but it’s all this guy has known for four or five years.”
McKidd possesses a convincing capacity to provide both surface and depth. In researching his role, he spoke to a former army surgeon by conference call, collected a series of autobiographies and studied the acclaimed documentary Baghdad ER, detailing the work of surgeons away from the front line. With troops still serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, he feels a sense of responsibility to colour his performance with a vividness taken from stark reality.
Later in the series, his character relates a story from the battlefield of treating a fallen soldier. The victim was losing blood from so many wounds that Hunt instinctively hurled himself on top of the patient, to use his own body weight to stem the flow. It was a scene based on a real event. Battlefield surgeons work outside the realms of medical convention. In his conference call with the former army surgeon, McKidd was struck by his brusqueness.
“They’re the type who don’t suffer fools gladly, and I asked layman’s questions which he found hard to digest because they are so beyond the knowledge base that we’re on,” McKidd says. “He put up with me. They had to be very quick-thinking out there — the textbooks don’t apply when you’re on the battlefield. It’s only in the last couple of decades that medicine has gone to the front line.
“It used to be that many soldiers died on the way back to Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. So there’s a pride in these guys for the techniques they’ve developed to bring triage surgery right there. They’re pushing the boundaries out of necessity.”
Hunt’s brusque manner unsettles fellow male surgeons, although he becomes a love interest for one of the long-standing female characters, Dr Cristina Yang — a typical plot line for a show in which one male character is dubbed McDreamy and another McSteamy. Grey’s Anatomy is a gentle but keen observation of the tangled professional and personal lives of a group of wry, beautiful people. It lacks the gritty authenticity of ER, but is more polished and affirming than any UK medical drama.
The arrival of McKidd’s character brings a sense of darkness, an unsettling anxiety. In preparing for the role, he also sought the advice of an army liaison expert who works with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The tremors of the battlefield still agitate just below the surface of Hunt’s personality.
“Because this character represents these people, I thought I should do some thorough research,” he says. “I don’t want to get too lofty about it, because it’s a TV show and it’s entertainment, but it’s brave to put a character who’s suffering from post-traumatic trauma and is talking about a war that is still ongoing in a prime-time show. A lot of people suffer from post-traumatic stress and because of their pride, many suffer in silence. One of the biggest problems is getting people to open up and that’s what TV can do sometimes. I’ve had letters from people whose loved ones suffer from it and they’ve been complimentary.”
The commitment to his craft and the diffidence with which he seeks to undermine its potential for pomposity are accurate reflections of McKidd’s nature. He has spoken in the past of joining the Moray Youth Theatre group while growing up in Elgin because he was too fat to play football, and he once revealed that his mother sent him a diet plan from the Richard and Judy show. There is a cheerful lack of pretension to McKidd, a guileless maturity that grants him immunity from the sort of billowing ego that often inhabits his profession.
There is a sense, in considering his acting career, of fame being inclined to keep a watchful but aloof eye on his progress. He notoriously missed the photo-shoot for the iconic Trainspotting movie poster, to go on holiday with his girlfriend to Tunisia, and while fellow cast members such as Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle were bestowed with an immediate celebrity, McKidd subsequently worked as a barman and a bicycle courier to make ends meet. He even walked home in the rain from the film’s premiere because he did not have the cab fare in his pocket.
Over the past 12 years, he has steadily accumulated work, his list of roles reading like a catalogue of sombre dependability, from films such as Dog Soldiers and 16 Years of Alcohol to the television series North Square and The Virgin Queen. A critically acclaimed performance as Lucius Vorenus in Rome, the BBC/HBO drama series, brought McKidd a higher profile in America and resulted in him landing the leading role in Journeyman, a science-fiction series on NBC, 18 months ago. It was expected to run for five years, but the writers’ strike and modest ratings led to the show’s cancellation after 13 episodes, leaving McKidd with his wife, Jane, and children, Jospeh and Iona, living in a rented house in Hollywood and faced with an uncertain future, until he received the call from Grey’s Anatomy. At 35, fame has suddenly embraced him.
“Grey’s is a cultural phenomenon in America, and I didn’t realise that,” he says. “Patrick Dempsey said to me before I started, ‘Look, things are going to change for you,’ and I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. But he was right. The main place I notice it is standing in line in Ralph’s Supermarket and people stop me. Grey’s Anatomy is in the top five TV shows here every week. But this isn’t my first rodeo. I’d maybe be thrown if it were my first gig, but I’ve been doing this for 14 years now, and so far the attention’s been nice, because it’s all been positive.”
McKidd will return to the big screen later this year in Bunraku — “a spaghetti western meets a martial art film, with a lot of CGI on it” — and Bruno Heller, the writer and executive producer of Rome, is keen to make a film version of the programme. With Grey’s Anatomy filming for eight or nine months of the year, there is little room in which to exploit his growing recognition. “I’m taking meetings with people who are involved with the heads of studios and talking about something I could fit into,” he says.
But he has become accustomed to living for the moment in his career. After Trainspotting, he was offered an apprenticeship in cutting concrete on a building site, but that night his agent called to tell him of an audition and he kept faith with acting. Even now, he applies a humble logic to the contours of life in Los Angeles.
“Our life hasn’t changed that much,” he says. “We thought it would be very different. Between work, taking my kids to school and walking the dogs, there isn’t much time left in the day. As an actor, you’re like a circus performer: you put your tent up wherever anybody wants to see the show. As soon as that town gets sick of you, you’ve got to put the tent up somewhere else.” But for now, McKidd and his family are firmly established in LA.
"Everyone at home thought I was nuts for wanting to become an actor, reveals Kevin McKidd."
Source Daily Record
Jan 7, 2009
SCOTS actor Kevin McKidd says he shocked his family by turning to acting.
McKidd, 35, told US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres that locals in his home town of Elgin thought he was "nuts". McKidd, who stars in hit US medical drama Grey's Anatomy, also revealed his accent is so convincing that fans he meets don't believe he is really Scottish.
He said: "Where I'm from is basically famous for whisky and sheep and fishing. People become fishermen or plumbers or farmers there. My dad was a plumber. The biggest celebrity you can become in Scotland is a dentist."
McKidd said he is stopped by Americans who are so fooled by his US accent they are sure he must be from the States.
He said: "People are like, 'I can't believe you're from Scotland', which is flattering."
McKidd, who also starred in Trainspotting and TV megadrama Rome, added: "We get a lot of American TV in Scotland.
"So I was brought up on Cagney & Lacey, Dukes of Hazzard and all that stuff.
"I used to copy people's accents all the time."
Amatangelo, Amy. "Kevin McKidd plays a doc on front lines of love in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’."
source: Boston Herald
January 8, 2009.
Get ready for an adult relationship on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The ABC medical soap (Thursday night at 9 on WCVB, Ch. 5) is famous for its supply-closet liaisons. But Kevin McKidd, who joined the series this season as Dr. Owen Hunt, said his character’s romance with Cristina (Sandra Oh) will evolve slowly and maturely.
“Instead of just jumping into bed, they are going to get to know each other first. You’re going to see them struggle,” McKidd said. “There’s an obvious connection between the two of them. They don’t quite understand it themselves and Owen has all these issues, but there’s enough attraction there that they are going to struggle on through it. It’s not going to be an easy journey for them, but they have a desire to be together.”
The Scotland native’s work on HBO’s “Rome” and NBC’s “Journeyman” caught the eye of “Grey’s” executive producer Shonda Rhimes. McKidd welcomed the chance to play a trauma doctor who had served in the Iraq war. To prepare for the role, he talked to real-life trauma surgeons and read “On Call in Hell” by Richard Jadick to get a handle on his character’s perspective.
“Just the extremity of what these guys see and experience,” he said. “Trauma surgeons in a war zone have more traumatic injuries in one month than a trauma surgeon in a civilian hospital would have in a whole year. It’s very admirable work that these surgeons are doing out there.”
The show reunites McKidd with his “Made of Honor” co-star Patrick Dempsey.
“Patrick is a lot of fun,” McKidd said. “He takes it with a really great spirit. He keeps his energy up by having fun when the cameras aren’t rolling.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” has been in the news recently with talk of unhappy actors who want to quit. But McKidd said those reports don’t reflect the show he works on.
“It’s actually one of the healthiest, most fun sets I’ve been on in recent years,” he said. “Everybody is really great. It’s weird. It’s almost like there’s no correlation between the zeitgeist element you see in the press and the actual day-to-day. It’s a great show to work on and everybody is lovely.”
Next up, McKidd plays a criminal in the movie “Bunraku.” There’s still talk of a big-screen “Rome” reunion. Although his character Lucius appeared to have died in the finale, it was an elaborate plot to fool his enemies.
“I would love to go back and revisit that character,” he said. “Everything will hit the fan when Octavian finds out he’s been duped.”
Woo, Kelly. "12 Questions with Kevin McKidd." AOL's "Inside TV." 22 Nov. 2008.
No need for a new "Mc"-nickname
-- the newest hot doc on 'Grey's Anatomy' comes with his own.
Kevin McKidd who headlined 'Rome' and last year's cancelled cult fave 'Journeyman,' recently joined the cast of the medical drama as Dr. Owen Hunt. The maverick Army surgeon is already making waves at Seattle Grace (and sharing heart-stopping kisses with Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang).
The veteran Scottish actor chatted with AOL TV about how Patrick Dempsey didn't help him get the role, what would've happened on 'Journeyman' and his steamy 'Grey's' romance.
1. Is it a relief to be on an established hit show versus a new one that's on the cancellation bubble?
It is. I'm really pleased with the work I've done in the last few years. I loved 'Rome' and I loved 'Journeyman,' but it's nice ... It feels like I'm taking a break from all that kind of madness and mayhem. I was offered quite a few pilots this year then this opportunity came up and it felt like the perfect fit. At the end of the day, I'm just an actor -- I'm not really a businessman. When you're on a show that is not going anywhere, you can just focus on your character and your acting, and you can have all of your priorities in the right place, and I feel very thankful for that.
2. Did your 'Made of Honor' co-star Patrick Dempsey hook you up with this role?
No! I mean, I asked Patrick and he said absolutely not. He didn't even know that I was starting the show until I showed up in scrubs today, so that's how tightly they keep things secret on the 'Grey's Anatomy' set.
3. Will we see flashbacks to Hunt's military past?
We haven't seen it yet, but I wouldn't say that that's impossible. I think that would be an interesting thing to do, and I'd be certainly up to doing that. He's certainly finding it hard to speak right now so maybe he has some kind of dream state, flashback to that, or I don't know. Maybe we should set a whole episode back then.
4. How did you prepare for playing a surgeon -- did observe surgeries?
I haven't observed any surgeries yet. I do want to. When I signed and started work, there wasn't much time. But I'm still doing a lot of reading -- there are many biographies, autobiographical material written by surgeons who work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, I've watched documentaries -- especially one called 'Baghdad ER,' [about] an ER room in a war zone, which is amazing, traumatic and awful. These people see more trauma in one week than most other surgeons would see in an entire career. It's important that I do due diligence and research to try and represent these amazing people, because this is not a war that is by any means over yet.
5. How will the relationship between Hunt and Cristina Yang progress?
I think they fell in love almost at first sight. Now it's very complicated. They hardly talk to each other for an entire episode and then suddenly in one scene, jump forward 10 steps in their relationship with one look because there's some kind of emotional, spiritual, whatever you want to call it, connection between these two people that even they don't understand. They're both quite analytical people and they don't know what these feelings are. They're not wishy-washy, romantic types, but it's happening to them, and it's undeniable, and I think that happens in the world. Cupid creeps up on the most analytical person and hits you over the head with a sledgehammer.
6. You've worked a lot with Sandra and Patrick already. Who else would you like to work with on the show?
Patrick's great. I've worked with Eric as well. Everybody's great. I haven't really done much with Ellen [Pompeo], and she's such a cool person, and she's kind of the heartbeat of the show. It's like Owen and Meredith have been kind of dancing around each other. I'll be interested to see what happens when they have a case to work on or something, you know?
7. How have you been handling all the drama off-screen, with the departure of Brooke Smith?
You know, I don't see it ... I go to work, I put my scrubs on, I say my lines, I come home. So that's kind of the long and short of it for me.
8. We've got McDreamy and McSteamy. Your name already has a "Mc"-nickname built in. But do you have another in mind?
I think that would be far too presumptuous of an actor to try and think up that. I think, you know, if and when that happens I'll be very flattered by whatever it is [laughs].
9. 'Journeyman' fans were so disappointed the show was cancelled. Can you tell us what would've happened?
[The creator] Kevin Falls told me ... that each episode was a procedural story where [my character, Dan Vassar] would help that person and get them back on track. All those people that he helps ... have to be in that position that Dan gets them into for his son. It's not about Dan. This is about Zack, Dan's son, who has some kind of special power. Whatever it is that's controlling this needs all of these people to be in a certain position or alignment for Zack, [so that] when he comes of age, his power erupts ... It was all about getting his son to the place that these people could help him achieve this power and help the world.
10. You've gone from ancient Rome to time-traveling science fiction to a medical soap. What's the role that gets you the most recognized?
I'd say funnily enough it seems to be 'Rome' still. For a long time it was 'Trainspotting,' because that was the first movie. But I do think I'm starting to see all that kind of change with 'Grey's.' I don't think you quite appreciate how many people actually watch 'Grey's Anatomy' until you're on it which is kind of weird of me. I've always been kind of anonymous. I've worked in this business for 13 years, and just kind of gone about my daily business.
11. You'll be playing Welshman Dylan Thomas in a movie soon. How do you juggle all these accents?
You just have to do your work. There's a saying -- it's like 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Each accent, each dialect has its set of fundamental rules that if you break it doesn't work. You just have to learn the rules and practice them. It's like doing your multiplication tables.
12. Do you have any guilty pleasure TV shows?
Let me think, let me think, let me think. I always enjoy 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' and '30 Rock' I've enjoyed recently. And let me think -- 'Top Gear' on BBC America.
This just in: Major Hottie and Cristina are most definitely a go!
We just chatted up Grey's Anatomy star Kevin McKidd, and he revealed, "We are going to get there" and that it was pretty much "love at first sight."
However, it's not going to be easy, and for now, they aren't telling a soul. Not even Cristina's "person," Meredith!
Why? What's delaying them from going for it and telling the world? McKidd gave us the inside dish on their "clandestine" romance...
First things first. Lest you doubt the depth of the Major's feelings for our favorite iceberg of a doctor, Cristina Yang, McKidd told me: "I read this season's premiere as these two people's eyes meet over a crowded ER, and that it's a love at first sight scenario. That is the initial impulse that you see in the premiere, and then it's complicated by loads and loads of other stuff and a lot of baggage."
It's not all drama though. McKidd thinks they're a good match, saying, "They're kind of similar. They're almost two peas in a pod...I think he's very connected to Cristina." Awww, Forrest has found his Jenny!
So what are those complications that keep Cristina and Hottie apart?
"He has a fear," McKidd said, "which is illogical but that is real to him, that if he gets close to someone, then they'll be taken away from him because that's what happened to all his colleagues when that bomb exploded in Iraq. It's a psychological problem that he works through during the season and gets over, I think. He's going to get close to people, and at the end of the day, he's a good man, but at the moment he's going through some personal stuff."
You know what they say about fools and the rushing? Well, these two are no fools. Unlike most relationships on Grey's where the couple hooks up first and figures out the feelings later, McKidd said, "I think it's going to be a slower burn than you usually get on the show. I think that's going to be good because they're both quite private people and quite individual people."
So when will they go public? Even though Cristina practically lives in Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) bed, Meredith won't be nearly so involved in Cristina and Owen's love life. "Cristina's quite private," McKidd said, "and Owen Hunt, certainly—he's not really blabbing about what's going on in his personal life. This relationship between Owen and Cristina is kind of clandestine for a long time. I think Meredith knows something's going on, but I don't think Cristina's really telling her about it. We're a few episodes ahead of you, and we're not at the point yet where it has all really come out, so it will be interesting to find out what Meredith's take on it is, when the word gets out."
Are you lovin' McKidd? Your emails tell me yes, you are, but use the comments to shout it to the cheap seats.
Call him the Comeback McKidd. After seeing his unsung turn in last season's underappreciated Journeyman get cut short, Scotsman Kevin McKidd got snatched up by no less than one of TV's hottest shows, ABC's Grey's Anatomy. As Dr. Owen Hunt, a now shell-shocked Iraq war veteran, McKidd has in short order rocked Cristina Yang's world and demonstrated to McDreamy and McSteamy that there's a new McSheriff in town — and you have a feeling he's just getting started. McKidd shared with TVGuide.com a look at what's ahead for Hunt, as well as reflected on time-tripping newsman Dan Vasser's truncated journey.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations on being quickly promoted to a series regular on Grey's.
Kevin McKidd: Oh, thank you very much. I'm very pleased and excited.
TVGuide.com: Was it originally presented to you that Owen would be introduced in the season premiere, disappear for a bit, and then return a rather different man?
McKidd: Yes, that was always intended, to let some time pass and reintroduce him with a new slant on things.
TVGuide.com: It showed us who he can be — and then ripped that away from us.
McKidd: Yes, that was who he really is in the premiere, but now we're seeing what can happen to a good man, a good soldier and good surgeon [because of war].
TVGuide.com: Is it post-traumatic stress disorder per se that he is suffering from?
McKidd: Throughout this season, that's one of the questions he will be asking. To answer it, he'll seek some help from the people around him.
TVGuide.com: He's wondering what might it take for him to return to his former self.
McKidd: Exactly. What's exciting about telling this story with this character is that it's quite brave of ABC and [Grey's creator] Shonda [Rhimes], on a prime-time network TV show, to address a tough subject, and one that people don't necessarily want to hear about. But so far the writing room is handling it beautifully. They're not banging people over the head with it but exploring it in a sensitive and interesting way.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel like you hit the leading lady lottery with Sandra Oh? She's one of the good ones, you know.
McKidd: I can't talk kindly enough about her. From the first time I met her, I thought she was great. Everybody on the cast is fantastic, but I feel very blessed that I get to work with such a good actress. She's in her fifth year, and she's still very committed to the work. There's no real "recipe" — you can't say, "If we put this person with that person in this movie or TV series it will work" -- but so far with Sandra and I, something is gelling.
TVGuide.com: Might Owen and Cristina's spontaneous, intermittent kisses evolve into something more, physical or emotional?
McKidd: Well, at the end of the day this is Grey's Anatomy. [Laughs] I think you can bet good money on it.
TVGuide.com: Do you see Owen forming any specific relationships with other characters? Things started off prickly with Derek and Mark, but they seem headed toward a place of professional respect.
McKidd: He and Cristina have a very long journey, and he realizes that whatever this thing between them is, it's affecting his work, his sleep, everything. So he reaches out for help, and that will connect him with people like Derek and Mark. It's not just the typical formula of guys butting heads. There is that story to tell, but also the more interesting story of professional men connecting at an adult level.
TVGuide.com: The Grey's set had that recent brouhaha when Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn) was released from the show. Had any cast mate proactively pulled you aside and said, "Things can get a little crazy here"?
McKidd: [Laughs] No, nobody took me aside. I know it all seems all very dramatic, but it doesn't feel dramatic there at work.
TVGuide.com: But the show does tend to be a lightning rod for controversy.
McKidd: Right, right. I guess that's a blessing and a curse, depending on how you see it.
TVGuide.com: Was it pure coincidence that you found yourself again working with Patrick Dempsey, with whom you had just done the film Made of Honor? Or had he put a bug in Shonda's ear to check you out?
McKidd: It's funny — my first day on set, I said to Patrick, "Listen, did you have anything to do with this?" He was like, "Absolutely not."
TVGuide.com: After a slow start last year, Journeyman was just hitting its stride when the writers strike came. Were it not for that interruption, might the show have been saved?
McKidd: I don't know. On the one hand, what could have happened to us is what just happened to My Own Worst Enemy — because of the impeding strike, there wasn't anything in the works to replace us, so maybe we would have gone earlier? But with absolutely zero promotional monies spent, we actually started to kick up toward Episode 6 or 7 of the [first] 13.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, that's when the critics and fans really started warming to the show.
McKidd: But we might not have gotten that chance, had there not been a strike. It's so random — like in Journeyman, one small event can knock everything else out of whack.
TVGuide.com: Do you know any small secret from the show's mythology that never had a chance to be revealed?
McKidd: You think that each episode was just a procedural story with somebody that Dan helped. But all of these people had been specifically chosen by whatever power was at play to be knocked into their correct paths so they can all be at a certain place in their life when Dan's son, Zach, is revealed to have his own certain power. Each one of these people needed to be in a certain place, in government or research or whatever, to come back and help the boy achieve something of global significance. I thought that was very interesting.
Forget McDreamy. Forget McSteamy. There is a new doctor in town - Seattle Grace’s newest Head of Trauma is all you need! I had the opportunity to spend some time with Major Owen Hunt himself - Kevin McKidd, and if he wasn’t already the reason I was tuning into GREY’S this season, he would be now (the only drawback to his character is the fact that he has to hide his amazing accent)! Read on to hear about why he loves this character, why you should too, and what he thinks his “Mc” nickname should be!
What originally interested you about the character of Owen Hunt?
When I first heard the idea of bringing a trauma surgeon to GREY’S ANATOMY, I thought it was a really interesting one. For many reasons, I think it’s important to tell that story, about what’s going on. And care given to people in war zones, like Afghanistan and Iraq. I think it’s a story that hasn’t really been told, especially on a primetime TV drama. I think it’s a brave thing of ABC and GREY’S ANATOMY to do, to introduce someone who could have just been just a normal surgeon, but they decided to go the extra mile and explore this. And I just like the idea of this guy who is kind of self sufficient and he knows his own mind, and doesn’t want to get involved with other people. He just wants to get through his business, but he’s also not fully together right now because of what’s happened, he’s been through traumatic things in Iraq. And also, the level of trauma you see when you’re there as a surgeon, you see more trauma with one tour in Iraq than any trauma surgeon would see in a whole career. I just thought it was a really interesting character to explore, you know?
How do you prepare for a character like that?
I do a lot of reading, watch a lot of documentaries. One especially called BAGHDAD ER, it basically follows a group of surgeons working at a hospital in Baghdad. I spoke with an army liaison officer who works with people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress right now. He helps them get their lives back. There are a lot of very interesting autobiographies and biographical material written by sergeants either who are still there or who come back and recount the day to day life and what’s it like. So I’m kind of still reading them, I’ve compiled them on my bedside table. I’m doing as much as I can I feel, to hopefully represent this group of people who are doing great work. This war is still going on, so it’s important to try and get some sense of what it’s like.
What’s it like coming into an ensemble cast like this? How is it adjusting?
You know, on this show, it’s really great, everyone was really welcoming, very sweet to me, and I’m very thankful for that, because they didn’t have to be. And they were and very gracious. I was nervous starting, to be honest with you. Every other job that I’ve done, and I’ve been working in this business for a while now, it’s always been day one, when everybody’s new. So to come in, it’s like entering somebody else’s party. I feel really lucky that they were so nice.
It’s funny. My brother isn’t a big fan of GREY’S ANATOMY but he watches it with us on Thursdays, but the minute your character came on the screen, he just looked at everybody and said “I love this guy!”
Yeah, and he is interested in the show now. What has other fan reaction been like?
It’s interesting. Hopefully, what people are responding to, is that he’s not just being a bad ass for being a bad ass’ sake. He’s not wondering around and just shooting his mouth off. He’s looking at each case and each scenario and each situation, using his wits very quickly. That’s what you do in Iraq, you have to make very quick decisions, and the trauma is much more extreme. He’s bringing that very clear cut, back to basics viewpoint into the hospital, which I think causes problems, but also is very valid. People are enjoying that, and I’m enjoying playing it.
What is coming up for your character?oh-cy
Obviously, he and Cristina fall more and more for each other. It’s not an easy road for them, and he messes up, because he’s conflicted. He doesn’t want to, he says in the speech that we’ve already seen, he doesn’t want be with anyone, he doesn’t want to infringe on anyone. He just lost all of his friends in one attack in Iraq before he was discharged. He is a very different man than what you saw in the season premiere. I really like that challenge. In the season premiere, you see what kind of man he really is, and then suddenly you see him a few weeks later, and something terrible has happened to him. He’s trying to get his life again, trying to get back on an even keel and he feels the way to do that is to keep his distance from everybody. So I think you’re going to see, throughout the season, him struggle with that, and try and find an answer to that, and reach out for help to the doctors around him, even though he doesn’t want to ask, he eventually does. He and Cristina, I think, they help each other. There’s a lot of healing going on between them. I see him as a kind of a real connection this character, but it’s not going to be easy.
Why should people keep tuning in?
Because I’m in it? [laughs] I haven’t seen the show for the last 2 seasons, but I feel as thought it’s a very well written show, it’s a very fun show, it’s got great balance between drama, heartfelt drama, and creative elements. It’s funny, and it’s sad you know? It makes you laugh one minute and you cry the next. I think the characters are all very well written and drawn, and passionate and interesting, and focused people who are trying to do some good in the world. The way the world is right now, I think a lot of people can use a bit of that.
What is your Mc name, like McSteamy and McDreamy - what should you be called?
Well I’m McKidd! [laughs] [editor's note: I imagine he said that with a Scotsman wink or something equally as charming]
Is there anything else you’d like to say to fans who are reading and watching?
I feel very lucky to be on the show, and I thank people that are responding positively to it. I feel very glad that people seem to be receiving it. The casting is a bit of a risk, because he isn’t this instantly likeable guy who can turn up and crack a few wisecracks. He’s a bit more tricky to get ahead of him, and I thank people for sticking with it and be willing to try and find some empathy with a guy who isn’t that accessible. It’s hard to do.
We loved ROME, we loved JOURNEYMAN, we were all so sad to see that go. I’m so glad you’re back on TV on a weekly basis!
Oh thank you, I am too!
Don’t miss your weekly dose of Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt on ABC’s GREY’S ANATOMY. Thursday’s all new episode is called “In The Midnight Hour.” Meredith, Cristina, and Bailey come to Lexie and Sadie’s rescue when a routine surgery goes horribly wrong, as Owen and Derek treat a man seriously injured while sleepwalking and Mark comforts the sleepwalker’s distraught daughter.
This week, I got to spend a few minutes of phone time with Grey's Anatomy's newest regular cast member, Kevin McKidd. His Dr. Owen Hunt — er, that's McArmy to me — is bringing brooding back to Seattle Grace as a war veteran who's seen some dark times in the field. Now, the trauma specialist is deploying some of his unorthodox methods in the Grey's OR — and also prompting the normally reserved Cristina (Sandra Oh) to open up a bit. McKidd chatted with me about why he took the job, what it's really like on set, and what's in store for Hunt and Cristina. Here are highlights:
What initially appealed to you about Owen Hunt?
I liked the fact that he's very direct, he's very focused on his work, he's got a lot of baggage going on, he's trying to be very professional and not get involved with people at the hospital, but he's failing at that each day, because he keeps looking across and seeing Cristina. I'm drawn to the character because he has very noble ideas, I think, about medicine, but he's been though a lot recently and he's struggling with his own emotions. I think it's interesting to watch a highly intelligent surgeon not really have a full grip on himself because of what he's been through.
I think a lot of fans of the show, myself included, would say they're happy to see Cristina finally getting some action. Without giving too much away, will there be more of that?
I think you can put good money on that. I think those two have a deep connection going on between them. They aren't sure where it's coming from . . . We're watching the falling in love of two people who normally wouldn't give credence to that. It's fun and exciting. It's a very kind of touching and heartfelt journey.
Lots more from McKidd, so read more.
The latest kiss between Hunt and Cristina was very passionate, but also almost violent. Will we see more of the darker side of him?
You have to remember, all of his colleagues were lost in an ambush attack, and he's the only one who walked out alive. . . It's illogical, but I think it's [a fear that] if he gets close to someone he will lose them. It's a psychological problem that he needs to get over and get help with . . . He's a really good man, he's not violent, but he's certainly struggling with the fear — it's almost a fear of getting too close to anyone right now. He desperately wants to be intimate but he doesn't feel he should be.
You already have the "Mc" in McKidd, obviously, but have you gotten an official Grey's Mc-name yet?
I don't know when that happens. [Laughs] I know that Shonda is calling me Heathcliff at the moment.
With the sudden departure of Brooke Smith, Grey's has gotten a bit of gossip about being a troubled workplace. Can you set the record straight on that? What's your experience like on set?
One of the things I try not to do is listen to the gossip. The way I find my working environment and the life on the show is very positive and fun. I think sometimes people like to push things up just to get a headline. I think that's what's happening here.
You worked with Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor. Is it different working with him now on the show?His character's much more serious in Grey's than it was in Made of Honor. He's much more intense as Dr. Shepherd. . . I was kind of nervous starting the show, and it was nice to have someone I'd worked with in the recent past.
Will we ever get to hear you use your native Scottish accent in a show on this side of the pond?
Maybe when people start sending letters to the network to make it happen! I'd love to do that — it would make my work easier. But I actually really enjoy [doing an accent]. One of the reasons I became an actor was that I was a very shy kid, and when I put a character on and an accent, I felt freer. . . In Made of Honor, I used my own accent for the first time [in a long time] and I felt sort of naked.
Coming off the disappointing cancellation of NBC's "Journeyman" after one season and HBO's "Rome" after only two, Kevin McKidd has been added as a series regular to one of TV's top dramas, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy."
"I am excited to have Kevin McKidd joining us for the season," "Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes said Wednesday. "He's been a delight to collaborate with and brings incredible passion, talent and creativity to his work. Plus, he's already got the 'Mc' built in to his name so we had to keep him."
McKidd, who started off the season as a guest star, will continue on as Maj. Owen Hunt, an Army surgeon who recently returned from Iraq, the lone survivor of his unit. As the new head of trauma at Seattle Grace, his on-the-fly method of medicine clashes with the hospital's by-the-book style.
"He's pretty uncompromising but also willing to learn," said McKidd. "There are a lot of contradictions in his character, but that's what makes him interesting to play."
McKidd said that he was disappointed when "Journeyman" wasn't renewed after the writers strike, but that becoming part of "Grey's" big ensemble cast has been a welcome respite from the breakneck pace of being the star of a show.
To prepare for the role of Hunt, McKidd met with an Iraq veteran who works with others who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and has picked up several books and biographies on the subject.
"This is an ongoing war and it's only right that I don't do some generalized approximation of the character," McKidd said. "Whether the reading comes into the scenes or not, its important that I read these testaments about what's out there."
As for Owen's relationship with Sandra Oh's character, Dr. Cristina Yang, McKidd promises there's much more in store for the pair, though things will likely get "complicated."
McKidd's addition to the cast comes on the heels of Brooke Smith's sudden departure after last week's episode and while McKidd is "honored" and "flattered" with his new position, he does wish his character would have had the chance to clash with Smith's Dr. Erica Hahn.
"I just started the show when she [was let go] so I was very much out of the loop but I felt sad because she's obviously a great actress and I felt Owen and her character could have really clashed in an interesting way," said McKidd. "I'm sad that that opportunity couldn't come."
Kevin McKidd showed up as Dr. Owen Hunt on Grey’s Anatomy with a straightforward approach to trauma treatment. He may have saved Cristina from an icicle, but he has no interest in getting involved with the drama that permeates Seattle Grace. I had the chance to take a few minutes and talk to the new doctor practicing at the most dramatic hospital in the world. McKidd, who is probably most known to people my age as Tommy from Trainspotting, now takes on the role of an Army Major. He’s not sure what the future holds for Dr. Hunt at Seattle Grace, but as of last week McKidd was made a series regular so we should be seeing lots more of him. McKidd was on his way home from filming Bunraku and got the call that Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes wanted to meet with him. As it happens that was the same day as McKidd’s son’s birthday, an event he wouldn’t want to miss. With all the drama on the show you’d think behind the scenes would always be crazy, but sometimes things work out in a normal fashion. ”They were very understanding, thankfully, and waited until the next day.“ No jumping through hoops, and no “seriously.”
Now that he’s on the show there must be a splash made. Hey, I don’t watch every episode but I get the rundown constantly. I know how these Mc____ doctors like to show up wearing steamy towels or something similar. We wouldn’t want our new doc to show up and not have any dramatic troubles. As a trauma surgeon in Baghdad Owen has seen a lot, and lost even more. It’s something that informs the character for McKidd, how a man is affected by such a sense of loss. ”They’re [trauma units] sort of the first line of defense in keeping the soldiers alive while you get back to the hospital…he brings a lot of that back with him. Not just the experience, but the emotional toll it’s taken on him as a man.”
The trauma he brings back from Iraq also makes Dr. Hunt a blunt and straightforward doctor. He famously had the interns cut into live pigs, an event that McKidd says there are no plans to match in the near future. Kevin does say that those ”left of field” and shocking events will continue, but not anywhere near the pig event. Owen also doesn’t have any interest in the dramatic happenings between the staff members, but some things might be beyond his control. ”The thing about Owen is he’s trying to not be interested and not connect with anyone. He wants to do his shift and go home.“ But then he sees Cristina across the room, and as McKidd describes it the moment is almost like love at first sight. ”If he gets close to someone then he’s going to lose them like he did with [his fellow soldiers].”
If you’re a fan of the show you must be wondering if Owen has a Mc___ name yet from Shonda or the writers. As of now there are joke ideas, but nothing has floated to the top as a good choice. ”Shonda calls me Heathcliffe.” McKidd wouldn’t tell what was being passed around behind the scenes, but McBadAss or McBlunt Instrument would be good choices. Right? As for how Dr. Hunt became so blunt after the RPG ambush we haven’t seen anything on that yet. Now that McKidd is a series regular there’s a chance we will get that story in detail through flashback, but there are currently no plans to pursue that storyline in such a detailed way.
For those who were perhaps offended by some of Dr. Hunt’s actions McKidd doesn’t see him as an out of touch and crazy person. ”He has an impulsiveness. He wasn’t quite as impulsive before he went to Iraq, but I think that makes him much more animalistic in a way.” It’ll be interesting to see how the writers approach a character who is so troubled by his traumatic past, but is still a damn good surgeon. It’s one thing to just do crazy things because you have issues, but quite another to be in such a raw emotional state all the time that you want to do your job with precision and avoid any new attachments.
"Grey's Anatomy" has introduced a hot new doc in the ER -- and ET has the 411!
Kevin McKidd is no stranger to television. He starred in HBO's toga drama, "Rome," and played a time traveler in NBC's short-lived "Journeyman." But this season he is scrubbing in to "Grey's Anatomy" as a former military doctor who has been hired to head Seattle Grace's ER.
ET: You had worked with Patrick Dempsey in 'Made of Honor.' Did he have anything to do with you getting the role?
Kevin McKidd: On the first day, I started on "Grey'"'s because I assumed Patrick had said, "Yeah, use Kev," but he had no idea I was on the show until I turned up in scrubs. That was funny!
ET: What is going to be your Mc Nickname?
Kevin McKidd: There are several kicking around.
ET: How about McHottie?
Kevin McKidd: That is one I have heard. But there are several kicking around.
ET: Is there going to be a romance with Cristina (Sandra Oh)?
Kevin McKidd: I think you can bet on that. Even though he is struggling with [the idea of] becoming close to someone, there is an undeniable connection between those two. There is chemistry between them and a definite attraction that will play out this season. Hopefully, it will befun to watch because it is so intense.
ET: Nobody seems to stay faithful on this show, so who else would Owen like to hook up with?
Kevin McKidd: (Laughs) He only has eyes for Cristina at the moment.
ET: What can you tell us about this week's episode [airing Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC].
Kevin McKidd: The story in this episode is really interesting because it is about a guy who has very vivid nightmares and his daughter is not sleeping either. She is suffering from severe exhaustion because he constantly gets up. Eventually he throws himself out of his bedroom window because he thinks he is being chased by demons. It is a very touching story this week.
ET: Did you have any second thoughts in the episode where you had to stab the pigs?
Kevin McKidd: That is a very controversial technique that is being used at the moment. It was brave of ABC to attack that issue. I was, "Wow, if people react badly to this, I could be looking for a new job next week." The story was written so well and both points of view were put across intelligently, so I think most people who watched it understood what they were trying to do, which was talk about this. It is a moral issue about animals being use in trauma surgery training.
ET: Is it easier to wear scrubs than a toga?
Kevin McKidd: It definitely is. When you wear a toga, you sit and cross your legs and everybody can see your underpants and it is really embarrassing because men aren't used to wearing skirts. I am much more comfortable in scrubs. It is like walking around in your pajamas all day. This is the most comfortable I have been on a set.
KEVIN McKIDD JOINS THE CAST OF ABC'S "GREY'S ANATOMY" : 13 Nov 2008
Actor Kevin McKidd ("Rome," "Journeyman") has joined the cast of ABC's popular drama "Grey's Anatomy." McKidd first appeared as Major Owen Hunt in this season's premiere episode of "Grey's Anatomy," titled "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Hunt has joined the staff of Seattle Grace Hospital as the head of trauma surgery, after serving as a top military field surgeon in Iraq.
An established star of film, television and theatre, the Scottish actor has made a name for himself playing such varied roles as a doomed drug addict in "Trainspotting," a brooding Caesar-era soldier in HBO's "Rome" and a time-traveling journalist in last year's NBC drama, "Journeyman." McKidd recently co-starred alongside his "Grey's Anatomy" co-star, Patrick Dempsey, and Michelle Monaghan in the 2008 film romantic comedy, "Made of Honor."
McKidd has wrapped production on "Bunraku," starring alongside Josh Harnett, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson and Ron Perlman. In the drama he plays a virulent criminal who terrorizes a town. Other film credits include "Hannibal Rising," "Kingdom of Heaven," "De-Lovely" and "Sixteen Years of Alcohol," for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards.
Born and raised in Scotland, McKidd was a member of the Moray Youth Theatre. He became involved in the Bedlam Theatre Company while he was a student at the University of Edinburgh, and it was there that he decided to pursue acting full-time, landing his first leading role in the Wild Cat Theatre Company-produced stage play, "The Silver Darlings," for which he won the Gulliver Award.
McKidd currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.
"Grey's Anatomy" stars Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, Katherine Heigl as Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, Justin Chambers as Alex Karev, T.R. Knight as George O'Malley, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, James Pickens, Jr. as Richard Webber, Sara Ramirez as Callie Torres, Eric Dane as Mark Sloan, Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey and Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt.
"Grey's Anatomy" was created and is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes ("Introducing Dorothy Dandridge"). Betsy Beers ("Casanova"), Mark Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan"), Krista Vernoff ("Law & Order"), Rob Corn ("Chicago Hope"), Mark Wilding ("Jake: 2.0") and Allan Heinberg ("The O.C.") are executive producers. "Grey's Anatomy" is an ABC Studios production.
Can Kevin McKidd save "Grey's Anatomy"?
The suave, golden-haired Scottish actor from the memorable HBO "Rome" series has been imported to boost the sagging fortunes of the once-mighty ABC medical drama.
McKidd, 35, plays Owen Hunt, an Iraqi War medic who becomes the new head of trauma surgery at Seattle Grace. His arrival, just as "Grey's" tumbles in the ratings against a reinvigorated "CSI," is well-timed. The other male characters on the show - McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey), McSteamy (Eric Dane) and McDopey (T.R. Knight) - have run out of gas. McKidd has to fill the mature masculine slot left vacant when Isaiah Washington was fired from the series.
The actor tried starring on his series last season, but NBC's "Journeyman," about a time-traveling journalist in San Francisco, never caught on with viewers. He found the experience completely exhausting.
"I wouldn't say I was relieved [when the show went off air], but my body went into relief mode," McKidd says. "I'd never worked that hard. What the writing room realized was they were trying to find a [secondary] story line to write about that would let me catch my breath and have a day off. But there was no way I was going to get a day off."
On "Grey's," McKidd will play a pivotal role as Hunt brings unorthodox teaching methods to the hospital, spars with McDreamy and McSteamy and romances Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) while teaching her a valuable lesson.
"Hunt will make her address and refocus her career. Her ambition is about pure vanity," McKidd says. "My character has seen more trauma in Iraq than a civilian surgeon would see in a year. He doesn't go in for chitter-chatter or for people becoming attached to each other."
Born in Elgin, in the Moray district of Scotland, McKidd describes his childhood as "idyllic." Besides farming and fishing, the rural region was known for its distilleries and that was where McKidd had one of his first jobs, at 17. He built swan-necked copper boilers at the Glenmorangie distillery, paid his way though drama school and developed a taste for whisky. "I definitely know what I like," he says.
Although his Scottish burr is rich and potentially seductive, McKidd, in consultation with the producers on "Grey's," chose not to use it on the show. "They wanted to make it work. I agreed it wouldn't make sense to have an Iraqi army surgeon be Scottish," he says.
And so McKidd joins the growing number of actors from the British Isles who can do a convincing American accent and find their fortune on U.S. television. He says he watched a lot of American movies and worked with a dialect coach to get his right. "Doing an American accent is like doing karaoke," McKidd says. "It's easy to do bad karaoke, but it's hard to do karaoke well."
Asked the British are cornering the market on leading man roles on television, McKidd could only say, "We work pretty hard. Most British actors go through a three-year course that instills a big, strong work ethic. Serve the scene, not thyself."
The actor lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jane, a homemaker, and their two children, Joseph, 8, and Iona, 6, a girl named island off the west coast of Scotland. "My wife and I vowed we wouldn't setle here, but [we like] the sun. People are actually nice to you in shops," he says. "In London, where I lived for the last decade, you walk into shops, it's like you've let off gas. We're definitely enjoying the sojourn."
McKidd thoroughly enjoyed his sojourn on the "Rome" series, where he lived in various apartments in the Eternal City while playing the soldier Lucius Vorenus. "It was a one-of-a-kind experience. Living in Italy, doing the show at Cinecitta, Fellini's studio. Everyone would have loved for it to stick around. It's the business. Can be harsh."
Things will hopefully more smoothly for McKidd on "Grey's Anatomy." He has signed to do the show through December. "If we feel the story has juice, they'll keep me on," he says. "Things are going to progress with Cristina and I think it's going to get intense and complicated. She and Owen are soul mates."
Thursday, 9 p.m., ABC
Sept. 10, 2008
This probably won't do anything to quell those Katherine Heigl exit rumors.
Sources confirm to me exclusively that L Word alum Janina Gavankar is joining the cast of Grey's Anatomy as an intern. Meanwhile, relative newcomer Brandon Scott (Cold Case) is also checking into Seattle Grace as a junior McDreamy.
According to my Grey's mole, producers are taking a wait-and-see approach with respect to the size of both roles. As a result, Gavankar and Scott will start off as recurring players. "Nothing's been decided yet," whispers the insider.
News of the new hires comes amidst buzz that Grey's will likely upgrade Kevin McKidd to a full-time series regular before the season is out. As I mentioned in this week's Ask Ausiello, the ex-Journeyman, who debuts in the Sept. 25 season premiere as a former Iraq doc with eyes for Cristina, is winning everyone over on the Grey's set. Let's see if Gavankar and Scott can do the same. (No pressure though!)
Initial reaction? Happy to see Seattle Grace get some (more) new blood? Or is the hospital too crowded as it is? Spill it in the comments!
Sept. 9, 2008:
Question: Please tell me Cristina's new love interest on Grey's Anatomy (a.k.a. Kevin McKidd) is here to stay! -- Virginia
Ausiello: His first episode hasn't even aired yet -- how do you know the two of them are any good together? Have you seen a rough cut of the premiere or something? If so, how 'bout you burn me a copy on the DL? In return, I'll share with you some good news: Although McKidd's status is technically still recurring, I'll be shocked if he isn't made a full-time regular by the end of the season. Shonda Rhimes is apparently doing cartwheels over his work thus far. Literally doing cartwheels. My Grey's mole saw her doing one in the parking lot last Thursday.