The Scottish actor, 37, on kinky dressing up for his wife, getting naked in period dramas, nicking his Grey’s Anatomy costume and getting a leeetle bit drunk at work...
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Kevin McKidd: That I am the god of being messy – I’m trying to get better. I was terrible in my 20s. My kids [Iona, seven, and Joseph, 10] are much tidier than I am, I don’t know where they get it from, maybe their mother.
What role do people recognise you most from?
KM: For a long time it was Tommy from Trainspotting. But if a man comes up to me, I’m almost sure he’s going to mention Rome, if it’s a woman, it’ll be Grey’s Anatomy.
Have you ever stolen any of your characters’ props for personal use?
KM: From Rome, I kept a bronze ring and from Grey’s, I swiped a hammer that tests your reflexes. I haven’t been able to get one of those white jackets from Grey’s yet. Each one has the name of that doctor embroidered on it, so there definitely will be one to walk off with at some point.
Has your wife ever wanted you to wear the doctor’s uniform – to get kinky?
KM: I don’t know actually, she hasn’t said. But in Rome I had to wear this little skirt and I think she liked that. I must say those scrubs are very comfortable, it’s like walking around in pyjamas all the time. I prefer the scrubs to the Roman tunics.
You’re no stranger to getting your kit off for the camera. Do you get embarrassed?
KM: A bit, because there are certain things you want to keep private, but you just have to get on with it. Eventually, it becomes a laugh because all the crew are your friends and you’re there with your shirt off and it just gets silly.
Do they heckle you?
KM: Yeah, but it puts you at ease. I had to do a nude scene my first week on Rome – actually there was a nudie scene almost every week on Rome. But, in the beginning, when you don’t know anyone it can be embarrassing. Once you get to know the crew it’s like having your family taking the mickey out of you.
What keeps you awake at night?
KM: I live in LA so I worry my kids aren’t that connected to Britain, I suppose I don’t want them to become American kids. We try to get back three or four times a year. When they go to school they speak with a British-American accent but when they come home to us they go back to their British accent, so I can deal with that.
Do you get told off for softening your own accent?
KM: I’ve been getting stick about that for years, it’s nothing new. I got it even when I was living in Britain. Where I’m from in Elgin, Scotland, it’s a thick dialect but I’d have found it hard to get work as an actor if I’d kept that way – no one can understand you.
Have you ever cheated death?
KM: Before I came to America I was at a bonfire in Bedfordshire and I poured a can of unleaded petrol onto it before we lit it, but it didn’t light so I put a bit more petrol on and the canister went up in flames in my hand. Luckily I was in an open field so I flung this thing like I was tossing a hammer and it landed miles away. It singed some of my hair, but that was it.
What sort of jobs did you have before becoming an actor?
KM: All kinds. I worked in a bingo hall giving out 10p coins to old ladies, I worked in a distillery in Scotland and I worked on building sites and in pubs. But being a tour guide for the Witchery Tours in Edinburgh was my most memorable.
Did you make up your own stories?
KM: Occasionally I’d make something up just for fun – there were a lot of American tourists, so you could tell the Americans anything and they’d believe it. But you watch – I’ll be back in the bingo hall if it all goes wrong in Los Angeles.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
KM: I’m not a cars man... we don’t take holidays and as far as monetary things go, I don’t have any spare cash. When you’ve got kids, it’s not cheap!
OK, so what’s your guilty pleasure?
KM: I suppose I am a frustrated musician so I annoy my family by playing guitar in the house. I used to be into acoustic stuff but my son Joseph is learning drums, so now I have an electric guitar and we play Metallica. We have an amp and a PA in the garage with his drum kit and we know about eight or nine songs. My wife got jealous so she started learning the bass guitar and she’s pretty good. One of these days we’ll play a gig.
When was the last time you were hungover?
KM: I have a pal called Dan who lives in America, but he’s of Irish decent and every first Wednesday of the month he opens the doors to his basement, which he’s converted into an Irish pub. It’s all sawdust and candle wax with a full bar, but nobody pays any money, you just bring a guitar. All the Irish musicians gravitate to this place. Being away from Britain makes you homesick so this is like home from home. It’s my one indulgence.
Ever been drunk on the job?
KM: No, but when I did Father Ted, we drank so much Guinness my experience is clouded. I was told they never cast anyone who wasn’t Irish, but I was the exception because the people that made it really liked Trainspotting. It was brilliant, I went to Ireland and shot there for two weeks but I don’t have many memories. I was the only non-comedian in the group so they tested out their material on me – I laughed my head off all the time.
Have you met anyone who’s left you starstruck?
KM: I was at a party where Steven Spielberg was stood behind me, and his films are what made me want to be an actor, so it was pretty mind-blowing being in the same air space as him. I met the director Ridley Scott when I worked on Kingdom Of Heaven and that was pressure. You really want these people to think you’re decent at what you do, as it would be gut-wrenching if someone you had looked up to all these years turned around and said, ‘You’re rubbish’, but he didn’t say that.
Have you ever broken the law?
KM: I got caught shoplifting when I was little. I got caught stealing a pack of mini cookies and was dragged up in front of the whole school. They called a special assembly and it was announced that ‘there was a thief in our midst’. I cried all the way to the stage.
• We spoke to Kevin the morning after the night he’d been to a party promoting the Inglourious Basterds DVD. But he assured us he didn’t have a hangover.
• Before speaking to us he had been packing to come back to the UK to visit his family.
• The only time he’s been in hospital for real was at the birth of his kids and to film a documentary called One Night In Emergency last summer.
Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief is in cinemas from 12 February