Kevin McKidd tells us about Dr. Hunt of Grey's Anatomy
We met the Scottish actor at the Roma Fiction Fest 2010, where he presented the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, the ABC series in which he plays Dr. Owen Hunt, deepening the most moving/exciting and fun moments of this experience and remembering his past on the set of Trainspotting.
He is one of the most recent arrivals to the rich cast of Grey's Anatomy, but Kevin McKidd is certainly not the last: one only need look at his filmography to note how varied and career his career has been to date. Scottish by birth, it is precisely from the United Kingdom that the actor took his first steps in acting, from the set of the phenomenon that was Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, appearing in the following years in television and film productions, both English and American, and even finding the time to lend his voice to some video games in recent years such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, in which he played the captain "Soap" MacTavish.
From Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven and Hannibal Lecter, to the recent role of Poseidon in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, via the directorial debut of Neil Marshall, the horror movie Dog Soldiers, his appearances on the big screen are not few, while on TV, before becoming Dr Owen Hunt in Grey’s Anatomy in 2008, he had the role of Lucius Vorenus in Rome and the protagonist in that unfortunate series Journeyman, defeated by ratings and in part by the writers' strike.
In our meeting we recalled the experience with Boyle on Trainspotting, the difficulties at the beginning and his passion for music, but we couldn’t explore the experience on the set of Seattle Grace Hospital, from the most exciting moments to the most fun, without looking to the future of his character.
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Kevin McKidd: In reality I don’t know, the writers don’t tell us anything, therefore I can only try to imagine. It’s about a very strange couple and I think that they will continue to put each other to the test, teasing each other’s limits, but they will also become more honest with each other. I can’t wait to see what comes next and I hope that the two will come to understand each other more deeply.
You arrived in Grey's Anatomy in the fifth season, becoming part of a tight knit group and of actors and characters. How was it, either for you or for your character to become part of this family?
Kevin McKidd: In my opinion, the character was very well written, it was all on paper, and this also makes life easier on the director. So I didn’t have to do anything other than perform my scenes. I was a bit nervous, because it is a series that had already been running for a long time and I was worried about having to become integrated, so I limited myself to just being myself, without forcing the pre-existing group dynamics, that in these situations have to be respected. Everyone was very kind to me, I think I'm lucky to have found a work environment like this, because everyone accepted the new character and all the cast accepted me as an actor.
What is the most moving moment that has been filmed in Grey's Anatomy?
Kevin McKidd: There's a scene in an episode of the fifth season in which I relive surgery while I shower drunk. While I’m there, Cristina arrives and hears my story of how I saved the life of this soldier who was hit by an explosion and how he wrote me a letter thanking me after a few months and then took his own life because of his trauma (note: episode 5x12 Sympathy for the Devil ). It's a scene that affected me alot, that showed where my character came from. Then there is a scene in season six in which I try to save the life of my best friend, who is suffering a lot and losing a lot of blood, and I am the only thing that stands between him and the relief of death, and he's suffering so much that he begs me to let him go. When the friend dies, my character feels responsible even though he was asking him to let him die. I think those are the two most moving moments.
Can you tell us something particular about life on the set and the atmosphere among you actors of the series?
Kevin McKidd: Something stupid or funny is always happening on set, we make many jokes . I remember a funny anecdote that is related to CSI Miami and the torment of David Caruso’s glasses. We were shooting the finale with Rob Corn, who loves jokes: for each character he found a frame in which to recite the last line and then take off their glasses before leaving the scene. Then we put all these scenes together to create a nice behind the scenes just for us. We do a lot of things like that.
Does your character have a “Mc” nickname yet?
Kevin McKidd: No, not that I know of. What about as far as you know?
You’ve worked on series’ for network television as well as for cable television, like Rome. How does the work differ between the two sectors?
Kevin McKidd: For example, in Rome we had more time to shoot an episode. When you work for cable television, you have fifteen days to shoot an episode, while in a network environment you only have eight days, so it's much faster, you’re always on tenterhooks, everything is more intense, but at the same time it’s nice to not have downtime waiting for the scene to be set up, to always be ready. As for the work itself, I don’t find huge differences between theater, film or a series, to me as an actor the creative process is the same.
Is it difficult to learn the medical jargon?
Kevin McKidd: This is the hardest part! Learning all those technical terms, but fortunately my character does not have a lot of dialogue of this kind. On the other hand, there’s Chyler Leigh, poor thing, who always has speeches full of these crazy things and the only way to recite them is to memorize them as though they are a refrain, a riddle, because for us they don’t mean anything, it’s like having to learn times tables (multiplication).
You’ve worked in England, spent two years in Italy to film Rome and are now in Los Angeles.
Does the continual shifting around create problems for you and your family?
Kevin McKidd: Yeah, it’s certainly not a simple job from this point of view, because it is always in motion. In fact the best thing with Grey's Anatomy is that for the first time I have a home to which to return, even if it is in Los Angeles. In the evening I go home to my children and this lasts for ten months of the year and the fact that I moved to Los Angeles gave me a lot more time with my family than I ever had. It’s a blessing, something for which I am very grateful.
Have you ever thought of becoming a doctor?
Kevin McKidd: To tell the truth, many years ago I had a girlfriend who was studying to become a nurse and she was aiming to marry a doctor, so she tried to make me give up my acting career and enroll in medicine. I even tried, but as soon as I started studying I realized it was a really stupid idea. So, yes, I tried once ... because of a girl!
Tells us something about the experience with Danny Boyle on the set of Trainspotting
Kevin McKidd: It was a fantastic experience! Danny Boyle has this incredible energy that infects you and makes you stand up, ready to keep working. He has an overwhelming passion for film that gets under your skin. It was a lot of fun for me because it was my first film and I was very inexperienced, I knew nothing about how things happen on a set, of how to be in front of the camera, to stay on your mark, learn the different types of lenses and Danny helped me build and improve my quality as an actor. We all felt that there was something special about that set, there was a kind of chemistry that is created when you are making a good movie or a good TV series and if this formula could be patented we would all make fantastic shows, but it’s not like that. Sometimes you feel it immediately, and sometimes it’s shaky ... Danny has this innate ability to create this chemistry, it happens often, and in the case of Trainspotting we could feel we were doing something special.
You weren’t present when the photo for the poster of Trainspotting was taken.
Do you regret having missed this opportunity?
Kevin McKidd: For the most part, I don’t regret anything in my past work, even in cases where I have refused a part in films that have become hits. I think if you begin to regret something, you go crazy. At the time of Trainspotting, I knew I wasn’t ready and even if the movie became a success, I was an immature boy of twenty. I knew I needed to learn much more, whether about myself or the profession. Perhaps if I had pursued the Hollywood dream, I would have been burned, so I'm happy that my career had a slower start.
Is it true that after Trainspotting you worked as a bartender?
Kevin McKidd: Yes, that's absolutely true. I was also a worker and have other small jobs at the beginning of my career. Because I was just another young actor, as there are many around; I got lucky a couple of years, but I knew that things shouldn’t have been easy. People find it hard to believe, they think that having been in Trainspotting my career was already launched, but it is not so simple, you need a lot of luck.
If you hadn’t become an actor, what would you have liked to do?
Kevin McKidd: A musician, for sure. A singer and guitarist. As a young man, I was in a band called Plan 9, like a tribute to the films of Ed Wood, and I must say we weren’t all bad for being sixteen year olds. Music is definitely my grand passion, so I wanted to work in that area.
google translate Italian (Source)
and thanks to Kaz for organizing a better translation