On Grey’s Anatomy, Kevin McKidd plays the tough, war-torn Army surgeon, Dr. Owen Hunt, who has taken a liking to the uber-competitive and emotionally distant Cristina (Sandra Oh). But after 36 episodes and counting, the Scotland-born actor’s Dr. Hunt is starting to melt her cold heart with his declarations of love — and steamy hospital sex. Kevin, 36, who stars as Poseidon in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (which opens tomorrow), is equally passionate off-screen. It was love at first sight for the former Rome star and his wife, Jane. Two-and-a-half weeks after meeting, they got engaged, and five months later they were married. “You could say I’m intense, loyal and passionate, like Owen,” says Kevin. Just what we needed to hear! As if we didn’t have a big enough crush on him already.
It’s unusual to be asked to play a god — that’s for sure. And it’s been a blast working with director Chris Columbus from beginning to end. I tried to make Poseidon a little more human. As a god, he’s not allowed to see his son, Percy, so I saw him as a divorced dad. I think that made the character a little more believable. I only have a small part in this one, but you’ll see much more of me in the next movie.
Did your kids, Joseph and Iona, influence you in wanting to do more family-friendly fare?
Yes, but it’s not like I’m only going to do family films from here on out. I just wanted my kids to be able to see at least one thing that Daddy’s been in. I’m usually in much more mature-themed movies.
What, they haven’t seen Trainspotting?
No, not yet! We went to the premiere of Percy last night and my son is a huge Percy Jackson fan — he’s read all five books — and he had an absolute ball. My daughter even said it was the best movie she had seen in her whole life. So that made me feel good.
Do they realize that their dad’s a big deal?
They enjoy the fact that I’m an actor and I get to wear silly costumes. For them, though, they really like to take trips to craft service and get free candy. They think it’s strange to go to weird places like North Africa to watch Daddy sit around in a dusty trailer.
Has your cool factor gone up with them after being in Percy?
Oh, yeah, especially with their pals at school. Suddenly, they’ve given much more street cred to dad, because he’s Percy Jackson’s dad too.
The books — and now the movie — are being called the next Harry Potter. How does that feel?
It was like Beatlemania after the New York premiere, so if the kids’ reactions are any indication, I think the movie’s going to be huge. And who doesn’t want to be in a hit?
Things are really heating up on your day job at Grey’s Anatomy. How’s it feel for your character Dr. Hunt to be in the middle of a Cristina-Teddy love triangle?
It’s a complicated situation. Owen has declared his undying love for Cristina, and that he’s very sure about. But as we know on TV shows those feelings, promises and truths get tested sometimes. It’s difficult when a friend like Teddy [Kim Raver] wants to be more than just friends and she’s there with your lover and colleagues in an environment where you have to work very closely together. It’s going to lead to a pretty exciting, unexpected spot.
Do you think it’s Owen’s own fault for bringing Teddy to Seattle Grace?
Of course. I wouldn’t have brought someone I knew had feelings for me to come work with my new girlfriend. That’s just asking for trouble!
You’re lucky to be playing opposite such talented actresses.
I know. When I joined the show, I felt so blessed to get Sandra as my acting partner. Not only is she talented but she’s always happy and a very positive person to be around. Then Kim comes along and she is a consummate actress. She can really hold her own with Sandra. I’m in a really happy spot right now.
What has been your favorite storyline on the show so far?
I’ve really responded to the bits where Owen explores what happened to him while he was serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be revisited this season. There’s a very interesting story to tell. And it’s really relevant right now with the war going on, and people coming back having served for their country. Vets and especially their families have really responded to that storyline, because they’re often dealing with someone who doesn’t really resemble the person they knew before he or she went away. They seem very grateful and thankful their story is on TV, because post-traumatic stress has always been a taboo subject.
You already have “Mc” built into your real name, but what about a Mc-nickname for your character?
I don’t want one! On the show they’ve been joking about him being a Ginger. Maybe it’ll be McGinger. But I’d rather it be McBadAss.
You’ve been in a lot of movies and TV shows over the years. What do fans usually recognize you for most?
It’s a split demographic. If it’s a guy who comes up to me, it usually has something to do with Rome (above), and if it’s a lady it definitely has to do with Grey’s Anatomy.
How would you describe yourself when you’re not playing a role?
Passionate, private, motivated, loving and sometimes stubborn.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m taking ice skating lessons at the moment. My son plays ice hockey and I enjoy taking him to the games, so I’m hoping I can coach ice hockey 101 with him and poke around the ice rink. I can almost skate backwards, but I’m not quite there yet. Joseph makes fun of me, but that’s OK. He’s a much better skater than I am.
What do you do to relax?
I play guitar — everything from folk music to jazz and blues.
If you had to be on a reality show, which would it be?
I hate reality TV, but if I had to choose I’d say Amazing Race or Survivor — something that’s outdoorsy and requires skill. I’m attached to a movie at the moment (with Trainspotting alum Ewan McGregor) about guys who climb Mount Everest, and they want to shoot a lot of it at the base camp on Mount Everest, so I’m going to need to get into shape for that.
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
The perfect day would be me, my wife Jane, and the kids in our pajamas all day. We’d cook pancakes together, then Joseph would get on his drum kit and I’d play guitar. We’d jam all day, and I’d read to them before bedtime.
Patty Adams is a New York City-based writer whose work has been published in Seventeen, Fitness, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan and Redbook.