HBO promo vid for Rome Season One
HBO promo vid for Rome Season Two
Just when you thought it was over...
December 4, 2008
By: Robert Greenberger.
"'Rome' Leaps from HBO to Silver Screen: Series not Quite Dead yet."
"There is talk of doing a movie version," Bruno Heller told The Hollywood Reporter about Rome. "It's moving along. It's not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off."
The show, which starred Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson, ran for just two seasons on HBO but was deemed too costly a project to continue despite reasonable ratings. The network counted the beans and effectively canceled the series before the second season could even air in spring 2007. To the premium channel’s surprise, the series earned four Emmy Awards for the first season plus seven more awards and remarkably good ratings for the second.
With HBO now admitting their mistake, Heller is at work on a feature when not working on CBS’ The Mentalist, the one sure fire ratings hit among freshman series. As for McKidd’s Lucius, who died at the end of the series, "It was very deliberate that we saw him drifting away but didn't see him atop a funeral pyre," Heller said.
The original series bible called for the third season to feature the “hedonistic Roman leaders to deal with the rise of a certain problematic rabbi -- a story line that would have put a whole new spin on the Greatest Story Ever Told and potentially bring Rome a larger audience.”
"I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end," Heller said. "The second was going to end with death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There's certainly more than enough history to go around."
Should the movie get a green light, rounding up the cast may be tough as the lead actors have all found other work. McKidd can be found on Grey's Anatomy with Stevenson next seen this Friday in The Punisher: War Zone and Polly Walker set for Sci Fi Channel’s Caprica.
April 16, 2008
By Tom O'Neil
Source: LA Times
Right now HBO is shipping out its Emmy campaign box to the 14,000 members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Presentation is simple, understated and efficient: two bound volumes measuring about 7 inches square, containing 13 disks each. In between each program sleeve is a cloudy, transparent sheet with a few quotes from major media. One of the three quotes before the "Entourage" section, for example, is a cheer from the Wall Street Journal: "Smart, sharp and funny . . . It's a total blast."
Facing each DVD sleeve is a list of who should be considered for which category. "Entourage" rascals Kevin Connolly and Adrian Grenier are shooting for lead comedy actor. "Rome" touts these lead performers: James Purefoy, Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker and Lindsay Duncan. "Deadwood" leads: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker. "Sopranos" leads: just James Gandolfini and Edie Falco. "The Wire" - only Michael K. Williams. "Extras" - only Ricky Gervais. "Lucky Louie" - Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon. Also program category placement. Contrary to rumor, "Comic Relief" aims for that grab-bag "special class" category, not variety/comedy.
The box is much like the one HBO shipped last year. "We decided to keep the package simple and not too builky again," says a HBO spokesman. "We just made a few, small improvements."
BOUND VOLUME (13 Discs)
"Sopranos" — "Sopranos Home Movies," "Stage 5"
"Entourage" — "One Day in the Valley," "Three's Company," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Sorry, Ari"
"The Wire" — "That's Got His Own," "Final Grades"
"Deadwood" — "A Two-Headed Beast," "The Catbird Seat"
"Rome" — "Philippi," De Patra Vostro (About Your Father)"
"Extras" — "Orlando Bloom," "David Bowie," "Daniel Radcliffe," "Chris Martin," "Ian McKellen," "Jonathan Ross, Robert Lindsay and Robert De Niro"
"Lucky Louie" — "Pilot," "Flowers for Kim," "Discipline," "Kim Moves Out"
"Real Time with Bill Maher" — "Sept. 8, 2006 - Guests: P.J. O'Rourke, Rob Thomas, Joan Walsh, David Gregory, Benjamin Netanyahu." "Oct. 6, 2006 - Guests: Richard Clarke, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Robin Williams, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Sen. John Kerry, Chris Matthews"
"When the Levees Broke" (2 disks)
"Ghosts of Abu Ghraib"
"Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs & Blockbusters"
"The Music in Me: Children's Recitals"
BOUND VOLUME (13 Disks)
"Tsunami: The Aftermath"
"Comic Relief 2006: Help New Orleans Laugh"
"Lewis Black: Red, White & Screwed"
"Dane Cook: Vicious Circle"
"Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired"
"Roseanne Barr: Blonde and Bitchin'"
"George Lopez: America's Mexican"
"Louis C.K.: Shameless"
"Cedric the Entertainer: Taking You Higher"
"Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles, Part 1"
June 16, 2007
By: Vicki Power
Source: Daily Record.
"Kevin's right to Rome; This Kidd is in big demand after donning a skirt in TV drama."
He's played a Roman soldier for the last two years yet Kevin McKidd admits there's one thing he's still not mastered - how to sit down in a skirt without giving people an eyeful. "I know, I know," he says, sitting in his dressing room with his legs clamped firmly together on the set of Rome, the bonkbuster series co-starring Ray Stevenson and Polly Walker that returns to BBC2 this week. "I've got used to wearing a dress and feel comfortable with it but I can't keepmy legs together. "Ray says, 'Hell man, you've been in that thing for two years. Can you not learn that people can see right up your skirt?' Actually, I think Ray gets a longer one."
When we meet at the legendary Cinecitta Studios outside Rome, Kevin's nearing the end of filming the second and final series of Rome and admits he won't be sorry to say goodbye to his costume. "I'll be relieved not to be in a dress all the time," says the 33-year-old. "I hate the sandals, too. The soles of my feet are like cowhide." But that's about all McKidd has got to complain about, given that Rome has catapulted the Scots actor to stardom Stateside and landed him a new US TV series. So far he's had a decent, if generally unstarry, acting career that started off promisingly in 1996 with Trains potting in which he played the unfortunate Tommy. But while his co-stars Ewan McGregor and Kelly Macdonald became household names, Kevin (who was famously left off the promotional poster) sunk back into obscurity. "When Train spotting got so big, everybody said it was going to do amazing things for my career and it didn't," Kevin says. "It did for Ewan McGregor and a couple of the other guys but it really didn't formeand I spent the next year working in a pub."
Now, thanks to Rome, the bloodthirsty, sex-laden swords-and-sandals series set in Julius Caesar's time, it's all happening for Kevin. The acclaimed EUR100- million series made by HBO, producers of The Sopranos, won four Emmys last year and has entranced US audiences and TV bosses. McKidd, who plays upright soldier Lucius Vorenus, and Stevenson, as Vorenus's loose cannon mate Titus Pullo, have emerged as the series' stars. But McKidd speaks modestly of the career boost. "People seem to be more aware that I exist now," he says. "I still have to go to auditions because it's a very competitive market with a lot of very good actors fighting for the same roles. "Before, I wasn't even getting into the room and meeting somebody, whereas now I'm getting into the room slightly more. But who knows what the future holds?" He admits that having made such a mark in Rome, he is concerned about being typecast. "As far as roles as a doctor in a medical drama or a lawyer in a court drama is concerned, it might be a danger," Kevin says. "I've been getting a lot of offers as soldiers lately, which is worrying."
No need. Shortly after our interview, McKidd, who's had an LA agent for several years, landed the lead role in a US television series called Journeyman, in which he plays an ordinary American family guy who suddenly finds himself travelling back to the past with the power to change people's lives for the better - and sometimes for worse. It debuts on the NBC network this autumn and is likely to make McKidd even more famous in the US, but much as he deserves better roles, the modest actor doesn't enjoy the fame or fan mail that come with them. "You do get people sending letters but it's a bit weird for me," says Kevin uncomfortably. "Usually when I'm in the supermarket, people will come up to me and say, 'Have I met you at a party?' "But the other day a woman came up to me and said, 'You're Kevin McKidd - Rome.' "That was the first time it had ever happened and it was a bit weird, actually. To be honest, I didn't like it very much."
Nevertheless, he'd better get used to having his shopping trips disrupted once Rome begins again, since it's proven to be a perfect showcase for the burly, blue-eyed actor's talents. The second series picks up moments after the first ended with Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) sprawled on the floor of the Senate after being assassinated by Brutus (Tobias Menzies). At the same time Vorenus is enduring his own personal tragedy - his wife, Niobe (Indira Varma), has just thrown herself off the balcony of the family home after her enraged husband confronted her about her adultery and the love child she had until then managed to keep secret. "At the end of first season Vorenus has this huge, terrible awakening of the deceit that has engulfed his family," Kevin says. Life grows more tragic when, shortly after Niobe's death, Vorenus's children are snatched by vengeful local gang leader Erastes Fulmen (Lorcan Cranitch), who later reveals he's murdered them in revenge for all the wrongs Vorenus has done. As Vorenus grows mean and vengeful, Mark Antony decides he's the perfect man to take over the gangland area of the city and keep the various factions in line to ensure the smooth running of the vital food supply. The change in him from upstanding soldier to feared ganglord was a gift to McKidd. "Vorenus is a much darker and sinister character this season, not the moralistic centre of the show any more," says Kevin. "It's really good fun to get the chance to totally flip the character. Pullo becomes the more domesticated of the two this time." One of the perks of playing a Roman thug is the fight scenes. "That was fantastic," Kevin says. "We worked for weeks on getting it right. Lots of screen fights look stagey, so we wanted ours to look messy and ugly as possible. It was tiring but very satisfying. "I was biting him (Stevenson) and we were biting each other and flying out of windows, like in an old western bar room brawl. It was really good fun."
The downside of filming in Rome for so long is that Kevin was separated from his wife Jane and children Joseph and Iona, who stayed at home in Bedfordshire. "I flew back most weekends, even if it was just to get 36 hours at home, and my family spent all the time on their holidays with me," he says. He did have one constant companion, the family's pampered pooch Rosie, who has joined us in the interview. "She's flying home tomorrow and it's costing me 750 euros, plus a box for 250 euros," he says. "I could buy five new dogs for that."
Kevin is now living in LA during the filming of Journeyman and has been showing Lee Boardman, who plays Rome's Timon, around the town as Boardman arrives this month for interviews with TV bosses. Stevenson has also landed a US series, Babylon Fields, and Indira Varma has also been offered high-profile TV work. So it's no skin off their noses that HBO pulled the plug on Rome after the second series, due to its huge budget. Apart from the obvious bonus of being able to ditch the dress, Kevin has mixed emotions. "It's a bitter-sweet feeling," he says. "It's been a tough show to work on, with long hours and hard graft and being away from home. "But in the end there's no point in being disappointed because it's a pretty incredible thing to have been a part of. "Rome is going to be one of those landmark things that I can look back on when I'm lying on my death bed."
'When Trainspotting got so big everybody said it was going to do amazing things for my career but it didn't'
The Scots actor found oblivion not fame after Trains potting - but swords and sandals hit Rome has put Kevin McKidd back on the A-list.
April 29, 2007
By Elizabeth Tai
Source: The Star Online.
Here’s one of the leading men of Rome and Rome II, who’s relieved he has got fewer sex scenes in the series than his co-stars. I'm not very interesting," Kevin McKidd insists. I don’t believe him, of course. But the 33-year-old Scottish actor, known for his role as the honourable Roman soldier Lucius Vorenus in the HBO-BBC series Rome, says that he was a shy, tongue-tied kid who stumbled onto acting because he discovered that he could express himself better as an actor. Furthermore, he doesn’t think it is an actor’s job to make people interested in them. "I am not an actor because I want to be a celebrity," he says in a light Scottish accent. McKidd, who looks decidedly more casual in jeans and white shirt than the very proper Vorenus, is in HBO Asia’s offices in Singapore to promote the second season of Rome, which premieres on regional television next week. (The actor met with the media last Tuesday.) Thanks to Vorenus’ intimidating presence, one tends to think that McKidd is as intense as the stern soldier. But in real life, McKidd is a light-hearted and talkative fellow whose "vice" is that he’s a bit of a gadget freak.
The unpretentious and down-to-earth actor, together with his beautiful, publicity-shy wife, gamely joins us reporters for a pottery-making session at Boon’s Pottery and later for a noisy dinner at Brown Sugar, a fusion restaurant in River Valley Road. Stardom has not quite swelled his head. "I live a very quiet life, really," he says. (He makes his home in a cottage in the English countryside with his wife and two children – one aged seven, and the other is five.) He claims that his role in Rome hasn’t changed his personal life much, even though the powers that be behind American television are very interested in his leading man potential (see Rome leads to roles). Interestingly, McKidd nearly didn’t become Vorenus because he had turned it down when it was first offered to him. "I thought: ‘American TV show? Nah,’" he says. Back then, he had been doing lots of independent cinema in Europe, and didn’t know what it meant to star in a HBO original series because the cable channel was not available in Britain. Plus, he didn’t realise that it would be broadcast internationally. If not for his agent, who asked him to reconsider, we may have a very different Vorenus!
"If you look at Rome, it’s a very high-class, high-end soap opera. And I think that’s what keeps people watching. "Coming from the film world, I used to be snobby about it, but I came to realise that I was in denial. It is a soap opera." And a good one, mind you.
For 179 days in 2006, McKidd had to wake up at 5.30am to get to Cinecittà Studios (in Rome, Italy) to shoot the second season of Rome. Considering that an average 22-episode series takes 160 to 180 days of production, it was certainly a mammoth task to make the 10 episodes of Rome II. The actor recalled working 14-hour (or more) days that often included strenuous battle scenes. "It’s a boy’s dream come true to ride horses and swing swords, so I will try not to complain," he says with a chuckle. "Now, Ray (Stevenson, who portrays Titus Pullo) is a terrible complainer," he adds cheekily. The actors had to wear actual chain mail – no plastic ones for them – because the producers wanted the costumes to be as realistic as possible. "Wearing them for 14 hours was like you’d been in the gym for four hours. Which was great!" he says, laughing. However, standing around for 14 hours in heavy chain mail didn’t do favours for their feet. The actors absolutely hated the leather sandals they had on because the soles were only half an inch (slightly over 1cm) thick. "They were agony. Your arches were dropping. And we thought, ‘Why can’t we get Birkenstocks?’ My kingdom for a decent pair of sandals!" he says in jest.
Eventually, they managed to convince the producers to tone down the realism a notch to allow them to wear leather sandals with proper arch support! Besides its attention to detail, Rome is also famous for pushing the envelope with its brutal battles and steamy love scenes. The producers argue that they needed to portray an era where such debauchery was commonplace and an accepted part of life. Love scenes are never easy for the actors to act out, admits McKidd. He feels especially sorry for James Purefoy, who plays the womanising Mark Antony. "Poor James. At one point he said, ‘I’m so sick of having to take my f***ing clothes off every episode!’" McKidd had fewer sex scenes only because his character is a principled man who is loyal to his wife. "Those scenes are awkward for an actor to do. There’s not one actor I’ve met – male or female – who has said that they enjoy steamy scenes," says McKidd. "They’re embarrassing; you’ve got lights, you’re worried about the way you look ... yuck," he says, making a face. "I think I got off lucky," he chuckles.
A dark turn
But while being Vorenus was fun, McKidd was always aware of the heavy responsibility he had as the lead actor of an expensive production. "That was quite scary, but it made you stronger in the long run. Now, there’s not much to faze me in this career," he says. In Season One, McKidd was very hands-on, and even contributed to the writing process. But it was taking a toll on him after a while. "It was exhausting, and I wasn’t enjoying myself. And I made a note to myself that I wasn’t going to do that in Season Two, but to focus on my acting." Just as well he did for Vorenus was slated to undergo a massive personality change in the second season. "Vorenus is the kind of man who, no matter what happens, will stick to his principles. It can get frustrating after a while. I had been desperate for him to do something a bit more out of control and out of character," he says.
He got his wish in Season Two; Vorenus is going to a dark place. "Vorenus has lost everything in his life and because he has nothing to live for he has a certain power he hasn’t had before ... he’s released from himself," says McKidd. To prepare himself for a darker Vorenus, McKidd watched Asian films like the South Korean movie Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, the crime thriller directed by Park Chan-wook. "Vorenus wants to die in some bloody battlefield, and because he has no fear of death he becomes strangely invincible and unkillable," he says. And that means lots of physically-demanding battles such as the fight between Vorenus and his best pal Titus. "It was hard, sweaty work for three days in a dark studio, knocking lumps ateach other," he says. "Ray damaged his thumb. He’s quite accident-prone," he says, laughing. (Stevenson also fell off his horse thrice and dislocated his shoulder during filming.)
There were also many more emotionally-draining scenes such as the one that involved Vorenus’ children. "I have children ... and the idea of playing a scene about young children under your care that you allowed to fall into abuse ... the kind of guilt that a parent will feel ... the horrible emotions that you have to go through. That was hard. I know how visceral that emotion would be," he says. "There were some days it was almost as if I had given myself a headache because of the level of intensity I had to get to. In real life I’m light-hearted generally, so to get to that place, that kind of intensity, was exhausting," he relates.
Ironically, after being released from the straitjacket of Vorenus’ principles, McKidd finds that he prefers the Vorenus of Season One. "He had that innocence that is stripped from him in Season Two. In a way, he was naive, that was one of his faults, but he had ideals he hoped he could live up to. It’s very sad, but you have to open his eyes to the truth so that he becomes less ideal (sic)," he says.
When executive producer Bruno Heller told McKidd that there wouldn’t be a third season, the latter was naturally sad. "Bruno said, ‘The great thing about this is that they’ve given us 10 episodes and now I can put three seasons worth of storylines all in one intense, 10-episode, kick-a*** season.’ "But it’s much more punchy because we know we have only one season to tell everything," McKidd says.
There's No Place Like Rome: An Interview with McKidd and Stevenson
Updated, January 10, 2007
by Peter Johnson
Source USA TODAY
When we left our heroes on HBO's Rome, which returns Sunday (9 ET/PT) for its second season, warriors Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) find their worlds turned upside down. Gaius Julius Caesar has been assassinated. The cool, savvy Vorenus is in a deep funk from his wife's suicide -- after he learns she bore an illegitimate child he thought was his. He has lost everything dear to him. Meanwhile, hot-blooded Pullo, after impulsively killing the fiancé of the woman he loves, has married her. He's looking forward to a more stable life. British actors McKidd (Kingdom of Heaven), 33, and Stevenson (King Arthur), 42, talk to USA TODAY about Rome's second and final season.
Q: Men seem to love Rome. Why?
Stevenson: What resonates with guys is true friendship and loyalty, and that transcends the relationship you have with women. It's very important for the male psyche to have a best mate. Even if he's someone you wouldn't describe as your best buddy at the moment, he's the guy you go to when your back is against the wall. Or, if he turned up on your doorstep, you'd give him the shirt off your back.
McKidd: A lot of men respond to the fact that rarely do you see a genuine, deep male friendship portrayed this way on TV. There's usually some kind of spin. But with these two, it's a very old-fashioned, deep friendship, a love for each other that men seem to respond to.
Q: What do women think of Vorenus and Pullo?
McKidd: Initially, women said to me, "Whoa, you're kind of harsh to your wife," but as their relationship unraveled and they started to have genuine love for each other, the female reaction seemed to shift.
Stevenson: Women come up and say they love my character, although they find him a bit violent -- they say it tongue-in-cheek -- but the guys really connect.
Q: What's ahead for Vorenus?
McKidd: He goes through all the stages of grief and is given a new job cleaning up the streets of Rome. Essentially he becomes the leader of the underworld of Rome, a job that suits him well because of the darkness that surrounds him. That makes him quite a formidable force to be reckoned with: He doesn't have anything to lose anymore.
Q: How about Pullo?
Stevenson: Pullo starts to realize he's not the stupid oaf and he can make the call. Things are going well, but Vorenus' life is spiraling out of control, so he allows Vorenus a lot of rope -- while making sure (Vorenus) doesn't hang himself.
Q: What have your characters taught you?
Stevenson: Pullo doesn't look around and think "Vorenus is a senator, maybe I should be a senator." He says, "Vorenus doesn't look too happy." He has a Zen outlook; he is where he is, and he's going to make the most of it. Actors are fraught with insecurities. We're always thinking "George Clooney's having a great career and why can't I get a movie?" It's absolutely ridiculous and pointless. What happens is, you're missing the life you have.
McKidd: Don't trust your wife's sister's husband (who cuckolded Vorenus). You never know what he might do. How's that for deep? Actually, the more Vorenus gains financially, the more he sells out his ideals. That's a good lesson for anyone: What you get through outward success isn't necessarily what you want or need.
Q: What's next for you?
Stevenson: I'm shooting my first horror movie, called Outpost. I head a team supposedly checking up on minerals and geology, but actually it's far more sinister.
McKidd: A movie about (poet) Dylan Thomas that starts in March. It's set in his later years, so I have to gain a few pounds because he dies a horrible alcoholic.
The Evening Standard (London)
January 13, 2006 Friday
SECTION: ES MAG; Pg. 29
BYLINE: MARIANNE MACDONALD; GAVANNDRA HODGEBODY:
HBO and BBC's Rome is the most expensive TV epic ever made. Out of the gore and discarded togas of the first series rose two triumphant British stars: Polly Walker and Kevin McKidd.
Marianne Macdonald hails the heroine and Gavanndra Hodge greets the standard-bearer
Polly Walker's screen alter ego, Atia, was the most flamboyant character on television in 2005.
Undoubtedly the star of the BBC and HBO's grand and wildly expensive drama Rome, when we first see her, in her elaborate red wig and very little else, she is having raucous sex with a tradesman in front of her longsuffering slave. Next we watch her naked in a bath, chatting to her embarrassed teenage son (the future Augustus Caesar). She goes on to immerse herself in sacrificial bull's blood and to flog her servant to work off a vile mood. It was a tour de force from Polly, and earned her a Golden Globe nomination as best actress in a TV drama (the series has also been nominated but no other actor). It was also a phoenix-like career move for the 39-year-old actress who has gone from early Hollywood highs as Harrison Ford's terrorist costar in Patriot Games at 23 to single motherhood, struggles with men and unemployment.
For Polly, the role of Rome's resident power broker was irresistible, despite all the nudity.
'When I read the script,' she observes, coal-black hair framing a sweet curving mouth, 'my eyes got wider and wider. Although I never considered not taking the part because I didn't find it offensive.
The guys that I was doing the scenes with were so brave and such a laugh.
At one point, I was sat on top of the actor [Lee Boardman] who played Timon, going, "Please, for God's sake, make sure you cover my tits!" He went, "Don't worry about your tits, cover my tits!" ' She cracks up. 'But I did say sorry a lot. I had a very sweet Italian lady glued to my side playing my body slave, who saw me in different states and various positions. I was like, "Sorry you're having to see my arse!" And the guy I had to whip' She shakes her head. 'Apparently, in Roman times, if you were a bit pissed off, you could call on one of your servants and say: "I'll whip you now," and get it out of your system.
The whip was actually string, but I remember looking at this poor man cowering in the corner and saying, "I hope I'm not hurting you!"' Atia, a role Polly will reprise in the second series, being filmed this year, is the high point of a career notable for its peaks and troughs. She had a strong start; after three years at the Drama Centre London she went straight on tour with the RSC, playing the second gravedigger to Mark Rylance's Hamlet, then she got the title role in the 1990 TV adaptation of Lorna Doone and next came Patriot Games. Polly was flown to Los Angeles to audition with instructions to bring her own underwear. She found herself onstage in her bra and knickers, watched by Ford and the producer, miming shooting someone. It may have been non-PC, but she got the part. 'There were lots of other glamorous girls being tested that day and I felt very ordinary and inadequate,' she says. 'Sean Bean was auditioning, too. We realised we'd got the parts and were on the same plane on the way back, in business class, and we were so relieved we drank champagne all the way. When we landed I couldn't get my boots back on!' Next came Enchanted April in 1992 with Joan Plowright, filmed in Tuscany where Polly met her first husband. He was an Italian businessman (she has never named him or any of her exes); they married the same year and she went to live in the medieval hilltop town of Bergamo. Polly had a son, Giorgio, in 1994; a year later the marriage broke down and Polly moved back to London. 'It was difficult and worrying.
But we all have our journeys. And what's the alternative? Fall to pieces?
It's so long ago now, all those feelings are kind of long buried. And, you know, I can handle it. My mum Georgina helps me out massively.
She steps in and holds the fort for me, and so do my two sisters.' With her mother's help, Polly was able to keep working; she made the disappointing Sliver with Sharon Stone, Restoration with Robert Downey Jr, Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow (Polly played Jane Fairfax) and The Woodlanders with Rufus Sewell. But then she met her next serious partner and in 2000 had her second child, Delilah, again separating from the father of her child soon after the birth. She has never explained why her relationships fell apart; both men, she insists, were the 'love of her life' at the time. All she will say is that 'men require a lot of work and attention'. Still, as a single mother with two children, she was forced to put her career on the back burner, taking a three-year break.
'A lot of times I couldn't work, and people would say, "Oh, you disappeared, when everything was so amazing for you," ' she recalls. 'But I had kids!
Babies to feed. I found it very difficult to reconcile the two things. It was definitely a heartache. I remember after I had Delilah I was back working after eight weeks, strapped into a corset on some set. And I was only away a few days and my mum was looking after her, so I didn't feel worried, but it was too early to be out there. I felt completely mad. I was lying in my horrible dingy hotel room and I could hear babies crying, I kept hearing phantom babies crying! So I've had to make sacrifices definitely, and I suppose my career has suffered as a result. But I'd much rather that my children are happy and secure, which I think they are.
I'm very happy. I'd like more children, I love babies, so I'll have to keep my legs crossed I think for a bit!' Polly reignited her career in 2002, appearing in the well-received TV dramas State of Play, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jeffrey Archer: The Truth. She now lives in Chiswick with her children and her partner of two years, a Welsh actor. 'I've finally learned my lesson. I've sampled alternative cultures and I've realised I have to be with a Welshman to make me happy! I suppose that's what life's about: you learn on the way, and I've finally settled down and I'm really happy, actually. Lucky, finally! I think I used to be in cloud-cuckoo-land, tearing around places like a headless chicken. I'm much more grown up now. And I've finally met this wonderful person who's taken us all on. What's nice,' she adds with real feeling, 'is to finally have something in common with someone.
The same points of reference, and being able to laugh at the same things, rather than trying to find the funny side of an Italian sitcom. I can't be bothered any more.' Polly says she and Giorgio are 'very close, because he was my little mate for so long, travelling round in hotel rooms. He'd come with me onlocation, he was like my mini-husband. He didn't go to school till he was six. That's what's forced me to put down roots finally, because I think otherwise I'd still be bobbing about. I wanted him to have a normal existence and school friends and clubs and swimming practice. And Delilah's a brilliant little artist, and it's nice to have a girl as well.' Polly herself is one of four: her older sister Emma lives over the road in Chiswick, her little sister Hannah is a fulltime mother, and younger brother Danny an antique glass specialist. Her father Arthur continues to run his country house hotel in Statham, Cheshire, where her mother Georgina, a retired art teacher, also works.
As a child, Polly always wanted to dance. At ten, she boarded at The Bush Davies Ballet School in East Grinstead. 'I missed my mum massively,' she says. 'I kept a pillowcase that my mother had folded. I put it on my pillow.
At night I'd open it and kiss along the creases her hand had touched!' She grins. 'But I never saw coming home as an option.' At 16, Polly graduated to the Ballet Rambert School in Twickenham, 'but my heart wasn't in it. As soon as the teacher's back was turned I'd be the first one leaning on the barre.'
She wasn't sorry when she had to stop dancing at 17 because her body, overcome by the barrage of training, began to buckle, literally, at the knees.
Her parents sent her to a French convent, a decision she finds surprising today. 'It was daunting and quite hard at first.' But she emerged fluent in French and, as her sister Emma was going to Oxford, decided to try there, too, but was rejected by every university she applied for to do art, so she went to drama school, 'which is where I was meant to go anyway. I was never meant for academic life.' Polly has a powerful personality; once she has established what she wants, she acts on her decisions, and seems content with the paths she has chosen.
'I've not had much money,' she remarks, 'but it's rare to find an actor who's rolling in it. And I have quite expensive taste in shoes and handbags I blow it all.' Her money, these days, goes on sending the children to private schools. 'I live off baked beans when I'm at home.' Will they become actors as well? She flings up her hands passionately. 'They're not allowed to be!
Banned! Banned! They're both displaying extraordinary' She shakes her head in horror. 'I don't want that life for them!" Still, it is a life that hasn't done Polly Walker badly. Atia of the Julii, I think, would be singularly impressed.
Ten years ago Kevin McKidd had just finished making Trainspotting, one of the most influential films of the Nineties; but, out of work for six months by the time of the premiere, he walked home in the rain because he didn't have the money for a taxi. It has taken him a decade of slogging away at worthy, low-budget cinema (Topsy-Turvy, Dog Soldiers, Sixteen Years of Alcohol...) to finally find himself in a production of equal impact, Rome, in which he played Lucius Vorenus, first spear centurion of Caesar's loyal 13th legion.'It's great, for the first time in my life I can come to a smart place like this and have a meal and not worry about being overdrawn.' We are sitting in the glossy Soho Hotel and McKidd is gobbling down a plate of eggs Benedict, after which he, very politely, steals my biscuits and finishes them off, too.
It's hungry work, serving as a legionary.
'For years and years I was just chasing my own tail, trying to get myself out of debt. Once I needed money so badly I agreed to be in a film called The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, a reworking of Romeo and Juliet told through the eyes of leprechauns.' It was an unlikely casting for the 32-year-old actor. In fact, I have never met anyone less like a leprechaun.
He is a 6ft 2in, burly, deep-voiced Scot, the wide-eyed innocent of his Trainspotting days long morphed into a hard, ruggededged creature. He may be endlessly affable in person, genuinely delighted by his success, but he has the cold eyes and rough-hewn features of a blood-hungry warrior. It is a look that Hollywood has taken to its bosom. McKidd is involved in three more lavish productions: The Last Legion, another Roman epic, with Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley, in which he plays Wulfila, the shaggy-haired leader of the marauding Ostrogoths; Young Hannibal, the story of Hannibal Lecter's dysfunctional childhood, in which McKidd is a terrifying Lithuanian called Kolnas; and there is also The Virgin Queen, the BBC's new offering, in which he plays the unfortunate Duke of Norfolk (his imprisonment by Elizabeth led to the Northern Rebellion, and he was eventually executed for his involvement in the Mary Queen of Scots Ridolphi plot). Then in March it is back to Cinecitta and the Styrofoam Senate House for the next instalment of Rome.
'My career certainly seems to have gone up a notch. Some actors have their time early on, and then just get fat, while others grow into their faces. I think I am becoming more interesting as I get older.' McKidd grew up in Elgin, a small town near Inverness in the Highlands; his father was a plumber, his mother a secretary. 'There wasn't much money about, we lived in a two-up, twodown council house without any central heating; pretty tough in the north of Scotland. I had a paraffin heater at the end of my bed. Still, it was a beautiful place; as a child I could play all day in the fields it was an old-fashioned kind of childhood.' But as a teenager McKidd felt stifled. 'I remember thinking that there were things going on in the world, and I was stuck out almost at the furthest point from where anything was happening.' He escaped provincial life when he went to Edinburgh to study engineering at the behest of his parents, who knew their son was clever and wanted him to make the most of it. 'I was one of the first people in my family to go to university, and that was a big thing, but I hated engineering, and after two months stopped going to lectures and joined the Edinburgh University Theatre Company.' After a year McKidd dropped out formally and did three years of drama school at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University College. He got the role in Trainspotting as tragic Tommy, the fitness fanatic who dies of an AIDS-related illness, almost directly after graduation.
'I felt very green and inexperienced when I was making that film, just in awe of the whole thing and all the other actors. Kelly [Macdonald] was the only person there younger than me and I think she found it hard, too. I was painfully shy at the time. If I did it now I would have a much more enjoyable experience; I am a much more confident person.' Nevertheless, Trainspotting gave McKidd's career a serious kick-start, and he moved down to London to embark on his lean years of theatre and poorly financed British films.
In 1999 he met his wife Jane, three years his junior, who was working in the box office of the Albery Theatre while he was appearing in Coriolanus at the Almeida.
'Our eyes met and that was it; we were married six months later and Jane was pregnant with Joseph not long after that.' The family lived in Camberwell until the day Damilola Taylor was killed just around the corner. 'We heard the commotion and saw the gang of kids running outside our door. Joseph was two months old; that was the moment we decided to leave the city.' The McKidds now live in rural bliss in a village just outside Bedford; Joseph is five and they have a daughter, Iona, three, and a new Jack Russell, cocker spaniel-cross puppy called Rosie Pink. 'My one extravagance since I received my Rome paycheck,' he says.
The series has received mixed reviews in the UK, but has been a roaring success in the US, where, apparently, toga parties are all the rage and four more series have been pencilled in.
McKidd's character, Vorenus, is the linchpin, the common man through the eyes of whom the debauched and bloody upheavals of the final days of the Republic are observed.
'He is such a great character to play; he is very staunch and rigid.'
Vorenus is, in fact, a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, but McKidd plays him brilliantly and the character is far more nuanced than some of the more cartoonish Roman aristocrats, such as the comically libidinous Mark Antony as played by James Purefoy.
'I can't wait to go back to Rome, the whole family are coming out with me again. Last time we had 14 months there and we lived in such a beautiful house on the Appia Antica, we used to pinch ourselves every day.' Kevin McKidd is going to have to keep pinching himself, because, as Hollywood's favourite new axe-wielding warrior, life can only get better.
From Trainspotting to World-Conquering
October 22, 2005
By: Benjamin Secher
Rome star Kevin McKidd tells Benjamin Secher about his second stab at fame
Reclining so far back in his chair that he's almost horizontal, his bulky arms crossed behind his head, Kevin McKidd stares at the ceiling and thinks how best to sum-up the brawny, battle-savvy soldier he plays in Rome. "Lucius Vorenus is incredibly uptight, anal, difficult, recalcitrant, and unfashionable" he says, a huge grin hanging between dashingly well-defined cheekbones. "But that's exactly the way I like him."
Kevin McKidd: 'the moral centre of the show' Vorenus is certainly not the kind of hero we're used to seeing in a lavish primetime drama. As a foot soldier in Caesar's army, he has a worm's eye view of society; to choose him as the main mouthpiece for a drama about the Roman Empire is as counter-intuitive as entrusting the story of the Great Plague to a rat.
Low in rank, he also lacks the hedonistic exuberance that the series suggests was the defining spirit of the age. While the loftier characters are shown revelling in sexual naughtiness and sensual excess, Vorenus is - initially, at least - lumbered with the stuffy sensibility of a disapproving onlooker.
"He's set up as the moral centre of the show," says McKidd. "The sexual mores of the time dictated that you could shag anything with a heartbeat, but for some reason this guy has a much more modern outlook. He's a man out of step with the values of his time, a bit of an outsider, I suppose".
In many ways, this makes the level-headed, softly-spoken McKidd the perfect man to play him. A decade ago, he was rocketed into the international limelight by the success of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. His memorable performance, as the tragic, well-meaning Tommy, should have been enough to secure him a golden future on the screen, alongside his cast mates Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle.
But on the brink of stardom, the 22-year old hesitated. "I was still living in Glasgow at the time and all my mates were telling me I had to go to Hollywood, and take the chances available," he says. "But something inside me just said 'no'. It was frightening. I had this gut feeling that if I went to LA, I would get chewed up and spat out."
Instead, McKidd stayed in Britain, keeping a relatively low profile and mixing interesting roles in "theatre and low-budget film stuff" (Regeneration, Topsy-Turvy, Dog Soldiers) with the odd cameo in a mainstream feature - most recently Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. It was while filming the latter that HBO, the mighty US TV network, offered McKidd the role of Vorenus.
Again the actor hesitated, until Liam Neeson explained why turning down HBO would be madness. "I'm not a big TV watcher," says McKidd apologetically, "so I didn't realise the kind of cachet they have. I was thinking of taking some theatre work instead, but then Liam brought me up to speed and I quickly changed my mind."
In the States, where Rome has already started screening, to great acclaim, McKidd's reputation is suddenly ballooning. Initial suspicion about this unfamiliar gentle giant entrusted with the lead role in a $100 million series - "People over there don't have a clue who I am; they think I've come out of nowhere" - has quickly melted into popular and critical approval.
With a second series of Rome already commissioned and two major films in the pipeline, McKidd is once again staring celebrity in the face. "Celebrity?" he yelps, lurching upright with the full-body shudder of a cat attempting to dislodge a fur ball. "It's not something I'd wish on my worst enemy".
"My Rome was built in a daze; Scotts star Kevin McKidd reveals his panic as he filmed the BBC's savage and controversial history of the Roman Empire."
October 19, 2005
By: Paul English
Source: Daily Record
IN his biggest role to date he plays a bold and noble Roman soldier, but when Kevin McKidd first stepped on to the multi-million dollar set of new BBC2 epic Rome, he felt anything but brave. The Scots actor swapped the soft warmth of low-budget Scottish flicks like AfterLife and One Last Chance for the searing heat and brutal battle scenes in the Italian capital. But it wasn't the harsh content of the stunning new programme, due on our screens on November 2, that gave the Trainspotting star the jitters, it was the size of the task he took on.
Speaking at this week's London launch of the terrestrial blockbuster, Kevin, 32, said: "I was frightened when I came to this job, because of the magnitude of the thing, and the whole corporate element to it. "Before we filmed AfterLife (the tale ofa man struggling with professional ambition and family responsibility, with Paula Sage), I'd go for a beer with the writer to talk about the film. I was worried that wasn't the kind of thing that would happen on something as big as Rome."
The $110million series, a co-production between the BBC and big-hitting US production house HBO (Six Feet Under, Sex And The City and The Sopranos), cost the BBC pounds 800,000 per episode, and is easily the biggestproject Kevin has embraced to date. He said: "I worried that something of this size would become a mish mash of middle management, but thankfully, that didn't happen. "You actually realise the job is just the same, whether it's a pounds 50,000 budget or a pounds 500 million budget. "Thankfully, with Rome we've got a good team of people and the lines of communication remain quite clear. "When I first walked on to the set, having come off low budget films, I felt that I couldn't breathe. It felt like an elephant standing on my chest, but you quickly realise that to do your job you have to just do your job - that's the same regardless of budget size.
"Films like AfterLife and One Last Chance have been my bread and butter until now. "But something like this can potentially mean up to five years of your life (a second season has already been commissioned after a good response in the US). Yes, that might mean more cash in the bank, but it's a much bigger deal." For one thing, it means more time away from his wife Jane and their children, Iona and Joseph, at home outside London.
Kevin said: "It's hard when you have kids because they've changed so much when you get back, but you just have to travel back home a lot and bring them out when you can. It's a big balancing act, I love the job and my kids." But the enforced separation enabled him to empathise with his character's domestic plight early in the series. Kevin explained: "My character was apart from his wife for eight years. I know what it's like to be away from family and then go back and try to reconnect. So I think a lot of people will relate to that, people who work away on oil rigs or whatever."
Kevin plays Lucius Vorensus, a noble Roman foot soldier, honourable, true and severe. In a place and time where debauchery and violence were as commonplace to the people as pounds and pence are to us now Kevin's Luciusappears, despite his fierce combatant capability, to be a man of rare virtue surrounded by bankrupt morality. His military duty has prevented him from seeing wife Niobe for years, yet he has remained loyal despite others'waywardness. But when he returns home to find Niobe (Indira Varma) with a mystery baby in her arms, his loyalty looks to have been wasted. Kevin said: "My character becomes more complex as he goes along. He doesn't consummate his relationship in the first episode, and it takes them a while to get back on track."
The drama unfolds through the eyes of Lucius and his unpredictable cohort Titus Pullo, played by King Arthur actor Ray Stevenson, and the duo make an unlikely yet compelling pair. "They're like oil and water, they just don't mix," said Kevin. "But it doesn't stay that way, although even they don't know what it is that eventually attracts them to each other." Filming in extreme conditions helped the actors form a strong bond, but there were even reports that they both developed mild hypothermia.
Kevin said: "We filmed for a week at sea and were dry for about half an hour for the whole time." Co-star Ray added: "We were hit with a weather system, typhoons, lightning strikes, rain and a wind chill so it was warmer in the sea." But the pair lucked out when they only had to catch up with the rest of the extras playing soldiers at the tail end of their real-life boot camp, which they were forced to endure to authenticate the drama. Kevin said: "We're a bunch of luvvies, and due to contractual reasons we didn't do as much of the boot camp as I think we wanted to. "Everybody else had come back smelling of horse dung. We got off lightly, but it did help, definitely. "Billy Budd, the show's military expert, was good at keeping us up to speed, not just with marching and saluting, but with the whole ethos. "We were thrown in at the end, and they were all pretty hardened by that time. But we turned up and because I play their leader, Billy told me I had to address my men, give them an inspirational speech... in 10minutes. "It was probably the scariest acting exercise I've ever done." Ray reckons his fellow soldier won his 'charges' over, with a real battle-cry. He explained: "Kevin said something like 'Two thousand years ago, your forefathers stood where you stand now...' Everybody applauded."
The drama is not for the faint-hearted. It's strewn with graphic sex and drenched in blood, and will no doubt incense the clean-screen brigade with its bang-on-the-watershed time slot. A toned-down version was made for Italian TV, but Ray has no worries about offending anyone. He said: "The watershed is there to be exactly that - a watershed. I wouldn't mind if they started with a sex scene or a violent scene. I don't have a problem with that. "In fact, I have a problem with people who have a problem with that. People will be told there's graphic content. If you're going to be offended don't put yourself in that position."
WriterBruno Heller also defended the 11 episodes as an accurate depiction of the way things were in Roman society 52-44BC. "The Romans had an unashamed appreciation of those things," he said. "In the last 20-30 years of historical research more attention has been paid to the street level history in Rome - the history of the plebs. "There was a civil war at the time, and violence was very much a part of it. People can see sex and violence on the internet at 8am if they want to."
The series' historical consultant Jonathan Stamp suggested we'd be in for a rude awakening if we could see how the Romans lived. He said: "If we went back in time to ancient Rome, we'd be shattered by the ubiquity of physical cruelty and sexual behaviour." Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, backed up Heller adding: "HBO make 'grown up' pieces of broadcasting. "Every time sex is used, it's done to tell a story, it's never gratuitous, and is embedded in the story, so is violence."
And she conceded that the show is unlikely to draw as many viewers as Channel 4's Lost, despite Kevin's claims that it "held its own" alongside Desperate Housewives in the US. She said: "We won't be showing it the same way or as often as Lost," she said. "It's more difficult, complex stuff."
When in Rome
by Aidan Smith
Source: Scotland on Sunday
KEVIN McKidd's shoulders are broad but fame has never sat easily on them. When it was first offered up to him, he cast it off. "I had this attitude, if something did well, I would be like, 'Oh God, oh God, what's going to happen now?' and I'd get really paranoid and run away," he says, cringing at the memory.
That was the Elgin-born actor immediately after Trainspotting made his name and those of Ewan McGregor, Bobby Carlyle, Ewen Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller - but an older, wiser and altogether more confident McKidd sits before me sipping tea in Soho today.
I tell him he seems pretty sorted. "Aye, well, I've got my garden."
But he's got more than that: he's got his very own blockbuster. This is Rome, the most expensive BBC drama ever. The others in his Trainspotting crew all went on to bigger, though not always better, things. Now it's his turn to reach for the sun.
"I feel OK, I'm pretty relaxed and I don't mind if this is a hit," says the 31-year-old. The BBC, it's safe to assume, will be a bit more anxious about the series' success. Rome isn't entirely the Beeb's baby; it's a joint production with America's Home Box Office, costing £58m. But this is supposed to be the big, golden-era throwback drama to remind us that TV can be about more than singing competitions featuring twerps in daft haircuts and distressed jeans. If it flops, empires could fall again.
The 11-part, swords-and-sandals epic is already running in the United States, where critics have compared it unfavourably to I, Claudius and also to The Sopranos, possibly forgetting that whatever the excesses of sex and violence of a bunch of Italian-American gangsters, Ancient Rome did everything first, and worst, during a toga party that lasted 400 years. Reviews described McKidd as "honourable and dour", which is about as positive an opinion of a Scotsman as you're likely to get. Nevertheless, HBO has commissioned a second run; the first hits our screens next month.
Like I, Claudius, Rome covers a pivotal moment in western history, when Julius Caesar was marching the troubled republic into the era of empire. The Derek Jacobi series could tell its story while wandering in and out of a few wobbly pillars; the post-Gladiator crowd expects big-screen wows, even on TV, and Rome has had to be excessive in all aspects. With a fibreglass Forum as the centrepiece, it was filmed in Rome's Cinecitta Studios, on what McKidd says was the biggest set ever built. It was also the longest shoot of his career - 14 months, and he was involved every day.
"I remember big drama series like Jesus Of Nazareth and The Thorn Birds, but they were very much of their time in the 1970s. TV isn't supposed to do things on that scale any more, so the first day on set was pretty daunting and all I was doing was staring at the scaffolding. I remember telling myself, 'Right, it's just you and a couple of other actors fronting this up. If it doesn't work, it's not going to scurry off under the nearest stone. Don't muck up.'"
The action opens in 52BC. Eight years of war have resulted in the conquest of Gaul. Eight years on from this point, Caesar, played by Ciaran Hinds, will have been assassinated. Everyone is living for the moment, as only the Romans knew how to. "Any desire will be tolerated," says someone early on. The peel-me-a-grape classes enjoy live sex shows, the slaughter of entire species of animal, the best plumbing and ripping dialogue: "You piss-drinking sons of circus whores!" They, of course, look down on the lower orders: "What a dreadful noise the plebs make when they are happy." But two plebs are crucial to Rome, soldiers in the 13th legion mentioned in Caesar's account of the Gallic War: Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, played by Ray Stevenson and McKidd.
"My character's a bit of a Forrest Gump," says McKidd. "He not only arrives at the kind of great historical moment you read about in sixth-form studies, he changes events without realising through a kind of butterfly effect."
Pullo is the polar opposite of Vorenus. The former boasts: "Here I come, drinking all the wine, smoking every smoke and f****** every whore in the city!" And McKidd's character reprimands him: "Show some dignity - you are under the standard!"
Our man gets to kill a few people with "distilled, cold, pure violence" but isn't required for the numerous sex scenes. While his fellow soldiers rape and pillage, Vorenus is saving himself for his wife on his return from war. Back in 52BC, according to McKidd, cruelty was a virtue, mercy was a flaw and guilt didn't exist at all. "Everyone else thinks Vorenus is weird for not joining in, it's almost as if he's the harbinger of the Christian mentality."
If the producers intended for Vorenus to be Rome's moral conscience, then they have chosen well with McKidd. He's completely unstarry. The last time we met, our chat was interrupted by a berk landing his helicopter; that was a year ago, but it's the first thing he mentions today. When I ask him how he enjoyed his villa with pool while filming Rome, he prefers to talk about the bilingual opportunities the relocation afforded his children, Joseph and Iona.
Asked to reveal his biggest indulgence and he thinks long and hard before answering: "Curry on a Friday night." Then he reconsiders the question: "School fees." He voices concern about falling education standards and how, in Berkshire, he and his wife Jane will have to pay for the quality of teaching for his kids that cost his parents nothing when he attended a "brilliant school", Elgin Academy. His local education authority deals in euphemisms. "Joint teaching" is when two teachers standing back to back struggle to make themselves understood to respective classes of 40. "Focus learning" is finding a bit of peace and quiet for lessons in a broom cupboard. He wishes he didn't have to send Joseph and Iona to private school, but says: "You've got to look after your bairns."
McKidd admits he was a swot at Elgin Academy and, under the tutelage of Rome's historical expert Jonathan Stamp, felt like he was back in class as he researched his role. "I've always liked grafting. At school I liked to apply myself and when we were filming the series I drove HBO nuts, phoning them at two in the morning to suggest some new dialogue."
He laughs as he recalls a particularly arduous day on location, trying to take some gear off a make-up girl for a long trudge up a hillside for the next scene, and being told off for it. "She said, 'What are you doing? You're the lead actor!'" McKidd had come to the series straight from making 16 Years Of Alcohol, Richard Jobson's no-budget bovver-boy art flick, where everyone had to muck in; this was the film that got him an American agent.
McKidd is not precious about Rome. He appreciates the unintentional comedy of lines such as 'Brutus, my old cock!' "There were a few times between scenes when we were quoting Monty Python at each other," he chuckles. Nevertheless he's proud of the series.
Promoting it in America, he was asked if he felt the pressure of being involved in a show which, if its failure wouldn't quite bring down HBO, would severely dent its reputation after era-defining series such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under. "I didn't. I felt under pressure a year ago when I was getting up at 4.30 every morning to film it.
"When premieres come along you go because you want your wife to wear a nice dress because she has to deal with you being away from home for so long. Rome is out there now, and it is what it is."
For McKidd, it is proof that careers, like empires, aren't built in a day. "Actors are up one minute, down the next. It's, 'Here we go, let's get the plasma screens!' Then they're working in a pub."
After Trainspotting, McKidd didn't splash money on luxury goods - not his style - but he did have a stint pulling pints, and was occasionally taunted by obnoxious drunks over this apparent fall from grace. He also had a spell working on a building site and, being a grafter, he thoroughly enjoyed it.
One day, he was offered an apprenticeship, which would have guaranteed him £60,000 a year, as a "diamond-cutter", gouging holes in concrete.
"I went home to mull it over. Then that night my agent, who I hadn't heard from for a long time, called to tell me about an audition. That was a wee fork in the road, and I ended up telling myself, 'No, you're an actor.'"
He's coming to terms with the facts that he's a star. "I'm starting to get considered for big films, to make a name for myself. A few years ago I would have been embarrassed about that, but I'm feeling quite proud."
Kevin McKidd had better watch out. Excessive use of the word "quite" will have us thinking all that Roman debauchery has rubbed off on him.
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