Exclusive Interview: Kevin McKidd from GREY'S ANATOMY
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?
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.