This week, I got to spend a few minutes of phone time with Grey's Anatomy's newest regular cast member, Kevin McKidd. His Dr. Owen Hunt — er, that's McArmy to me — is bringing brooding back to Seattle Grace as a war veteran who's seen some dark times in the field. Now, the trauma specialist is deploying some of his unorthodox methods in the Grey's OR — and also prompting the normally reserved Cristina (Sandra Oh) to open up a bit. McKidd chatted with me about why he took the job, what it's really like on set, and what's in store for Hunt and Cristina. Here are highlights:
What initially appealed to you about Owen Hunt?
I liked the fact that he's very direct, he's very focused on his work, he's got a lot of baggage going on, he's trying to be very professional and not get involved with people at the hospital, but he's failing at that each day, because he keeps looking across and seeing Cristina. I'm drawn to the character because he has very noble ideas, I think, about medicine, but he's been though a lot recently and he's struggling with his own emotions. I think it's interesting to watch a highly intelligent surgeon not really have a full grip on himself because of what he's been through.
I think a lot of fans of the show, myself included, would say they're happy to see Cristina finally getting some action. Without giving too much away, will there be more of that?
I think you can put good money on that. I think those two have a deep connection going on between them. They aren't sure where it's coming from . . . We're watching the falling in love of two people who normally wouldn't give credence to that. It's fun and exciting. It's a very kind of touching and heartfelt journey.
Lots more from McKidd, so
The latest kiss between Hunt and Cristina was very passionate, but also almost violent. Will we see more of the darker side of him?
You have to remember, all of his colleagues were lost in an ambush attack, and he's the only one who walked out alive. . . It's illogical, but I think it's [a fear that] if he gets close to someone he will lose them. It's a psychological problem that he needs to get over and get help with . . . He's a really good man, he's not violent, but he's certainly struggling with the fear — it's almost a fear of getting too close to anyone right now. He desperately wants to be intimate but he doesn't feel he should be.
You already have the "Mc" in McKidd, obviously, but have you gotten an official Grey's Mc-name yet?
I don't know when that happens. [Laughs] I know that Shonda is calling me Heathcliff at the moment.
With the sudden departure of Brooke Smith, Grey's has gotten a bit of gossip about being a troubled workplace. Can you set the record straight on that? What's your experience like on set?
One of the things I try not to do is listen to the gossip. The way I find my working environment and the life on the show is very positive and fun. I think sometimes people like to push things up just to get a headline. I think that's what's happening here.
You worked with Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor. Is it different working with him now on the show?
His character's much more serious in Grey's than it was in Made of Honor. He's much more intense as Dr. Shepherd. . . I was kind of nervous starting the show, and it was nice to have someone I'd worked with in the recent past.
Will we ever get to hear you use your native Scottish accent in a show on this side of the pond?
Maybe when people start sending letters to the network to make it happen! I'd love to do that — it would make my work easier. But I actually really enjoy [doing an accent]. One of the reasons I became an actor was that I was a very shy kid, and when I put a character on and an accent, I felt freer. . . In Made of Honor, I used my own accent for the first time [in a long time] and I felt sort of naked.
Photo copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.