"I'm from the Highlands of Scotland. ... I still can't believe -- I still pinch myself -- that I'm living in . . . Hollywood, on a TV show, playing this great character, with these amazing actors around me," the Scottish actor said.
As the show returns Sept. 26, McKidd's entering his sixth season as Dr. Owen Hunt, and "I just feel very lucky," he said.
We spoke before the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Sandra Oh, who plays Dr. Cristina Yang, Owen's colleague -- and sometime wife -- planned to leave after the coming 10th season.
But it looks as if "Grey's" creator, Shonda Rhimes, may have been planning for Oh's exit by giving Cristina and Owen a pretty definitive-looking breakup at the end of last season.
"I've been very lucky with that character," said McKidd, who previously starred in HBO's "Rome" and NBC's "Journeyman."
"He's had many different facets, and I know that in the next few seasons -- speaking to Shonda -- that they plan to really sort of break open Owen even more," McKidd said. "Because we learned a bit about his time in the war, but we don't really know much about his family and the other parts of his life.
"So we're hopefully going to find out more about him, outside of his professionalism. But he's a great character to play, and I feel very lucky for that. It's such a gift for an actor.
"I've played a couple of great characters. In 'Rome,' the Vorenus character was an amazing character that Bruno Heller wrote for me, and again, Owen Hunt feels in a similar vein, a kind of very complex and sort of dark, sometimes, character.
He hasn't got the sheen on him that, you know, some TV characters do. And I'm always attracted by slightly darker, tortured characters."
Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd, the surgeon also known as "McDreamy," has, like Oh, been with "Grey's" from the beginning. A race-car driver in his offscreen life, he has a four-part documentary, "Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans," premiering Aug. 28, on Velocity.
"When you're in a long show, there's less discovery and more of an endurance of having to be present and to do your job and find ways to keep yourself turned on in something that you know is going to be A, B and C," he said.
McKidd doesn't yet appear to require that level of excitement. (Or at least he laughed when I asked if he'd taken up skydiving.)
"I think probably what Patrick meant is that when you're in a movie set, even when the show, when it's finished and out there, is exciting, we do 14-hour-days and we wait for maybe 45 minutes" between scenes.
McKidd has other ways to escape.
"I'm from a wee town called Elgin, which is near Inverness," he said "I try to go back to Scotland twice a year because it just sort of grounds me.
"All my pals are still my pals, and, I mean, nothing's really changed, and I'm living this great roller-coaster ride right now, but my life really is also that. I'm not removed from that."
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