Kevin McKidd has made an impression both in front of and behind the camera since joining Grey’s Anatomy in 2008. Metro spoke with McKidd about getting used to life on a successful TV series, taking the reins as a director and the inevitable shirtless-ness that comes with doing a Shonda Rhimes show.

Growing up in Scotland, did you imagine that you’d be on this type of huge American TV series?
No, no. You know, I was destined to become a plumber like my father, really. I mean, I always knew I wanted to be an actor, but I didn't expect — I thought maybe I might, like, get as far as London if I was lucky. I never even left Scotland until I was 20 so I was pretty sheltered.

 

You took on directing an episode for the first time this season.
That’s a totally different kettle of fish. I lost a lot of hair and a lot of sleep over that. We’ve had that experience as actors where directors aren’t prepared. So I think, being the actor, you feel painfully aware that you've got to show up prepared.

How was directing your peers and your co-workers?
I was nervous about it. I thought, "Oh, my God, how is it going to be directing everyone?" But everyone, for me, was fantastic. I felt really touched and moved, actually, at how everybody just really went to bat for me because they knew it meant a lot and didn’t want to screw up.

Are you shirtless a lot on set?
I didn’t get shirtless while I directed. I haven’t been shirtless for a few episodes [laughs]. I think it's more of when you first start on the show, you have to sort of establish your shirtless-ness. Then it’s kind of a given from that point on [laughs]. It's almost like that’s the gates you have to pass through before you’re really in the show.

Did you audition shirtless?
No, although I have in other things over the years. That's very embarrassing. I remember I auditioned for a thing. I met with the director. We talked about the script. I auditioned. They loved my reading. They went, “OK, so now you’ve got to take your shirt off.” Took my shirt off. They went, “OK, we'll call you back.”

Do you know that when we Google your name, the third thing that comes up on Google is "Kevin McKidd shirtless"?
What are the first two things is what I want to know. All I think is that I need to get to the gym when I hear that.