It'll be time to buckle up for the time-traveling adventures of Journeyman when it premieres tonight at 10 pm/ET on NBC. Here the show's star, Kevin McKidd, talks about playing dour, wearing a kilt and how he almost ended up in the whiskey business.
TV Guide: Who is your Journeyman character, Dan Vasser, and what's he doing traveling back in time?
Kevin McKidd: Dan is trying to be a good guy despite his checkered past — he was a gambling addict. But for some yet-to-be-discovered reason, he starts to travel back to different periods in his life. There's a mystery in each episode where he also has to help change the path of another person's life. So there's this ongoing emotional drama because he's torn between the past and the present.
TV Guide: The past includes his presumed-dead fiancée, Livia (Moon Bloodgood), while the present offers his dedicated wife, Katie (Gretchen Egolf), and son, Zack (Charles Henry Wyson). So is it cheating if you sleep with your ex in another time dimension?
McKidd: I think it is! But he can always blame his time traveling! Dan is caught between what he should do and what he wants to do. That's why I like him. He's flawed. He's committed to his wife, but Livia is his first love. Whatever the force is that's doing this to Dan, it obviously wants him to reconnect with Livia. It's very intense and complicated.
TV Guide: Does that mean Dan will smile even less than your terminally dour character Vorenus in Rome?
McKidd: No! I deeply loved Vorenus, but there were times when I was like, "God, I wish he could just lighten up for a half second."
TV Guide: How did doing a high-profile HBO series like Rome affect your career?
McKidd: We spent so much time working in Italy that we didn't realize how popular Rome was. It absolutely led to this role. I'd done a lot of independent films before, but nobody knew who the hell I was.
TV Guide: How was it working for months in a skirt?
McKidd: [Laughs] When you're working in the Italian summer, it's quite nice. It's sort of like wearing a Scottish kilt. You have your own personal air-conditioner.
TV Guide: Speaking of kilts... despite your English accent in Rome and your American one in Journeyman, you are actually from Scotland. In fact, you're from the same town as Alexander Graham Bell, right?
McKidd: Yes — I'm from a beautiful town called Elgin, near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. There's a lot of farming and fishing and hundreds of whiskey distilleries in the area.
TV Guide: How did you escape life as a whiskey maker?
McKidd: I did work in a distillery for a while, which I loved, but at the age of 8 when I did my first school play, my future was pretty much sealed. Eventually I applied to drama school in Edinburgh and never looked back. I had to change my regional dialect if I wanted to work, though. It's beautiful but difficult to decipher. Now I speak with a more general Scottish accent.
TV Guide: Where are you based now?
McKidd: My wife and two kids and I were living just north of London, but we decided to spend at least a year in Los Angeles. We've rented a house and we're putting the kids in school here.
TV Guide: So what's the difference between British and American acting jobs?
McKidd: The hours are much longer here. But the professionalism of everyone is awe-inspiring.
TV Guide: There are so many British and Australian actors on TV these days. You think they'll be turning Hollywood's football bars into soccer-fan hangouts?
McKidd: There's not going to be enough room for us all if they don't!
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