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McKidd, Kevin (1973-)


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An intense, highly watchable actor who moves between lead and supporting roles with ease, Kevin McKidd was born on the 9th August, 1973 in Elgin, Scotland. After attending Edinburgh University, he was recruited to Robert Carlyle's theatre company Rain Dog, which led to his being cast as the flamboyant villain Malky Johnson in Gillies Mackinnon's Small Faces (1996). He became famous for his portrayal of Tommy, the only moral character in Trainspotting (d. Danny Boyle, 1996), and would have featured on the iconic poster had he not been ill at the time.

His roles over the next few years were less striking, though his reunions with Mackinnon in Regeneration (UK/Canada, 1997) and Hideous Kinky (UK/France/Morocco, 1998) both showcased his ability to take a small supporting part and make something interesting and ironic out of it. He was also superb in the generally unsuccessful Irvine Welsh adaptation The Acid House (d. Paul McGuigan, 1998). However, it was television where he found two of his most striking roles, firstly as a passionate Vronsky in Anna Karenina (Channel 4, 2000) and then as the morally conflicted barrister Billy in the legal series North Square (Channel 4, 2000).

He was terrific fun in Dog Soldiers (UK/Luxembourg, d. Neil Marshall, 2000) as a surly, gung-ho private, stoically battling werewolves, and effective in a small cameo as George Grosz in the Hitler-as-artist biopic Max (Hungary/Canada/UK, d. Menno Meyjes, 2002). While small roles in mainstream Hollywood films such as Nicholas Nickleby (US, 2002) and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (US/Spain, 2005) kept him visible, his best performance was as Frankie, the tormented alcoholic protagonist of Richard Jobson's Sixteen Years of Alcohol (2003), which showcased his range with great style. He also played the Duke of Norfolk in two separate dramas about Elizabeth I, The Virgin Queen (BBC, 2006) and Elizabeth I (Channel 4/HBO, 2005).

His performance as the stern, honourable soldier-turned-politician Lucius Vorenus in the epic TV series Rome (BBC/HBO, 2005) showed that he could be a fascinating actor in a lead role, allowing him to convey pain, sorrow and regret through gestures and expressions rather than dialogue. It will be interesting to see whether his performance in the latest Hannibal Lecter film, Young Hannibal (USA, 2006) has the same effect.

Alexander Larman

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Trainspotting (1996)Trainspotting (1996)

Film about Edinburgh junkies that became a cultural phenomenon

Thumbnail image of North Square (2000)North Square (2000)

Compellingly cynical drama about the sharp end of the legal profession

Related collections

Thumbnail image of Trainspotting: TommyTrainspotting: Tommy

From clean-cut athlete to the horrors of heroin and HIV

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