A Scottish actor whose heritage is betrayed as much by his pale skin and red hair as it is by his accent, Kevin McKidd first earned recognition in 1996 with parts in Trainspotting and Small Faces, two films that helped to put the Scottish film industry on the world cinema map.
Born and raised in Elgin, a town in the northeast of Scotland, McKidd developed an interest in acting early on and was active with the Moray Youth Theatre throughout his childhood and adolescence. His time as an engineering student at the University of Edinburgh produced little in the way of engineering but did allow McKidd to rack up experience as part of the university's Bedlam Theatre. Finally deciding to chuck his course of study in order to pursue acting full-time, he enrolled in the Queen Margaret Drama School, where he trained until he graduated in 1994.
Immediately after his graduation, McKidd auditioned for and won the lead role in The Silver Darlings, which was staged by Robert Carlyle's Rain Dog Theatre Company. This was followed by his casting as a vicious Glasgow gang leader in Gillies MacKinnon's Small Faces (1995) and his role as Tommy, an Iggy Pop-worshipping, AIDS-stricken heroin addict in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996). The huge success of the latter film got McKidd noticed, although his performance was largely overshadowed by those of co-stars Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle. However, the actor soon found more work headed in his direction and spent the rest of the decade appearing in a steady stream of small art house pictures. Among the films he appeared in were Gilles MacKinnon's Hideous Kinky (1998), in which he had a cameo as a massively stoned traveler in Morocco and Rose Troche's Bedrooms and Hallways (1998), in which he starred as a gay man grappling with bisexual urges.
In addition to his work on the screen, McKidd remained active on the stage, portraying the title character in the Almeida Theatre production of Jean Racine's Britannicus and starring alongside Jude Law in director Jonathan Kent's Albery Theatre production of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore.
He worked steadily throughout the next decade in projects like Anna Karenina, Dog Soldiers, and the biopic De-Lovely. In 2005 he appeared in Ridley Scott's epic Kingdom of Heaven, and that same year he was cast in the historical series Rome. Two years later he had a major role in the Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal Rising. The following year, in 2008, McKidd joined the ensemble cast of Grey's Anatomy, which scaled back his film work. In 2010 he was cast as Poseidon, the father of the young hero in Percy Jackson & The Olympians. He joined the Pixar family in 2012 giving voice to Lord MacGuffin in Brave.