Move over Keanu Reeves! With the release of Toy Story 4, some fans have been nostalgic to go back over Pixar films through the years, finding some surprising hidden gems of vocal talent that have lended their voices to the box-office-busting animated movies. Few may realize that this popular actor on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy was a part of Pixar’s first film to feature a female protagonist.
He has a full Scottish accent
You can’t hear even a hint of an accent when Dr. Owen Hunt rattles off complicated medical jargon as he makes the rounds at Grey Sloan Memorial. Turns out Kevin McKidd, who plays Hunt on the network medical drama, is from Elgin, Scotland, and speaks with a full Scottish accent, according to IMDb.
That’s probably why he was called upon for Pixar’s film Brave, which was set in 10th century Scotland. McKidd voiced the roles of the MacGuffin father-son combination, where the younger was seeking to win the hand of young princess Merida amongst several other suitors as arranged by her mother.
McKidd brought authenticity to the film
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the creators of the film asked for McKidd’s input on what type of vernacular should be used. “They asked, ‘what kind of accent should they do?’ They suggested nonsense Scottish words, but I said I could do that, but [I’d rather do] a dialogue from my hometown Doric, my grandfather used to speak, a lot of people still speak it, and it’s hard to understand it,” McKidd said in the article. “They were blown away – ‘are you making that up or making a real dialect?’ Pixar is so thorough so they like the idea of a real dialect.”
McKidd said the producers gave him freedom on the set, knowing he could be counted on for authenticity. “The lines they would come up with wouldn’t quite ring true to Scottish ear, so they were flexible to us just changing stuff, say this is what I would say, my mom would speak it or my dad say it,” McKidd said.
As for recreating the country of Scotland, McKidd was pleased with how Pixar captured the beauty of his home land. “It definitely is a fanaticized version of Scotland but I think that they did capture the essence and spirit of the landscape and spirit. The humorous and wildness but warmth still exists, really captured that, kind of a love letter to Scotland in a way. I think the landscapes they created were almost more beautiful than Scotland… I feel very lucky to be a part of it,” he said.
He landed another gig for Pixar
Pixar recruited McKidd again for their half-hour special Toy Story that Time Forgot in 2014. Director Steve Purcell spoke to Collider on why he chose McKidd to voice the role of Reptillus Maximus, a Battlesaur action figure who starts a romance with Trixie the dinosaur.
“I loved [Kevin McKidd] in (HBO’s) Rome. He was such a great, complicated character because he was so confident as the Centurion, but you could feel this vulnerability in him, as well, and he was in over his head,” Purcell told Collider. “That was a great point of reference for our character. But then, when we had him on stage, he knew to add this level of bombast and charisma to it, so everything is overstated in just the right way. He added a little bit of Errol Flynn, on top of that more complicated character that he played in Rome.”
When it came to playing a romantic lead as an action figure, Purcell knew McKidd could pull it off, even as a Battlesaur. “We have these Battlesaur action figures, but we wanted one for Trixie to connect to. There’s a little bit of romance,” Purcell said in the article. “There’s definitely a connection going on with them, so we let his character be a little more thoughtful and he maybe has doubts about this culture because maybe he’s been fed this line and there’s something more than being just the Battlesaur. Because Kevin is so diverse in the kind of roles he does, we felt that he would bring a lot to that kind of personality.”