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‘Journeyman’ Kevin McKidd Takes on Time Travel

[IMG:L]Time travel sounds like fun. Go back and invest in Macintosh, hang out with Socrates or kill Hitler. As long as you don’t stop your parents from meeting, everything should be okay. But did you ever think how you’d explain where you’ve been?

That is the dilemma facing Dan Vassar on NBC’s new show Journeyman. He travels back in time to help people in moments of need, but goes missing for days in the present. Though he proves his phenomenon to his wife, his family and coworkers may be a bigger problem than time paradoxes. 

Kevin McKidd plays Vassar. The veteran of HBO’s Rome makes the leap to network TV with an American accent to boot. There won’t be any swearing or nudity on NBC, but all the dilemmas of past and present should keep the actor plenty occupied.

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Hollywood.com: Are you a time travel buff?
Kevin McKidd:
I loved Sliding Doors. It’s more movies like Jacob’s Ladder that I respond to, ones that are about imagination, and give you kind of strange perceptions of what’s real and what isn’t. It’s less about time travel. I’m just really attracted to stories that you sit as an audience and you question, like Donnie Darko and Jacob’s Ladder and movies like that. That’s what I like about this show. I think it sets up a dialogue and a debate with an audience that’s fun.

HW: Were you looking for another series right away?
KM:
I wasn’t really looking actively but there was so much heat on Rome this season, it seemed almost like I’d be stupid to look a gift horse in the mouth because there was a lot of interest in me to play a lead in a show. I’m an actor and I like to work. So in a way, I’d be biting off my nose to spite my face if I walked away from that. This is the first pilot season I’ve ever been involved in.

HW: Rome had such an intense character. Is this lighter?
KM:
Yeah, there’s going to be more fun in this. That’s another reason I was attracted to it. They were keen to get me in some cop drama, stuff like that, again playing that badass, furrowed brow kind of character. I kind of want to break out of that box a little bit and try and expand the tonalities of what I can bring to the table. I love Vorenus. That character I think was so beautifully written by Bruno Heller but there were times I was like, “Gee, I wish this guy would just lighten up just a little bit.”

HW: There’s the present Dan traveling back and past Dan just existing back then. Do you ever get confused reading the scripts?
KM:
Oh yeah, I’ve got to go to [creator] Kevin [Falls] all the time and go, “Can you just explain it?” And then when he does, it makes perfect sense. That’s the tough acting problem: you have to wear different hats and be young Dan and be traveling Dan and be Dan incognito. It’s not a standard procedural show where the plot goes in one direction and that’s it. It gives me a lot more interest as an actor. You sometimes see actors kind of switching off when they’re in long running TV shows. I don’t think that’s going to happen with this show.

HW: How far back will he go?
KM:
The only rule that Kevin Falls has told me is that he can only travel back in his own lifetime. He can travel back to the moment of his own birth and witness that but that’s as far back as he can go.

HW: But no future?
KM:
Well, we don’t know that yet. There’s a question mark over that. I think you should ask Kevin Falls that!

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HW: How do you like the wardrobe of different eras?
KM:
Oh man, let me tell you, those pants you guys wore in the ’90s, you know the ones that were like high waisted up to your belly button, that never got to Britain. And I understand why because they’re so unflattering. They’re horrible. It’s funny, some of the clothes I’m put in, I feel like I’m Joey on Friends. I keep singing the Friends theme tune whenever I put some of that gear on. It’s hilarious!

HW: Is he ever going to go back and buy stock to set himself up for life?
KM:
There’s going to be a lot of irreverence in the show in that the fact that this guy is traveling back to the ’90s with his own knowledge of what happens in the future. There are a lot of fun aspects that he can get into. And also, he needs mobile phones. He starts to build up a coping mechanism. He has to have cell phones and cell charges for each time period that he’s going to so that he can communicate. Get credit cards, get the currency. He starts to have almost like a bat cave, which is the place he keeps all his stuff for different year periods.

HW: But he doesn’t know where he’s going. How will he know which phone to bring?
KM:
Exactly! He has to always have something with him. He has, not a utility belt, but a utility jacket I think.

HW: You lived in England so you had to move to Hollywood for this show. Did your whole family come with you?
KM:
Yeah, they braved over too. My kids are young so it’s like a big adventure to them. And the sun, it hasn’t stopped raining for six weeks in England. Half of England’s flooded so it’s like this is awesome for them.

HW: What do you want to do in L.A. now that you’re here?
KM:
I’m not going to have much spare time to be honest but I really want to see things. I’ve only ever been to L.A., San Francisco and New York. I want to go and see some more of the countryside because I’ve never had the time to really explore America. I want to go skiing up to Mammoth. I want to see the deserts. I want to see Joshua Tree. I want to tour around and see the place because the west coast is amazing. There are beautiful things to see. I want to go to the Redwoods. I think we’re shooting an episode in the Redwoods. So I’m excited to see parts of America.

HW: How will you follow your favorite futbol teams here in the states?
KM:
Well, there’s a couple of ex-pat pubs that open up at 4 a.m. You basically have to stay up all night, so I may go down there beforebefore I start filming because that’s when they play. I think there’s one in Century City so it’s pretty close to the studio. A friend of mine said he’d take me there.

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HW: Your kids moved over with you so you’re obviously a family man. What is the best thing about fatherhood?
KM:
Gee, everything’s good about being a dad. The bad thing is when I have to travel away. That’s why I’m taking them here. Just seeing those kids wake up every morning is the best thing.

HW: Do you see any signs of the acting bug in them?
KM:
My daughter I think, yeah. My son’s like yeah, whatever. He was on set of [my upcoming movie] Maid of Honor in the big wedding scene, the big final scene last week. He put a kilt on and came and got paid for it. He was like yeah, whatever. But my daughter was in a little ball gown and I’m a bit worried. I can see the light on.

Journeyman airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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