By Paul Thornton
AS SPORTY, clean cut Tommy in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting Kevin McKidd was far behind his co-stars’ scheming characters in the scamming stakes.
But McKidd, 37, has revealed how before he was an actor he would make money feeding American tourists made-up stories about Edinburgh on tours of the capital.
The Scots star said he earned a living before his rise to fame by running spooky walking tours of the city’s Old Town while a guide with the Witchery Tours.
Started in 1984, the tours have been scaring people from all over the world and have become one of Edinburgh’s must-see attractions for visitors.
Before his break-through role in the Irvine Welsh cult-classic, McKidd turned his hand to construction and bar work before the tours and admitted he did not shy away from some self-produced patter.
He said: “I worked in a distillery in Scotland and I worked on building sites and in pubs.
“But being a tour guide for the Witchery Tours in Edinburgh was my most memorable.
“Occasionally I’d make something up just for fun – there were a lot of American tourists, so you could tell the American anything and they’d believe it.”
McKidd also revealed that as a young boy he was reduced to tears after being exposed stealing treats.
The Small Faces star said: “I got caught shoplifting when I was little. I got caught stealing a packet of mini cookies and was dragged up in front of the whole school.
“They called a special assembly and it was announced that ‘there was a thief in our midst’. I cried all the way to the stage.”
But McKidd – who is now living in Los Angeles as he stars in Grey’s Anatomy – insists that since he has become an actor he has been a complete professional and has never been drunk on the job.
However he revealed that a brief appearance on a Christmas episode of Father Ted left him “clouded”.
He said: “When I did Father Ted, we drank so much Guinness my experience is clouded. I was told they never cast anyone who was not Irish, but I was the exception because the people that made it really liked Trainspotting.
“It was brilliant, I went to Ireland and shot there for two weeks but I don’t have any memories.”
McKidd plays Poseidon in the hotly-tipped Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief which is out this week.
But despite being a Hollywood A-lister, he insists he is keeping himself and his family grounded with regular visits home.
McKidd – from Elgin – said: “I live in LA so I worry my kids aren’t that connected to Britain. I suppose I don’t want them to become American kids.
“We try to get back three or four times a year.
“When they go to school they speak with a British-American accent but when they come home to us they go back to their British accent so I can deal with that.”