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This Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Scene Was The Most Difficult Of Kevin McKidd's Career

Kevin McKidd has played Dr. Owen Hunt since Season 5 of "Grey's Anatomy." In addition to his long-running role, the actor occasionally steps behind the camera and has directed several episodes of the hit show. Bringing his eye for creativity to the task, McKidd has always wanted to direct an episode of the show in which each segment (broken up by commercial breaks) would be done in a single take with no cuts. McKidd got to realize his dream, partially, by having the opening scene of Episode 12 of Season 19 entitled "Pick Yourself Up" transpire in a single long take.

At the very end of the previous episode entitled "Training Day," fans were shaken to their core when Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) was targeted in a hit-and-run due to her being an advocate for safe and healthy abortions. The attack left her, her co-worker Dr. Tia Marwood (Jess Gabor), and Marwood's unborn baby in jeopardy.

The opening scene of "Pick Yourself Up" followed the two victims as they are loaded off the ambulance, brought into the emergency rooms, and brought into surgery as the Doctors of Grey Sloan try to save them and Marwood's baby, all happening with no cuts in the action. McKidd said it was an extremely difficult task to pull off, telling The Wrap, "It was challenging, and my character's in that whole one-shot. I've never worked as hard as an actor or as a director than I did on that day."

A single take scene has been on Kevin McKidd's mind for a long time

In the same interview with The Wrap about the "Pick Yourself Up" episode from Season 19 of "Grey's Anatomy," director/actor Kevin McKidd talked about the difficulty of pulling off a single take, no-cut opening scene resolving the previous episode's dramatic cliffhanger. McKidd said, "It was such an immediate, visceral moment to try and save this pregnant woman and her baby after being run over. It seemed like the perfect moment to do this whole thing as one, very immediate shot."

According to McKidd, he had been pitching the writers of the show the idea of doing an episode in a single take for years. While it had never come to pass, McKidd saw an opportunity when reading the script for this episode. "I read this episode and this scene was so immediate. It just screamed at me that this whole first act could be done in one shot. We've never done that on our show." He pitched it to the showrunner, and they were off to make this opening scene happen.

The cast and crew had to band together to get the scene just right

The rehearsal process for the one-shot opening scene was extensive. Stand-ins and all the show's Steadicam operators were brought in to block out the scene meticulously, and Kevin McKidd recalled losing sleep over figuring out the mechanics of the scene. He said, after that, "We rehearsed it with the main cast for a whole half a day before we actually shot it, as this big sort of almost theater-style rehearsal because every single piece had to be perfectly timed, because all scenes were happening simultaneously and there was no cut."

McKidd mentioned that there was a palpable energy on set when the scene was being filmed as the cast and crew wanted to get the timing right. It took only two takes to get the scene where McKidd wanted it to be. He said that they actually got all that they needed, and the whole thing worked out after the first take. But the dedicated cast and crew ran it back one more time and nailed it once again for a take that the director preferred. McKidd said of the whole experience, "It was very hard, my eyes were everywhere. Whenever I wasn't on camera, my eyes were darting to where the camera was, making sure it was in the right position. And yes, my brain was very, very challenged."