You must still get recognized as McSteamy all the time—are you cool with that?
I love it—I never had a problem with that nickname or that show [Grey’s Anatomy]. I never felt I needed to do something so outside the box that it would break that stereotype. It’s not something you can manipulate—it either happens or it doesn’t.
You got a lot of attention for your abs in Grey’s, and you obviously have to stay in shape The Last Ship. Has your routine changed?
Now its a utilitarian thing rather than an aesthetic thing. I do a lot more cardio, but still no treadmills—you never get anywhere on treadmills. I like lifting weights. And there is a cardio element to lifting if you’re doing it the way I do it. If I can get to the gym 3-4 days a week, and spend 50 minutes to an hour and a half, irrespective of whether I lift something or not, I’m getting in shape.
How is playing Captain Tom Chandler different from all that you’ve done up until now?
My father served in Vietnam—the respect I have for the Navy is profound. And the men and the women I have come across while doing this show onboard ships, at the Pentagon—I
am thoroughly impressed. I find them to be unbelievably noble.
It sounds like you got a lot of technical advice for the role?
I was trying to figure out what makes this guy a captain and a leader—what makes you the kind of person that people will follow? So I looked at guys who were exemplary leaders. As long as I can keep that character honest and sincere, like the captains I’ve met, I’ve done my job.
Ever consider the military as a career?
I don’t know if I’d ever want to be responsible for so many lives, so many people. I don’t know how well I would do under those circumstances.
You have two daughters now—how do you juggle work and family?
Any free time I have, the family comes first. But my kids love coming to set as much as they can tolerate me!