When Kevin McKidd took on his latest job, the actor faced the usual dilemma - should he really choose work that would keep him away from his family for so long?
But going for the role of Roman soldier Lucius Vorenus in the BBC's epic new drama series Rome made that decision even harder than usual, as it meant he would be filming in Italy for a long 14 months.
"There's always the thought that maybe I shouldn't take it," says Kevin.
"It's hard when you've got young kids because they change so much so fast. But in the end you've just got to work it out and keep travelling back and try and get them out as much as you can.
"It's a big balancing act because I love this job and I love my kids. It's not the easiest thing."
The 32-year-old has two young children with his wife Jane - Joseph, five, and three-year-old Iona. For the first half of the Rome shoot they stayed at home as, Kevin says, filming the drama was "too intense", but they joined him during the summer holidays.
His plight, however, did help him sympathise with that of his character, who has been away from his family fighting in Gaul for eight years.
"That's one of the things that attracted me to this role, actually," says Scottish-born Kevin.
"I know what it's like to be away and then have to come back and integrate yourself with the family and try and reconnect. I think anybody that travels in their work, whether they work on oil rigs or as a journalist or whatever, can relate to that.
"It's not easy, but it's part of the job. And you do get used to it. You find ways. You get big phone bills," he laughs.
The first episode of Rome - a blockbuster new series that chronicles the rise of the Roman Empire through the eyes of Kevin's character Vorenus and his fellow soldier Titus Pullo, played by Ray Stevenson - sees Vorenus returning home to a wife and family who think he is dead.
"There was basically a clerical error," explains Kevin.
"Somebody ticked the wrong box. Money was sent back to families but the soldiers were in Gaul and the lines of communication weren't perfect. So basically Veronus's wife Niobe fell on her sister and her sister's husband for support in the eight years he's been away."
It's just one storyline in an epic drama that follows the plottings of those in power as well as the lives of the common people. We see Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) scheming to overthrow his old friend Pompey (Kenneth Cranham) with the help of Marc Anthony (James Purefoy).
The stories are told against the backdrop of the colourful, violent and sexually liberated world of ancient Rome. The series is not for the faint-hearted and features graphic scenes of violence as well as full-frontal nudity (both male and female) and uninhibited sex scenes.
This was a world where the rich and powerful would have sex in front of their slaves or soldiers and where life, if you weren't nobility, was cheap.
At the heart of the drama is the relationship between Kevin's Vorenus and Ray Stevenson's Pullo.
The pair are thrown together on a mission for Caesar, two very different soldiers who, at first, struggle to get on. Vorenus is the straight-laced superior, Pullo the wildcard soldier not keen on taking orders.
"They're initially set up as this antithetical coupling," says Kevin.
"It's oil and water. But that very much changes when they're thrown together throughout the series. They become pillars for each other but even they as characters don't know why they're drawn to each other."
It's another period drama for Kevin on what is now a long list of period dramas.
He also recently finished filming The Virgin Queen, the BBC's drama about Elizabeth I starring Anne Marie Duff, and has starred in Kingdom Of Heaven with Orlando Bloom, and BBC Two's Gunpowder, Treason & Plot. We'll next see him in another Roman epic, The Last Legion, starring Ben Kingsley.
"What I like about period drama is that you can use it to comment on what's going on now, and about people's lives," says Kevin.
"I think audiences can connect with what you're saying more easily because it's in the past. If you say this is a drama that's happening right now I think it's harder and more uncomfortable sometimes.
"And also I like the outfits," he laughs.
"They're pretty cool." Kevin did have to think twice before taking on The Last Legion, however.
"It's a late Roman epic in which I play a fundamentalist Visigoth who single-handedly destroys Rome," says Kevin.
"He takes the final step to kill the Caesar bloodline.
"That was very weird for me because in Rome I'm a staunch Roman supporter. I was a bit nervous about taking on Legion because it was another Roman thing, but then I realised it's a completely different role and a completely different style of filming."
He's currently back in more modern times, filming the fourth Hannibal Lecter film, Behind The Mask, which tells the story of the teenage Hannibal, in eastern Europe.
Following that he's due to return to his role as Private Cooper in the horror sequel Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat.
It's a roll of success that initially eluded him after his appearance in cult 1996 film Trainspotting. While Robert Carlyle and Ewan McGregor went on to huge success after the film proved a hit, Kevin found he had to take up work as a bicycle courier when more roles failed to appear.
He scraped things back, however, starring in a number of independent films and TV series such as Anna Karenina, and with Rome doing well in the States despite being up against TV behemoth Desperate Housewives, it finally looks like Kevin is catching up with his fellow Trainspotting stars.
"It certainly feels like I'm moving up to a new level," he says. "It feels like an apprenticeship has been served and I'm actually moving ahead now.
"But I think it's good that it's been ten years now for me, because I feel as though I've got the tools to move up. I don't feel overawed by it."
* Rome is on BBC Two from Wednesday November 2.
* Read Chris Game's views on the Roman Republic in Perspective next week.