Bowler returns for race
Actor swaps Hollywood for TV treasure huntBRIDGET JONES
Grant Bowler is a man of the world - born in Auckland, raised in Australia, and now making his name in America.
But in his latest role, Wolf West - as Kiwis know him - is swapping Venice Beach for weeks spent criss-crossing the world as he reprises hosting duties on The Amazing Race Australia, starting on TV2 tonight.
After season one, however, it was looking doubtful the actor would be at the helm for round two.
"When I finished the first one, I went 'that is ridiculous, that is insane'. But I imagine it's a bit like having a baby. The pain fades, and everything starts to get a bit rosier over time and you start thinking 'oh, I could probably have another one'."
And the pain dulled just enough for Bowler to agree to lead 11 teams of Aussies over 65,000kms in a race to win a global treasure hunt.
Filmed over a month, Bowler said the reality of the situation hit the contestants almost immediately.
"Basically what you do is you abandon your life for a month. You forget about anything that might be happening in the real world and you just go ride the train for a month. And if you do that, it's just a ball.
"But those poor things, they were shattered. The second day - it gutted them. We all looked at them coming in at the first pit-stop, I felt so sorry for them; they were gone, they were spent.
"But it's the same for everyone; we sleep on aeroplanes, we race around, you don't know what's going on, you're in foreign cultures making it up as you go along. It's a lot of fun, but it's exhausting."
The TV show is a reminder just which part of the world Bowler calls home. Although not quite so much recently.
After moving to the States a few years ago, it seems like he hasn't stopped working.
In the past four years Bowler has appeared on shows like Lost, Ugly Betty, and True Blood, and last year he made a back-breaking five films. He also recently starred alongside Lindsay Lohan in the Liz Taylor bio-pic, Liz and Dick.
Bowler isn't complaining, however: "[This year] I haven't managed to scratch myself... but I spent years trying to get a job [in America], sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, so being too busy is not the worst thing in the world. In this place you are either red hot or ice cold, and I would much prefer to be red hot."
His latest project is Defiance, a bold new television series which combines traditional TV with gaming. Bowler plays the lead in the series, which will screen in the States next year, and in the accompanying video game which gets made at the same time.
"I'm all over the bloody place," he admits.
"It's like nothing I have ever done before - and that's a nice thing to be able to say. It's post-apocalyptic, a little bit frontier, a bit of a sci-fi immigrant story. It's quite unusual."
The Amazing Race Australia - Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm on TV2.
- © Fairfax NZ News