Grant Bowler has come a long way to be the leading man of Defiance.
Grant Bowler once went from being a TV star in Australia to cleaning elevators for US$12 (RM38) an hour in Los Angeles.
Bowler was an established actor Down Under, catapulting to fame following a major role on popular police drama Blue Heelers in 1993. Work wasn’t difficult to come by but in 2002, the Auckland, New Zealand-native decided to leave his comfortable life to capture the elusive Hollywood dream.
But the actor went broke, and was forced to take on odd jobs to pay the rent. Bowler eventually returned home, and would take a shot at Hollywood two more times before finally breaking through.
“I’ve always had a fear of being stuck doing what I’ve already done before. What invigorates me is taking on roles and projects that I haven’t been a part of, and I saw, in the long term, far greater opportunity to be tested in the United States,” Bowler shared in an e-mail interview with Star2.
“It’s wonderful to have the ability and option of going home. We have such a vibrant, storytelling culture in Australia, but this way, I simply feel that I get the best of both worlds.”
Today, the 46-year-old actor is best known for his work as Wilhelmina Slater’s swoon-worthy love interest Connor Owens in Ugly Betty, hotheaded werewolf Cooter in True Blood, Richard Burton in the Elizabeth Taylor made-for-TV biopic Liz & Dick (where he starred opposite Lindsay Lohan) and currently, the leading man on the sci-fi series, Defiance.
Bowler plays Joshua Nolan, the chief lawkeeper of Defiance, a town where humans and extraterrestrials have learned to co-exist after the latter’s less-than-welcomed arrival on Earth more than 30 years ago.
The events of Season One’s finale causes a major character shake-up at the start of the second season. For starters, there’s a new mayor in town.
“Niles Pottinger, played beautifully by Jim Murray, seems on the outside to be a mannered, prim, stiff Englishman without the grit to survive in Defiance until we take a closer look and discover that he is far more devious and cunning than we first suspect,” Bowler teased about the antagonist.
“Pottinger is a great, new character, the presence of whom turns all existing power structures in Defiance on their head and sets many of our established characters against each other.”
Also, in the new season, word has it that viewers will get to know more about the elusive alien species, Gulanee, but Bowler’s lips are sealed: “I can’t say too much other than that the Gulanee are far taller, handier and hotter than I originally conceived.”
As for the death of his character’s former love interest, Kenya, last season, Bowler commented: “I don’t think Kenya’s death affects Nolan as greatly as it does her sister, Amanda. Kenya’s death leaves her devastated and the consequences of her murder resonate throughout the second season.”
He added: “Nolan won’t stay alone for long. He enjoys the company of pretty women too much, and there is no shortage of strong, attractive women in the town of Defiance.
In fact, Bowler seems pretty confident that Nolan will have more than one woman in his life.
“I don’t think Season Two will limit Nolan to one love interest. It’s possible we’ll see him with one or more of the established residents of the town and, perhaps, even one of the new citizens.”
But perhaps the most important woman in his life is still his adopted alien daughter, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), who disappeared after bringing Nolan back to life last season.
“In the new season, Nolan is far more concerned with his daughter, Irisa, than the welfare of the town of Defiance as a whole. It’s much more personal; it’s about taking care of the people he loves,” the actor explained.
Bowler, a father himself, knows all too well how that feels. “Being a father is probably the most rewarding part of my life. Kids, though, require an enormous amount of concentration and attention. Sometimes, I feel I’d like to clone myself so I could be a dad and work the hours that the job requires,” said the actor who has an 11-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son.
While that probably won’t be happening anytime soon, Bowler shared that being a parent has influenced the kind of role he chooses to take on: “There’s a lot of stuff that I look at more critically now, particularly being a father of a daughter, than I did before. I want to be a part of project that say positive things about the world, about women and about men.”
Nevertheless, slowing down is not an option for the actor who found international success at a later stage in life. He enthused, “I’ve always felt compelled to stay extremely busy as an actor. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not working. Having played now a number of ‘dream roles,’ I feel more comfortable and certain of myself, but that only makes me want to push myself more.”
Defiance Season Two airs every Friday at 10.50pm on Syfy HD (HyppTV Ch 611).