Since bursting onto our radar as the object of Wilhelmina Slater’s affection on UGLY BETTY, where Grant Bowler acts, we follow. So it should come as little surprise that when theTVaddict.com was afforded the opportunity to spend a few minutes on the phone with the man responsible with keeping the peace in the not-so-sleepy town of DEFIANCE, we jumped at the chance. What follows, is our exclusive one-on-one with Mr. Bowler, who reflects on a remarkable journey thus far and his experience working on the hit Syfy (Showcase in Canada) series.
Having started your career in Australia and New Zealand what was it that brought you to America originally?
Grant Bowler: No. I had actually been hired while in New Zealand shooting for an HBO project called 12 MILES OF BAD ROAD which, unfortunately was one of those projects that got lost in the writer’s strike, but that was my first job. After that I went onto LOST for a little while than after which I went onto UGLY BETTY. UGLY BETTY was my third U.S. project, but it was probably the longest run I had on any show for the first couple of years and the first time I felt like I was a part of the American industry at that point.
Is making it in Hollywood still the dream of actors around the world?
Look, I think it’s like anything. If you’re a tennis player you want to play the biggest matches against the best people, if you’re a football player you want to play the best teams, acting is the same. I had a pretty good little life and career going but you always are looking to test yourself and see what your’e capable of and what you can do.
Actors really are competitive like athletes?
You’ve got two choices and I think both are really fine. You can get comfortable and relaxed, but I get frightened of that so for me I want tot keep challenging myself and after a point, to challenge yourself you have to move.
What was the challenge that came with leading the cast of DEFIANCE?
That one’s easy. I’ve been a part of the original cast of several television dramas both in Australia and New Zealand, but the challenge of establishing a show and leading a cast is something I always wanted to do in the States. Playing the lead and having that kind of responsibility is a test where you find out what you’re made of when you have to shoo 12 – 15 hours every day.
Having had the opportunity to visit the set, It must be an interesting place to spend 12-15 hours every day?
Isn’t it wonderful? Personally I’m in love with the backlot . It just creates such a depth to what we’re doing. They’re real streets you can walk and out of my law keepers office and a whole bunch of other places. It all lives, which, I think is fantastic for the audience and actors.
As an actor, what surprised you the most about shooting season one of DEFIANCE?
I’ve done a lot of television, probably 300 hours, so i expected the shoot to be filled with scripts and rewrites and having to keep on top of all that stuff. So I think the biggest surprise was the level of detail. I’ve never ben a regular on a science fiction project, not one that has a big as a mythology as DEFIANCE and I think the biggest surprise was keeping track of all the detail and how much we all had to monitor that and make sure we stayed trued to that on a day to day basis. The languages, the artifacts, the technology and all of the rules that we created for the society.
Was it an adjustment playing somewhat of a father figure?
Well, I’ve got two kids — a 10 year old daughter and an eight year old son — so it was a blast. I love playing that dynamic. I love being a dad and i love playing the dynamic with this surly alien kind of teenaged ninja daughter. It’s a lot of fun. Although it was a slightly different dynamic than I have with my own daughter who is extremely girly, likes arranging flowers and dressing beautifully. We have a dynamic that I love, but she’s not a deadly killing machine like Irisa is!
i would hope not!
So do I! if it ever happens i’m in trouble.
Like the fictional town, the cast is this sprawling band of actors from all over the world, did you ever stop and ponder how the show sort of mirrors real life?
Yeah, I think the multi-cultural nature of our cast, the fact that we’re all very different people, with different backgrounds, different cultures and identities only helped. It’s interesting that Tony [Curran] and Jaime [Murray] are both from the UK, Scottish and English respectively which almost mirrors the class difference between their two characters. While my character is kind of a longer who likes a lot of space around him and I grew up in Australia.
Are you eagerly anticipating returning to the Toronto based backlot for season 2?
To be completely honest, and i guess this is selfish, but I’m a storyteller by trade. That’s what I do. And as a storyteller, what you pray for above everything else is that people want to listen to the story that you’re telling. That’s everything and also vie gotten so attached to this story of this people that I don’t want to stop telling it. I want us to keep exploring the world of the characters and I want as many people coming along as we can. I can’t wait for season two.
DEFIANCE airs Mondays at 9PM on Syfy (10PM on Showcase in Canada)