IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV viewing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

NINE years ago, Grant Bowler had tired of play­ing cops on Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion and took a shot at mak­ing his mark in Amer­ica.

‘‘ Back then the rules were you don’t go to LA if you’re not in­vited, you don’t go un­less you have a red- car­pet film, and you don’t go if you’re over 30,’’ Bowler says with a laugh.

Then 33, Bowler had none of those things. He did, how­ever, have a rag­ing fire in his belly. ‘‘ I thought ‘ be happy and grate­ful for what you’re given and shut up, be sat­is­fied’, but in the end I couldn’t. I had to go find out if I could play with the big boys,’’ he says. Turns out, Bowler can. He’s now a full- time work­ing ac­tor, with a CV that boasts stints on Ugly Betty and in cult se­ries

True Blood, a string of movie cred­its and a lead role in new pay- TV sci- fi se­ries

De­fi­ance.

But ev­ery year the 43- year- old takes a drama role to bring him back to Australia. Nine tele­movie The Great Mint Swin­dle was last year’s draw­card.

For Bowler – and co- stars Todd La­sance, Josh Quong Tart, Shane Bourne and John Batch­e­lor – it’s a triumph.

The movie traces the un­be­liev­able but true story of one of Australia’s most fa­mous gold heists.

On June 22, 1982, the Perth Mint was pre­sented with stolen cheques in re­turn for more than 65kg of gold, worth $ 653,000. The gold then dis­ap­peared.

The ac­cused were three broth­ers – Ray, Peter and Brian Mick­el­berg – who were charged with fab­ri­cat­ing a mas­sive fake gold nugget and sell­ing it to ty­coon Alan Bond. They were found guilty and, in 1983, they were sen­tenced to 20, 16 and 12 years’ jail re­spec­tively.

Lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was rogue cop Don Han­cock ( played with men­ac­ing bril­liance by Bourne) and his off­sider Tony Le­wandowski, who later con­fessed to fab­ri­cat­ing ev­i­dence against the Mick­el­bergs. Their con­vic­tions were ul­ti­mately quashed in 2004.

The story at­tracted the Los An­ge­les­based Bowler from the out­set.

‘‘ It’s got ev­ery­thing. It is the story of three broth­ers, of fight­ing for free­dom, it’s a mys­tery and it’s true, and it’s got that great Aus­tralian thing of be­ing ut­terly and com­pletely shafted,’’ he says.

‘‘ I knew Josh and Toddy were on board and John Batch­e­lor, who was best man at my wed­ding, as I was at his, was play­ing the evil cop­per. And when I was told Shane was cast, I lit up. Be­cause I know he has it in him.

‘‘ Com­edy is an­gry and Shane Bourne is one of the fun­ni­est blokes I know.’’

Bowler is no slouch him­self in the role of old­est brother Ray.

On the per­sonal front, Bowler split from his wife of nine years, ac­tress Rox­ane Wil­son, a year ago. Nei­ther has gone public on the split, both vow­ing their chil­dren, Edie, 8, and Zeke, 6, are their pri­or­ity.

A year on, Wil­son has re­lo­cated to LA to pur­sue her own ca­reer.

Bowler has a busy 2012 in store. He’s back in LA, ready to be­gin shoot­ing next month, hav­ing hon­oured com­mit­ments to a new se­ries of Seven’s and

Bor­der Pa­trol.

‘‘ I love busy. I’ll do it ’ til I drop,’’ he says.

De­fi­ance

Amaz­ing Race

TRUE STORY: Grant Bowler ( far left) and ( above) with Josh Quong Tart.

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