INSIDE: Seven days of TV viewing
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
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
‘‘ I love busy. I’ll do it ’ til I drop,’’ he says.
TRUE STORY: Grant Bowler ( far left) and ( above) with Josh Quong Tart.