REL­A­TIVELY UN­KNOWN – AND HE’S DIG­GING IT

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

HE’S starred in block­busters in­clud­ing the Harry Pot­ter fl icks and as the lead in TV se­ries such as last year’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed Awake. But when Ja­son Isaacs shot his lat­est se­ries DIG in Jerusalem, he was by far the least fa­mous cast mem­ber on set.

“An aw­ful lot of the cast are the most fa­mous and bril­liant ac­tors in Is­rael – and of course, I’d never heard of them,” he laughs. “Ev­ery time some­one would come to set, ( co- cre­ator and direc­tor) Gideon Raff would say, ‘ You don’t know it but this guy is the Brad Pitt or the Mar­lon Brando of Is­rael’.

“They’d start act­ing and you’d go, ‘ Holy s---, they’re good’.”

Bri­tish- born Isaacs is in de­mand partly be­cause of his mas­tery of ac­cents – he found it easy to de­liver an Amer­i­can ac­cent for his role as FBI agent Peter Con­nelly.

“When you open your mouth in Eng­land, within the fi rst 10 sec­onds any­one in the coun­try can judge not just where you came from but what ed­u­ca­tion you’ve had,” he says. “So if you don’t man­age to do ac­cents and di­a­logues, well, you’re in real trou­ble.”

The hard­est part of DIG, Isaacs says, was the num­ber of stunts he per­formed – and he found out when shoot­ing the last episode he’d been wear­ing boots that were a size too big.

“There was a scene where all my clothes got dam­aged and I had to change clothes a num­ber of times,” he says. “They said, ‘ We’re sorry, the other boots we have are a bit too small for you’. But they were size nine, my size. “I knew I felt like I was in clown shoes but I’d been wear­ing shoes too big for me all that time.” GRANT Bowler con­cedes his friends are right when they ob­serve it’s no sur­prise he ended up as lead ac­tor on a show called Defi ance.

As the sci- fi - meets- west­ern se­ries launches its third sea­son, Bowler is proud that when the chips were down – when he was broke, when he was clean­ing el­e­va­tors in LA, even when his mar­riage fell apart – he per­sisted.

“Stub­born­ness and per­se­ver­ance got me a long way, but I had to learn them. I had to learn to ask for what I want,” says Bowler, 46.

It’s the same sto­icism which sees Bowler, as lead law­maker Joshua Nolan in Defi ance, per­form most of his own stunts in be­low- freez­ing tem­per­a­tures in Canada “be­cause that’s the fun stuff ”.

It’s his down- to- earth ap­proach which al­lows him to make a sto­ry­line in which he’s a hu­man law­maker with an adopted alien daugh­ter named Irisa ( Stephanie Leonidas) fl y.

Bowler, who cut his teeth in Aus­tralian dra­mas in­clud­ing Blue Heel­ers, had three shots at Hol­ly­wood be­fore land­ing lead­ing- man sta­tus.

Along the way he starred in Ugly Betty, True Blood and Lost, be­fore land­ing Defi ance.

“Am I a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment? Yes and no,” he says of the long wait for his big break. “If I had have gone over and no­body was in­ter­ested I prob­a­bly would have taken the hint. The prob­lem I kept hav­ing was there was in­ter­est but I’d get all of th­ese re­ally hor­ri­ble 50- 50 coin tosses that went the wrong way.

“Some­times the jobs didn’t go to any­one else – the whole show would fall over. It was hor­ri­ble. Like watch­ing your house slowly fall down the hill in slow mo­tion … to­wards a fi re. The re­al­ity was I knew there was a ca­reer there. I’m bloody glad I kept go­ing.

“I learned what was re­ally im­por­tant and I learned about hav­ing faith in my­self.”

Bowler laughs. “In the end every­body got fed – it was only a quick four- and- a- half years of ab­so­lute agony.”

The present sees Bowler sit­ting pretty. As sea­son three of Defi ance airs, he’s wrap­ping fi nal scenes in Canada, pre­par­ing to re­turn to his LA home, where his for­mer wife Rox­anne Wil­son and kids now live just a few kilo­me­tres away.

It will be wel­come respite from the freez­ing tem­per­a­tures of Van­cou­ver, where Bowler says shoot­ing the fi rst few episodes of sea­son three was “bru­tal” – both in terms of emo­tional sto­ry­lines and phys­i­cal­ity.

“I think we shot 22 days out­side in be­tween mi­nus- 18C and mi­nus- 35C,” he says. “It was hor­ri­ble. But what we put on screen was fan­tas­tic.

“In that cold, I had at least fi ve fi st fi ghts. I must have got knocked down 50 times … and I’m wear­ing a jacket which is 20kg and car­ry­ing a rifl e and hand­gun weigh­ing an­other 18kg.

“And I get back up and I’m like, ‘ Just kill me, just end it now, or let me lie down in the soft snow and I’ll go to sleep’.

“But that’s the fun part. I do all this talk­ing in be­tween. Why wouldn’t I do the fi ght?”

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