Outrageous Fortune

star Grant Bowler's Stateside career continues to truck along nicely. After roles in

Lost

and

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Ugly Betty

, Bowler joined the cast of

True Blood

for its third season, alongside another acting export, Anna Paquin.

He also has three movies on the way - when TimeOut finds him he's somewhere between Peru, where's he's been filming prison movie

City of Gardens

and Melbourne, where he's headed to start on

The Killer Elite

, a military thriller starring Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Jason Statham, among others.

So, from Wolf West to a wolfman named Coot. You've lost the beard - what else has changed?

Well, I'm still acting for a living [but] I guess I live mainly in the States these days - that would be a change. And now I shoot films much more than I shoot television.

Is Coot the biker werewolf at all like Wolf West?

One's named Wolf, one is a wolf. They are both more on the working class side of the equation than not, and they pretty much do what they want most of the time. So those would be the commonalities.

The American version of Outrageous Fortune has started this week - have you seen much of David James Elliot?

I've actually never seen him.

Did you think about auditioning for it since you were over there?

No, it would be like trying to do something again which is kind of not the reason I got into acting. Good luck to them, but I did see the script and it was pretty much word-for-word the New Zealand version and so, you know, I had already said all those lines before and I was pretty happy with them the first time I did them.

There have been a few accounts here of people feeling the American version wasn't going to be a true reflection of the West Auckland original.

I don't think Kiwis have anything to worry about.

Outrageous

in New Zealand was the original of the show and it set a benchmark everyone wanted to follow. Perhaps the American version will be able to do that and if so, good on them. But it will be an American show for an American audience. It's not really

Outrageous Fortune

. It would be a bit like if in New Zealand someone wanted to do a version of an American show and Americans getting upset Kiwis weren't doing it with American accents. It's got to be culturally specific. It's interesting that people are upset at the thought of it being very different.

I guess we are just territorial. So what's it like working with a fellow Kiwi on set? Do you and Anna ever discuss Kiwi icecream or anything?

New Zealand? All the time. I was over at their place last Sunday and we were talking about it. Although she likes to tease me that I'm an Aussie.

And would you say you were?

No, I wouldn't say that I was one or the other. Whenever I have been asked that I say I am both. I'm an Australian and a Kiwi. I really do feel I have been influenced by two places for that very reason. I call myself an Oziwi.

So what are the rules of your werewolf? Do you morph at the full moon?

Every time someone does vampires or werewolves or ghosties or whatever, the trickiest part is figuring out the rules and sticking to them, I guess. On

True Blood

there are times when werewolvess really, really want to shift - you know like maybe a full moon or whatever, they have a really strong desire to shift. But they can also shift at will.

Okay, so they are more like the Twilight ones then.

I don't know. I've never seen

Twilight

.

Is there anything your werewolf has to avoid?

Apart from traffic cops and dog-catchers, no.

And how did Coot become a werewolf?

Basically the rule in

True Blood

is that the weres are like the pure-bloods of shifters. They are at the top of the food chain in terms of any creature that can shift. So for a were to be a were they have to have two were-parents.

Did I read somewhere that you like scenes where you get to bash people?

I said the older I got, the stranger I found it that the jobs I tend to get offered are jobs where I bash the guys and kiss girls - and that was fine with me.

Do you kiss girls on True Blood?

Yep, I get to kiss girls, terrorise people and get into a bit of biffo, so it's a trifecta.

And when you do your transformations, how much is you and how much is done behind the scenes later, digitally?

Basically [creator] Alan Ball's take on shifting is that the whole bones popping, hair growing out of the face kind of thing works in a movie because you do it twice maybe three times, but in a series you are looking at doing it 25, maybe 30 times. And so the whole way that weres shift in

True Blood

is based on wanting to get on with the bloody story, so we shift quite simply and quickly.

How does it compare to doing a show closer to reality like Outrageous Fortune or Ugly Betty?

I would put

Outrageous Fortune

right up there with

True Blood

for fantasy - do you really think with that bone-headed bunch we would have got away with any crime whatsoever? But how does it compare? It's nice there is a real freedom in it, [away] from the bounds of having to justify normal behaviour.

And talking of reality, all this and doing the voice of [top-rating show] Border Security too. Did you go back to Australia to do that?

I do it wherever I am. I did it from Peru when I was there last month, and I'm doing it from LA at the moment. And I will be doing it from Melbourne where I'll be for

Killer Elite

next week and then when I go to Wales I'll be doing if from there, too.

What were you doing in Peru?

I was shooting another movie called

City of Gardens

. I play Jesus Christ.

Well, that is a transformation.

Kinda. I play a schizophrenic prisoner who thinks he is Jesus Christ. But the character's name is Jesus Christ and I have to have that name on my CV. Which is one of the biggest reasons I took the job.

And did you grow the beard back for that one?

Huge beard and big Jesus hair, so that was a lot of fun.

Would you do another wolf?

No I am done with wolves. Actually, I didn't even notice the whole Wolf-werewolf thing until somebody pointed it out. I had a giggle at that.

LOWDOWN

Who:

Grant Bowler

What:

True Blood

, third season

Where and when:

Prime, Wednesday June 30, 9.30pm

Also: The sixth season of

Outrageous Fortune

is tipped to start the next month. The final of

Ugly Betty

screens Sunday, TV2, 5.30pm