When New Zealand-born actor Grant Bowler signed up for the second season of The Amazing Race Australia, little did he know a string of acting roles would follow.
It left the 43-year-old pondering whether he should give up his hosting duties on the globe-trekking reality series to pursue the acting career he has strived to build in the US over the past five years.
"It was a bit of a race getting to The Race last year," Bowler explained over the phone from LA, where he is now based. "I shot the Great Mint Swindle (in Perth) and I'd just got back to LA and I got asked by a friend of mine, who is one of the executive producers of GCB, to do the last couple of episodes.
"Then I got offered a film called I Do here in Los Angeles at the same time, so it was literally like, I had three jobs on the go and the race was looming."
Luckily for Bowler, he managed to juggle the various roles in the end, even though he had to work tirelessly to make it all happen.
"It was great that the dates panned out and we were able to do it," he said. "I worked pretty hard on my end to do it all and squish it all together and the Amazing Race (producers) helped me out as much as they could on their end and we got it done."
This year's 11 teams comprise an entertaining mix of personalities, including erratic Melbourne couple James and Sarah, hippie Geraldton hairdressers Sue and Teresa - the only WA team in the race - and cheerleading twins Michelle and Jo.
Fun-loving cousins Adam and Dane are the show's first indigenous team while buff Victorian workmates Paul and Steve like to think of themselves as the burly alpha males.
Melbourne coppers Shane and Andrew have set the bar high from the beginning but are yet to prove whether their "policing skills" have any merit in the competitive stakes.
"I think they are quintessentially Australian and a really warm bunch of people," Bowler said.
But unlike the fiercely competitive do-or-die attitude of the American contestants, Bowler believed the Australian teams showed much more compassion for their rivals.
The sense of "Aussie spirit" came to light in last week's episode when winning father-daughter duo Ross and Tarryn opted to save Italian sisters Lucy and Emilia from elimination using the new Salvage Pass.
"I thought that was really generous, I was so impressed with that," Bowler said.
"It harkens back to something I've said before about the difference between the American race and the Australian race. Australians have this sense of right and wrong which comes shining through when you see them competing against one another and the race is a great example of that."
While his hosting duties were done and dusted at the end of last year, there has been no rest in sight for Bowler.
He was recently cast to play Richard Burton alongside troubled actress Lindsay Lohan in Lifetime's Elizabeth Taylor biopic, Liz and Dick, which is a role he will juggle with a lead part in the upcoming SyFy series, Defiance, which is being filmed in Toronto.
"Liz and Dick is essentially a two-hander between myself and Lindsay so there's no days off," he said.
"I haven't had a day off in a long time. I don't look like getting one off until maybe December."
'It was great that the dates panned out and we were able to do it.
I worked pretty hard on my end to squish it all together and the race (producers) helped.' GRANT BOWLER
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