The Wall is a whole new ball game
AXLE Whitehead will front his first Australian TV series in nearly a decade, swapping acting for the role of game show host on The Wall.
But strangely, his return to our screens didn't bring him back home.
LA-based Whitehead and The Wall contestants travelled all the way to Poland to record the new show, which is based on the popular US format produced by basketballer LeBron James.
"Most of Europe shoot on the Polish set," Whitehead tells The Guide.
"We flew contestants over and a production crew over. The Poles turned out to be just really awesome people to work with and the contestants had a blast.
"And working with an Australian crew again just reminded me how awesome Aussies are and how hard they work ... it was like coming home."
A fan of the American game show, Whitehead was impressed the first time he saw the titular wall - a high-tech Plinko board - in person.
On The Wall, teams must answer trivia questions and then turn their fate over to the massive, four-storey-high LED structure with money bins at the bottom.
How much they can potentially win or lose - and that figure can go into the millions - depends where the balls land.
"It's quite intimidating when you see it in person," he says.
"It's bloody massive, and when the balls fall they make quite a dramatic sound."
The musician and actor says he wasn't worried about any stigma attached to being a game show host.
"What attracted me about this gig is it isn't just a game show; there's that family aspect to it," he says.
"We're creating good opportunities for good people, whether it's someone who has faced adversity or has given back to the community.
"Whether they walk away with millions or nothing or something in between, it's great to see that money doesn't define these people."
Whitehead has been candid about the highs and lows of trying to make it in Hollywood. In between his guest roles in the American series Shameless and Agents of SHIELD, he had to pick up odd jobs to get by including working as a bartender, a barista and a poker player.
"The public don't maybe understand what goes on in the life of an actor or a musician or any artist," he says.
"It's a very hard road. You go to audition for a lot of things, you get very close with a lot of things.
"It's not all beer and skittles ... it's great when the phone is ringing but you have to generate work yourself. There are a lot of great actors who have day jobs too."
The momentum finally appears to be picking back up for Whitehead, who is keeping his fingers crossed for another season of The Wall.
"Hopefully it's a big hit and we get another season; maybe LeBron will call," he laughs.
The Wall premieres on Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 7.