'Man Vs. Wild' Star: Zac Efron Is Welcome to Join Me
By Jane Levere Posted Aug 13th 2010 03:25PM
Grylls spoke to PopEater about the new season's seven episodes, including the special 'Fan Vs. Wild' show, in which two viewers travel with him for the first time to experience extreme survival firsthand, the possibility of Zac Efron joining him in the wild, his eating habits (both in the wild and at home) and his new video game.
I gather you're pals with Will Ferrell because you did an episode with him last season. What celebrities do you think could make it in the wild with you besides Ferrell?
Zac Efron wrote the other day that he'd love to do an episode together, so I'm quite keen to explore that one. We've literally just finished filming season five, so I'm kind of focusing on going home now, having a quick rest, and we'll start filming the next stuff in September. We've got lots of people [who are interested], it's just whether it's right for Discovery to do it or not.
What kind of input do you personally have in the show?
About twice a year, with all of the production team, we come up with a short list of locations. We try to come up with the worst hellholes we can between us find, aggressive jungles and swamps. Then, once we tie those down, we send a crew ahead of me -- about a week ahead -- and they do a lot of scouting from the air, speaking with all the local search and rescue guys. When I arrive in country with all the local rangers and all of the team, they give me a really good, thorough briefing on the country, what's happening in the country, what's happening at the moment, local conditions. We get into it and I just freestyle it from there, do the things, and we film the journey from there.
Tell me about the 'Fan Vs. Wild' episode later this season.
We've had people writing in saying for years, Why don't you take some regular guys with you and see what happens? So we put it out there, we had about 20,000 people apply, way more than we ever imagined, we picked two of those, and I took them up to the high Canadian mountains and took them on the whole journey. It's a gem of a show, you really get a sense of what it's like for a normal person in that environment. We picked normal people, they were strong, but they weren't wilderness experts by any means. You see the whole journey, from being very wide-eyed, being lowered off these cliffs, across crevasses, swimming glacial rivers, eventually growing in confidence. It was a different dynamic for me, I'm suddenly looking after people with no experience; it brings a whole fresh load of stresses and strains, in a rather hostile place anyway. That's what makes it such a good program.
How did you identify the two people?
They shortlisted it down to 50, then 10 and then we interviewed them. Essentially, we just wanted people who were fit and strong, just regular people, not experts in that arena, for viewers to really get a feel of what it would be like for them to be on that journey with me.
What's the grossest thing you've ever eaten?
Probably a mix of raw goat testicles, frozen yak eyeballs, intestinal fluids. It's amazing what you do when you're hungry and when you're thirsty. Survival food is never going to be pretty, but you need to leave your prejudices aside in those situations and get on and do whatever it takes. The lesson of survival, people who make it out, their spirit is stronger. It's a good thing to remember -- it's not about the skills, it's how big your heart is, ultimately.
What's your favorite food when you're with your family?
Whenever I go home, my boys always make me a really nice chocolate cake, so that's always very welcome.
You are about to go on an Arctic expedition for charity. Can you tell me about it?
We're basically taking an ice-breaking, rigid, inflatable boat through 2,500 miles of Arctic ice, in the Northwest Passage. We're raising money for Global Angels, to provide safe drinking water for children in need, and to raise awareness of climate change.
Can you tell me about your video game and when it's coming out?
The video game is out in November. It's basically a way of letting people not just watch 'Man Vs. Wild,' but actually be 'Man Vs. Wild' -- play it themselves, make the decisions and live with those consequences of what happens in the wild if you do this or that. I wanted it to be very much authentic. I've done masses for it, we've had regular meetings, I've really enjoyed that process. Like the show, I want to empower people with skills that can save their lives, and I want them to get those skills almost accidentally, just by watching a really fun adventure program.
'Man Vs. Wild' airs Wednesdays at 9PM EST on Discovery.
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