Survivor Caramoan – Exclusive Interview With Brandon Hantz
After watching last week’s episode of Survivor Caramoan where one of the most dramatic and disturbing tribal councils occurred ever when Brandon Hantz was voted off Survivor after some aggressive and unstable behaviour I did not know what to expect when I interviewed him.
I have to confess I found him likeable, engaging, sincere, and a bit of a man child. The father of three talked about THAT episode, what occurred afterwards, and his not so great relationship with his uncle Russell Hantz.
He also said he would love to come to Australia and would be open to being on a reality show in this country.
Unfortunately the interview was only for ten minutes so was unable to ask him everything I wanted but found him was very easy person to talk.
Reality Ravings (RR): One thing about you Brandon is that you are quite a polarising personality, there are times where your so sweet, genuine and sincere and nice, and then there was this other side of you we saw on the show that was quite angry and vindictive. Who is the real Brandon Hantz?
Brandon Hantz (BH): I guess no one is ever going to really know, unless your close to me you really don’t know me. I have great relationships with friends and family. I am just a humble guy, I wear my feelings on my sleeve and I have a lot of responsibilities in the actual real world. People think how can he operate he is so emotional, you are seeing an hours worth of television that does not do me justice, but at the same time there is a lot of truth in what you see about me, just like in real life if I am being bullied or picked around I am not going to stand for it. No one is going to treat me like crap in real life. People don’t just walk around and give people names, as that was a Survivor situation, so keep it in that aspect of Survivor we can’t bring that into real life.
RR: Obviously you were a part of one of the most dramatic tribal councils in all time. We saw what happened and Jeff asked you [after he was voted off] go and stand behind the prop that was there for the immunity challenge. What happened after that? What happened after the cameras turned off?
BH: Me and Jeff just talked for a little bit about life and how I was feeling. He was really helpful and calming me down. He said “hey I really appreciate you taking the time to play this game, and we really appreciate how much time your family has put into this whole thing.” It’s a big deal you know, we are investing our lives in something people think it is so easy. It takes a toll on you, mentally, it takes a toll on you physically and even after the game you have to deal with the critics and the people coming up to you and saying I really don’t like the way you played when really it is unnecessary to have an opinion if you have never played before.
RR: Did you go to Ponderosa[Ed’s note: Ponderosa is the camp they go to after they have been eliminated and stay there until end of filming] after that? Or did you get seen by a medic? What happened after you spoke to Jeff?
BH: [laughs] Noooo. I went straight to Ponderosa, nothing special happened. People think the doctors surrounded me and saying are you OK. No I just got angry, when you get angry you calm down and you go home.
RR: With that anger of yours did you at anytime, on the island, feel you were going to lose self control? Were you worried that you were actually scaring some of your tribemates? Did that go through your mind?
BH: Not really. I wasn’t really thinking clearly obviously. I wasn’t thinking let me worry about this or that, I was completely out of the game at that point I was just upset.
RR: I think living with Special Agent Phil would drive me to all sorts of mental despair. Was as he as bad as he comes across onscreen. He seems pompous and his egotistical nature. Was that what he is like in real life?
BH: I’m starting to believe so. I really have not had the real life interaction with him aside from a few times. I really believe he believes he is special, I don’t mean a special agent, but special in general – higher than everyone else. I’m not going to disrespect the man as a person, that is just what I have taken from him. If I have made my mistake I will own up to it. What I did out there was unacceptable but its real. Reality TV is not so real at times, they ask for real people and real reality TV and I made it real out there. It is a lot more fake than it looks. Not the game itself but the personalities out there. You got to remember they are putting these guys in front of a camera and everyone wants to look good at home. They want to tear down people so people laugh. But me? I am just telling you what I feel. It is not a joke to me, I am very transparent and I thought that is what reality TV is about – the real people.
RR: Do you reckon if there had not been any cameras on you would have decked Special Agent Phil?
BH: If there was not cameras would I have got him?
RR: Yeah would have smacked him?
BH: Let’s say this much if Phillip had done that in real life, which would have been really out of character for him as I think he only does it whenever he knows he is in safety. As soon as I did that he went straight to the camera crew and I don’t think in any means that in his mind he thought he was going to be unsafe. Let me give you an example he is kind of like a chihuahua they kind of bark really loud and their annoying and then when a big dog comes around the corner, and this case I am smaller but I am the bigger dog, they run away and hide behind the couch. So that is what I perceive as Phillip, the little chihuahua that barks alot.
RR: You watched the episode with your family with your extended family, did your children watch it with you as well? Or did you just watch it with your uncle [Russell Hantz]?
BH: The whole family, Russell was sitting next to me he was so proud he was jumping up and down and yelling “yes, yes, yes”. Then he goes and does interviews about it and calls me crazy and says I need help and pulls this big publicity stunt to make himself look better, I don’t have no respect for him whatsoever.
RR: You seem to have a fractious relationship with your uncle, it seems to be hot and cold. Do you try to please him? Why is Russell such the big man in the Hantz family or that is what he tries to portray anyway.
BH: He is the littlest man in the Hantz family. [laughs] We have a back and forth thing. I continually, try to just love him and I do want to have a relationship with my uncle Russell but he has such a big ego, his ego won’t allow him to have a relationship with anyone in the family that matters. There is always an ulterior motive of what he can get from something and it is very frustrating as I just want to be family and saying goes if you can find two friends in life you have done a really good thing and that’s what matters. I want my friends to be my family but so far it has been such a rough road – sometimes family is not always family, sometimes it is your friends that are more supportive than some of my family. It is really unfortunate.
Told to wrap interview up by publicity.
RR: Last question – would you go on another reality TV show what would it be?
BH: I would rather go on one that is Australian – just kidding. I would play Survivor again, but I would like to play against Russell, I would like to see him lose. I want to write his name down on a piece of paper and hear the words “Russell Hantz you have been voted out of Survivor and the tribe has spoken”.
RR: I have been running this campaign that I would like to see a Survivor edition of The Amazing Race with you and Russell on the same team running it together, so are you saying you would not be open to that?
BH: Honestly he would have to really chill out, he is just so about himself. I don’t think he would do that as it would be him getting the spotlight stolen and I don’t think he would be into that. For me if he were to just apologise and just humble himself just a little bit I think we would have a good relationship, but I hope that happens, but I don’t know if it is going to.
Editors Note: This interview that Jeff Probst gave to Entertainment Weekly (well worth a read) suggests Brandon was seen by a psychologist after his exit from the show.
Survivor Caramoan – Fans V Favourites is on GO Channel Thursday nights at 7.30pm and repeats on Saturday at 4.30pm