Sunday, October 04, 2009

Interview With Evan - Pre-Ruins

I came across 2 interviews with Evan Starkman via TV Casualty. The 1st one (this one) was conducted 2 weeks before he left for Thailand to film the latest challenge - The Ruins. He mentions Robin, apparently she was 3 months pregnant by the time she showed up for The Duel 2.

I interviewed you last year before The Gauntlet III.

Yes, I remember. We had a charming conversation. And then I read your article and I was pissed off.

Yeah, I was pretty harsh on you.

But after The Gauntlet III, I didn’t like you anymore.

You turned into this fratty-bo-latty, “all women are useless” guy.
No, no, no! That was a producer’s cut. They needed a villain. If you asked the girls who were there at the end what I did for them, I protected them to the end of the earth.

So you’re saying you were a victim of editing?
I’m not crying anything. I’ll stand by the statements as this: the few girls I wanted to send home, like Katie and Robin, are complete wastes of skin and they needed to go. I will stand by that.

Well, I’m willing to keep an open mind about The Duel II.
It’s a weird thing with these shows. Somehow, we keep going back; we know how it goes down. And I’m not crying editing, but you know that if production can take the high road or the low road, they’re taking the low road. And instead of keeping that in mind, you take it to the next level! Every one of my interviews, I go in there saying, “Don’t say anything mean; be nice.” And then I come out, realizing I did a diary entry on TV. An angry, cold, bitter diary entry that’s going to be posted everywhere.

It has to be a pretty thin line, because it is fun to see you talk [crap] about people, to a certain extent.
It was a combination of getting caught up in the overall vibe of our team and... yeah. I don’t know. It definitely wasn’t as bad as Johnny and Kenny on The Island. When I was in New Zealand for The Duel, I was sitting with a producer and he said, “You know why I love you? You’re an [butthole] across the board. I don’t think you’re mean because you make fun of everybody. No one gets a pass with you. Some people come in and pick on the same people and I think they’re mean-spirited, but you pick on everyone, even your friends.” I was like, “Eh, all right.”

Well… I guess that’s better.
It’s all in good fun. It’s like when that guy brings a camera to the party and everyone starts acting a little funnier and you’re like, “Why are you doing that?” Kids with their Facebook profiles, like, why did you put up pictures of you smoking a joint? And they don’t really think about.

But even with the guy at the party, or photos on Facebook, there’s still an idea that not that many people will see it. But with this show, they know that millions of people are going to see them get drunk and fight; you’d think they would try harder not to do that.
Someone should write a paper on this, because really, you would think that. On The Real World, fine, they’re not used to the repercussions.

But the people on the challenges have been doing it for years!
For years. But then, I just did six weeks of Spring Break with MTVU, and we’ll have a giant wheel on a stage in front of 2,000 kids, and on the wheel it will say, “Get Naked,” “Have a Threesome,” gross stuff! And we’ll be like, “Who wants to spin the wheel?” and we literally have to throw people off the stage. We’ll have ten or 15 girls, naked, on a stage in front of flashing cameras, and we’re not even giving anything away! It’s like, “Who wants to spin the wheel?” So with the challenges, we’re just those kids.

But millions of people are watching it!
I don’t understand it. I pain over it. We’ve all done this ten times, we know what happens when you act like a fool, so why do you do it? I guess that’s why we get invited back.

Maybe they act that way to ensure they’ll be invited back.
I don’t know. I have theories; I definitely have theories. It depends how deep you want to go. I mean, listen, this whole fame game is just crazy.

You seem to have been enjoying your increased level of fame a lot more in the last year.
Yeah, things are picking up, and The Duel II should be a big show. The bottom line is this: I never really wanted to be in entertainment. I never had TV aspirations. I just lucked into it, like I won the lottery, and I’m having so much fun doing it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t know what people are complaining about when they complain about being famous. The only thing I can complain about is that when you’re a real celebrity, you can afford to tell people to [fudge] off, but I don’t really have that luxury.

Who do you want to tell to [fudge] off?
Oh, you know, when you’re out until five in the morning and have to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight and you’re sitting in coach and kids are getting annoying with you. But no, it’s the best job in the world. I’ve met so many cool people and I’ve done so many cool things; I really wouldn’t change a thing.

Like spinning the Threesome Wheel?
Dreams can come true.

So how is The Duel II different from The Gauntlet III?
Well, The Gauntlet III was a team game, while The Duel is the most intense challenge format because it’s every man for himself. There’s no alliances, there’s no collusion. There’s just you in the cruel, reality world, trying to screw over some kids for some cash. It was definitely harder because you’re never really safe – there’s only one winner, and then everyone is vulnerable to go into the duel. I went to a lot of duels, which sucked. All my good friends weren’t there. But New Zealand’s an incredible country. The challenges we got to do were the coolest ever. That’s what New Zealand’s about – all they have over there are sheep and things to jump off of. That’s the entire culture.

So you did sheep and jumped off a lot of stuff?
Oh, I definitely wrangled up some sheep; that’s a fact. They’re hard to catch, that’s for sure. I would say, of all the show that I’ve done, this one will be the best. You couldn’t have scripted a better show, and this is unscripted.

How many challenges have you done now? Is this your fifth?
This is my fifth.

At what point do you decide that you don’t want to do challenges anymore? Or are you going to be like Beth, and keep doing it long after it stopped being acceptable?
Actually, I’m leaving for another challenge on April 25. I’m not supposed to say that, but I am. I think Beth’s coming, actually – I’m like, “What are you, 45?” But I don’t know, I’m very ready to take the next step and move away from this stuff, but at the same time… Listen, I’m 24 years old. I don’t have a care in the world and it’s free money. Imagine if someone called you and was like, “Hey, do you want to come on a free vacation to a wild time and we’ll pay you?” You’d be like, “Definitely.”

So you guys get paid whether or not you win the show?

I was always confused as to how these people could afford to take so much time off if they didn’t even win the show.
No, we definitely get paid. Like I said, I have so much fun doing it, I can’t imagine not going, but at the same time, it’s kind of like college. I told myself that I was going to go to college until I found something better to do. If I actually have something better to do, then I’ll leave. And with this show, I want something better to do; I’m trying to establish something better to do, but until I have something better to do, I’m going.

Kenny’s not on The Duel II, and you weren’t on The Island. Are the producers trying to break you two up?
I think that’s the gimmick! Kenny and I had actually filmed the pilot for a show that was getting a lot of momentum.

Your own reality show?
Yeah, kind of like a Bromance sort of deal. It seemed like, just as we were going to move beyond the show, MTV got real worried that we’d stop answering their phone calls for the challenge so they split us up. It really sucked. But Kenny and I are still the best of friends.

Why is CT back for The Duel II?
CT makes a great trailer, that’s why.

But isn’t he more of a liability for MTV at this point?
The rumour is that they can no longer insure him to come back. But he makes a great trailer. The first episode, they show in the trailer. CT really came through with that sucker punch on Adam. I’ll give CT credit, like, if he was smart enough to stick around a challenge instead of just punching people, he’d probably be a pretty rich guy. He’s really strong and mean; he’s got the right combination of strength and meanness to win. But he’s just an idiot. And the best part about that fight is that every time you go on a challenge, they confiscate your luggage and replace it, basically, with a hockey back full of trade-outs. Clothes that companies have paid for you to wear. For some reason, I don’t know who cleared this, every one of us had a big onesie, like a baby would wear. Obviously, the first night, we’re all like, “Let’s put on the fuzzy onesies!” So it’s us wearing baby blue, fuzzy onesies with duckies on them, and then this huge brawl breaks out. Adam’s getting his ass kicked while wearing a green onesie. People are breaking up the fight in these onesies. The next day, production rolled through and confiscated all of them, because it looked ridiculous. Who would have said it was OK to give those out?

How about Brooke? Has she gotten crazier, or has she defied expectation and worked some of her [crap] out?
I actually just saw Brooke on Friday and I love Brooke, for the simple reason that she knows that she’s completely out of her mind. She’s come to terms with it. We were filming the after show for the duel, and even then, she was rolling around the dressing room floor, on her back. I was like, “What are you doing?” And she’s like, “I’m trying to relax!” She’s completely out of her mind but she’s a sweetheart. I love her for it; I actually get along with her really well.

You seem to like a lot of people who revel in their own idiocy.
I think I like anyone who has come to terms with who they are. People who just say, “This is who I am; I’m just throwing it out there.”

But that also invites a kind of laziness, like those people feel like they don’t need to fix their bad qualities simply because they admit to having bad qualities.
Well, there are levels of idiocy. There are people who are idiots because they can’t help themselves and are just mean and don’t contribute anything to society. Brooke has come to terms with who she is and is working on it. She’ll probably be working on it forever, but listen, at the end of the day, who am I? I’m not a shrink. I can’t judge these people. It’s not like I keep in touch with her; I just wish her the best. I’ve never had a problem with her so I don’t want to say anything bad about her.

What about Robin?
Oh, this is a great story. So Robin shows up to the challenge, in full Robin Form. Crushing Xanax, Percocet, everything. Being hung upside down and punched in the stomach, and then she’s like, “Oh, by the way, I’m three months pregnant.”

It’s like, what are you doing here? Go home! So yeah, Robin is due.

The producers didn’t have a problem with her doing this?
I think she kept it on the DL until she was there.

They don’t have medical tests that the contestants go through beforehand that would catch this kind of thing?

No. I am with you; I think the show should implement a pregnancy/performance-enhancing drug test.

Or, at least, don’t let the pregnant people touch drugs or alcohol when they get on the challenge.
Robin is difficult to control.

So you and Robin have become great friends, is what you’re saying.
Oh, we’re close. Real close. She’s naming the baby Evan. Oh, you remember Derek, from The Island, how his girlfriend was pregnant? Guess what they named the kid?

I have no idea.

No, he didn’t.
I’m telling you.

That is terrible. That kid is going to hate him.
I love it. I was so happy.

So what else happens on The Duel II?
It’s great – there are a lot of old faces.

Who’s the oldest one this time?
Mark. He’s 41.

What is he still doing there?
He was on the first Road Rules ever. He actually used to host the challenges before TJ Lavin.

That has to be humbling.
Oh, but have you seen this guy with his shirt off? Whatever he’s on, I want some. I love Mark, we get along great, and he’s the best-looking guy on the show.

Well, we’ve been talking for a while now, so is there anything you wanted to mention before we wrap this up?

Well, I think The Duel II is going to be a great show. Oh, and I have some shameless plugs: I’m doing a lot of work with the White Ribbon campaign, which works to end violence against women – especially poignant right now, what with the whole Chris Brown/Rihanna thing. They do great work. And Kenny and I have started our own company, Suck Yeah, which is all about being cool, not buying cool. Like, if you have a lot of clotehs that have Celtic writing on it, you're not cool. If you wear a lot of layered clothing, that's not cool.

What if it's cold?
Well, fine, but if you're still wearing three different shirts in the summer, then get over yourself.
Evan Starkman from The Duel II - TV Casualty

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