Interview: Brandon Hantz talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'
Don't expect any apologies from the latest 'Survivor' bootee
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You probably aren't expecting any apologies from "Survivor: Caramoan" castmember Brandon Hantz after the events featured on Wednesday's (March 13) episode.
And you won't get any in this exit interview.
On Wednesday's episode, after threatening all season long to raise ruckus at camp if things went against him, Brandon poured out his tribe's beans and rice, upended furniture and got into several shouting matches with Phillip Shepard. This led the Favorites tribe to decide to forfeit the next Immunity challenge in an effort to get out from under Brandon's dark cloud, which prompted an unprecedented battlefield Tribal Council moderated by host Jeff Probst and devolving into another Brandon-Phillip shouting match.
In his exit interview, I asked Brandon if he felt regret or the need to apologize. He does not. I asked if he felt any concern about making his teammates including Andrea and Dawn cry. Half-and-half. I asked if he felt the other castaways were in any danger. He does not.
Anyway, you can judge Brandon's words for yourself.
Full Q&A after the break...
HitFix: In your last interview on Wednesday's episode, you said you were proud of the way you left the game. You've had some months to think about it and you were able to watch the episode. Do you feel any different now?
Brandon Hantz: Yeah, it's been a year, man. But no. Absolutely not. I'm proud of the way that I went out, man. I just was making a point, man. I really was just trying to prove that you cannot treat people the way you want and expect a good result, I mean treat people negative. Phillip on "Survivor" -- not as a person, but on "Survivor" -- Phillip was a perfect example of a dictator and there's always one guy who stands up and says, "You know, we're not having it anymore." It's a revolution, man. It changes the way that things go. It actually does good. So from now on, every time somebody plays "Survivor," they're gonna be more careful before they start going around barking.
It would have happened if Shamar was on my tribe. If Shamar was on my tribe, for example, and he told me to get some rice for him, I would have had issues with Shamar. Just like he was cussing and yelling at everybody, I'd have cussed and yelled right back at him. There's gotta be somebody to stand up and say, "Hey, you know what? I'm not dealing with it." I wasn't like that my first season. I wanted to say, "You know what? I'm leaving that person behind me." I'm always gonna have the good characteristics, it's not gonna change. That's me. But also, there's other sides to me. There's the side that just says, "You know what? Enough's enough. You're not gonna take kindness for weakness anymore." And I was just standing up for myself, man.
HitFix: When you watched your first "Survivor" experience, was that all you took away as having done wrong? The "taking kindness for weakness" thing?
Brandon: Absolutely. I was made fun of and I was made to be a joke and my faith was made to be a joke. It was a rough season. It was a rough everything. Accurate edit, accurate everything, but it was just rough. It was like, "Wow." It was like, "I did that?" I was that much of a puss?" I'm sorry if that's not good to say. "That I was that much of a joke?" That's how how I took it. I was my worst critic. I was just overwhelmed. It was my first time. I didn't know what it was all about, but I realized. This time it's been fun. It's been like... Dude... I don't get involved with the media as far as the social media. I have my best friend Zach do it. I'm enjoying my life. I'm enjoying my time. I've had a year and we're so excited. Me and Candace is just so proud of me. My wife, she says, "I very proud of you, baby." And Russell, he said, "I'm more proud of you than I've ever been" and that meant the world to me. It meant the world that my dad was proud of me. Everybody was proud of me, because they understood where I was coming from .
And I want the public to understand, but not everybody's gonna understand, which is OK. Trust me, I'm perfectly fine with that.
HitFix: Did you *want* to return to "Survivor," or did you require some convincing to go back into the game?
Brandon: No, I accepted. But after they accepted... See, they called me and I was separated. I went into the interview and I said, "Look, I'm separated. I don't have a wife. I'm going in and I'm gonna be a player. I'm gonna be a player. I'm gonna be lookin' for girls" and this and that. And they were like, "What!" Well, when they called me back to tell me that I was going, I had just gotten back together with my wife, so they were like, "Holy crap. This changes everything." I said, "So I can't play?" They were like, "No, no. We were able to make plans on you being this player, so thank you for telling us." I was like, "No" and I was very regretful about the way that I acted in that first interview and when they called me back, I was like, "I'm sorry. I love my wife." We were only separated for three months, but those three months were the worse three months of my life. A month-and-a-half, two months later I'm on an island. I didn't get to travel with NASCAR. I didn't get to see my family very much. It's just that life was rough. You have to understand that I was thinking about that, I was thinking about my last season and I had to deal with Phillip Shepard, so it was just a bad season for me. It was a bad season in my life, but it all worked out great. We're excited for the way that everything happened and we're just hoping that it doesn't stop me from playing another season of "Survivor."
HitFix: We obviously know about your problems with Phillip and you said you probably would have had problems with Shamar. But do you think that if you'd been in a tribe without Phillip, none of this would have happened and you'd have been completely fine?
Brandon: Absolutely. We had such a good time. Every castmember. At the finale, you're gonna see things changed. Everybody's regretful for things they say, you say things you don't mean, you end up, like, texting. Andrea texted all last night apologizing for everything. Dawn's writing me things on my Twitter. And, again, I don't see this stuff, but I'm hearing this stuff from Russell and everybody else. I don't get involved with whole social media thing. The cool thing about everything is that everybody's sorry about what they did. It doesn't go any further. Some people are bitter, butt-hurt and don't want to talk to you anymore, but those are people and that's just their character and they can't get over things and it consumes them. I'm not like that and it's cool that most of my cast this season aren't. I've talked to Corrine, I've talked to Malcolm, I've talked to Dawn, I've talked to everybody. I've even messaged Phillip, but I think he's a little bit nervous about how I'm gonna react. I wish he'd understand that as much as I don't like him as a player on "Survivor," I respect him as a man and I respect him as a person and I don't want any reason that he thinks that I dislike him. Truth be known, I love him. I love everybody and I'd like to be friends with everybody. But as a Survivor, I can't stand Phillip Shepard.
HitFix: You talked about how everybody else is apologizing and sorry. Are you sorry for anything that you did out there?
Brandon: As far as? When it comes to personal life? Of course. But as far as regretful? No. I'm sorry that I didn't make it further, but... I bashed people on "Survivor." You've gotta understand something: The way that they bashed me was personally. You don't personally bash somebody in a game. I understand if you talk about me bad in a "Survivor" aspect, but when you say, "This guy needs mental help." That's when I lose respect for you as a person. Really. Cochran made a comment that he equivollated [sic] me to a murderer in the first or second episode. That was too far. That was a personal hit, not a "Survivor" hit, but a personal hit. Phillip personally hit me with the kids comment. Corrine personally hit me calling me crazy. Malcolm personally hit me. Is it forgiven? Yeah. All is well. I understand. You're in the heat of the moment. I regret the things that I said about Mikayla that I personally hurt Mikayla and i regret that. But I never personally hurt anyone or said anything bad. I kept everything in the game, in the game. Absolutely, if that answers your question.
HitFix: But you saw that Andrea was crying and that Dawn was crying. When you saw that, either out in the game or watching on television, did you feel any regret at the pain that they were obviously feeling?
Brandon: With Andrea? Not-so-much. Dawn? I love Dawn, man. That's my mom. That's like my "Survivor" mom. She's amazing and any time she's sad, I'm sad. But as far as Andrea's concerned? She kinda played both sides of the fence constantly, it was hard to believe. It was just kinda an act to me. That's that answer to that question.
HitFix: You poured out the beans and you poured out the rice, but looking back, do you think you were ever a danger to anyone out there?
Brandon: No. Not at all. I poured rice and poured beans out. You never see me get in anybody's face, period. You never see me get within five feet of anybody. It's silly. Now at the challenge, when he brought up the family and Jeff had to calm me down, all of that was true, all of it was real, all of it was everything. As far as the physical confrontation part, it could have gotten out of hand with me and Phillip, but as far as my castmembers? They were like my family. We got along perfect. There was nobody in that tribe that didn't get along with me. Period. Nobody. Phillip took it too far. He started by saying, "I'm a street-fighter." There was no physical reference that I made to Phillip, period. At all. There was no aggression towards Phillip that I showed, other than saying, "Shut the blank up, Phillip. You're annoying. Be quiet." And then he wants to say, "Well, I'm a street-fighter." If he comes at me like that, then things are going to get physical. Well, he made that threat first and then, as you could see, it was like an antagonist thing and then he had a conversation with me and in that conversation he's like, "Well, I'm an agent." You know? "I used to be this, I used to be this." I'm like, "Phillip, that's not where it's at. I don't want to fight you. I'm trying to say I'm sorry." And he didn't like that. So he got butt-hurt in his pride. Really man, if you put two-and-two together, all that stuff could have been avoided. It just could have been avoided. As far as the game is concerned, I do think Phillip had a big deal with what had happened. He could have just been told to chill out out and just stuff like that, which I believe that they did try to calm him down and production is always good with that kind of stuff. Anyways, aside from that, he went too far. He really did. Just as much as I accept the consequences for what I did and was voted out, he's gotta understand that there's consequences for that and now his gameplay is screwed. This whole Special Forces R Us thing is gonna dwindle quickly. So we'll just have to see what happens.
HitFix: Did you appreciate the care that Jeff Probst took with you at that challenge, at that Tribal Council?
Brandon: I genuinely can say that I love Jeff Probst, man. It's easy for me to love in the first place. Like I say, I love everybody. But there's a special place in my heart for Jeff, because of the fact that I could feel his genuine care. He was worried about me. Understood what I went through in the couple months before me getting on the show. So it was understanding, you know? Dude, it's just everybody has different seasons in life. Right now, in my mind, my life is going amazing. And you look: Every time life gets up, it goes right back down, it comes right back up again. There's ups and downs in life and it was a rough time in life and I don't expect people to understand it. But it is what is. That is the reality of things. I'm no different than anybody else, man. Really. Just extraordinary personality, that's all.