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Love in the Wild: Host Darren McMullen Interview

June 23, 2011 12:21 PM by Megan Thompson

NBC  is premiering Love in the Wild, June 29, which takes a whole new twist on the dating show.  The contestants are looking for love in the beautiful jungles of Costa Rica.  Men and women are paired up to compete through rigorous challenges in the outdoors and hopefully find love.  Scottish-born, Darren McMullen, is the charming host of Love In The Wild.  We had the pleasure of talking to Darren on a press conference to learn more about him and all the “shenanigans” that take place on the new show.  Keep reading to find what happened when Darren ran into a drug baron in the jungles of Costa Rica!  Yes, it’s a true story!

Did anyone find really find love?

(Laughing) I fell in love with everyone on the show!  Without giving too much away, a significant number of people found true love!  To the point where they are sneaking around currently meeting with each other in different towns.  Everyone was genuinely surprised at the amount of people that actually truly fell for each other.

Are people still together then?

Yes, they absolutely are!  There could even be wedding bells for even more than one couple!

What types of danger will the couples face both in adventures and relationships?

Adventure wise, they were really out there in the elements – wild boars, crocodiles, trekking through rugged terrain and extreme heat.  As for relationships, when you put people in this scenario all your feelings are heightened.  It is like the Romancing the Stone movie, where you throw two complete strangers into an isolated wilderness and you see what happens!

How does the elimination work? 

There is a “couple choice” ceremony.  The winners of the challenge get to decide first if they want to stay together or switch partners.  The process goes on until you only have one woman or one man left, then those two are eliminated.  So it doesn’t necessarily mean its’ going to be the last place couple because maybe one of the people who came in first wants to switch with a person who came in last.  Where you come in the race doesn’t determine if you are eliminated, but it certainly does help to come in first. 

Tell us about you, your background and how you got involved with the show?

I’m originally Scottish, I moved to Australia when I was a teenager.   I was a bit of corporate whore, as I like to call it, Monday through Friday, 9-5, suit and tie.  I thought I was going to go down that path and own a bunch of Fortune 500 companies.  I did work my way up, but I wanted to do something more creative.  I had a ceremonial burning of all my sites and ties.  I took off all over the world; I did a bunch of soul searching.   

Back in Scotland I was waking up every morning to watch this kid’s show – and I asked myself why in the hell am I watching this?  I hate this show!  Then I realized it was purely for the host – he was edgy, he was raw, he was making mistakes – it wasn’t fake!  Wow – I want to do that, I want to be a guy that people tune in just to watch, doesn’t matter what show I’m doing.  

I flew back to Australia and I had that in mind and I wasn’t going to take any other job.  I was in the poor house.  I had to borrow my mom’s car to go in to have a meeting with an agent.   It was an awful agency – one where they make you charge you to be in their agency.  I got up to leave and they chased me down and said we will give it a go! I got a call the next day for a car show.  I got a better agent, and through that better agent, I got a show called Exclusive and then I moved onto MTV.  Then I got offered Minute to Win It on Channel 7 in Australia.  My agent called and said you have to come back and audition for this Love In The Wild Show.  I couldn’t because my parent was sick.  My agent asked if I could send something on tape.  To do the tape, I found some trees in Sydney and I was wading through the trees and I got bit by a spider!  I started freaking out, my leg was swelling up.  I did one more take and then went to the hospital.  It wasn’t my best piece of work, but it worked.

Did you start to get a sense of who was going to make it to the end of the show?

I think we all got a sense early on; who was falling head over heels for each other.  In the end, when it came down to the last three couples – I would say the right three couples were in there.  I’m sure they have a long-term relationship ahead of them.

At the beginning I’m assuming partners were chosen for superficial reasons, did level of skill in the challenges ever play a factor?

No, it didn’t.  I think everyone was there genuinely for the right reason.  There was no million dollar prize for this.   No one likes travelling with someone they don’t like.  The ultimate prize is to travel around the world with their partner, and hopefully kick-start that relationship.  You will see people bow out because there is no one there for them anymore. 

Did you have any close call in the wild?

The only close call I had was with the local people!  I happened to get into an altercation with a drug baron!  I learned a very valuable lesson – don’t get into altercations with a drug baron!  Because not only was he caught carrying a hand-gun, but he was caught carrying a machete and an AK 47.  One of those items would have been enough to scare me, but he had all three!  God bless my crew, they are all so loyal, they all jumped in as well.  The drug baron’s brother came up to me and said, “look my brother is very angry…” He grabbed me, “my brother is crazy, okay you understand.”   Yes, I get it!  I draw the line at machine guns! 

Were you ever jealous watching this beautiful cast?

I don’t get jealous; I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin.  I think there is someone for everybody out there, probably several people for everybody out there.  I was jealous of the fun they were having out there.  These guys were going on crazy adventures – repelling off waterfalls, zip lining.  I was definitely jealous of the fun they were having!

What struck you first when arriving in Costa Rica? 

What a massive production this was! They built a min-universe for these people to live in!  As far as Costa Rica, what blew me away was the people (drug-lord excluded) the people were just lovely.   From beautiful rain-forests, to flat lakes, beautiful mountains and white sandy beaches – the wildlife is just insane!  I will definitely go back to explore when I have some free time.

How were the individuals chosen to be on the show?

I wasn’t in the process, but I can tell you what I know.  The producers were adamant about not wanting people who just wanted to be famous.  They specifically chose people who had real jobs.   They had to be people looking for love.  They did a good job of weeding the want –to-be celebrities out! 

Did any contestant bow out of an adventure?

No, I think to my surprise everyone took the adventures head on.  A lot of people conquered their fears on the show.

The challenges aren’t very romantic, compared to The Bachelor; do you think this show provides a better way to get to know someone?

I honestly believe it is.  The one thing I took away from this show –there is no point in the game face.  You can waste three months with someone not showing your true colors.  When you are in these kinds of scenarios, you have no time for game faces. 

Is this show less serious than an Amazing Race or Survivor? 

Yes, it is. I’m light-hearted, edgy and cheeky – but never rude.  The producers said we don’t want it to be serious – we want it to be like a romantic comedy!  It suits my personality.  I’m so glad the producers did what they did with it. 

Why do you think Americans have an obsession with reality dating shows?

I don’t know.  I wish I knew what people would watch!  The biggest compliment I can give this show is – I don’t like reality shows and specifically hate dating shows.   But I was actually really into this show, I got completely obsessed!

Comment below and let us know if you will be watching the premiere June 29th.

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Photo Credit: NBC

Topics: Love In The Wild, NBC Reality TV Shows |

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