April 19, 2013 07:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
Each week after a castaway is voted off Survivor: Caramoan — Fans Vs. Favorites, the eliminated contestant spends the following day doing countless interviews with various media outlets. For these interviews, I have primarily been part of interviewing each booted castaway in a conference call in which multiple reporters participate by firing a series of questions. We’re given 30 minutes to pepper them with as many inquiries we can possibly fit in. This week, when it came time to interview Phillip Sheppard, our conference call crew barely squeezed in any questions because the self-proclaimed special agent answered everything in his predictably frustrating long-winded fashion. In many of his responses, Phillip referenced his displeasure with Malcolm, labeling his decision to play two hidden Idols as foolish. After discussing his “Stealth-R-Us” strategy and modeling his gameplay based on what he learned from Boston Rob, Phillip said he’s not done with reality television. According to Phillip, he claims he might be a potential love interest on an upcoming show. Yes. You read that right. What else did his chatter go? Read on for the full interview and then dish your thoughts to tell us what you think!
Question: Were you shocked to be voted out?
Phillip Sheppard: No I wasn’t. There’s a lot of things you don’t see. I spent a good part of the day trying to convince my tribe that I thought Malcolm had two Idols. They wouldn’t listen to me. I even tried to develop a strategy of what we would do. I talked to Andrea, I talked to Dawn and I talked to Cochran. It got pretty heated a couple of times. They didn’t show that. I’m like, “Guys! I really believe they have two Idols!” No one was willing to listen to me. I was more disappointed and somewhat angry that I wasn’t being heard when I really needed to be heard.
Question: When Malcolm and Eddie played the Idols, you seemed a bit shocked. Were you surprised you became the target?
Phillip Sheppard: Malcolm said it was me. When Malcolm saw that we were all whispering amongst ourselves to see how we would cast our vote, there was enough for you to get a feel of what was going on. That was a very long Tribal Council. It was like a nightmare. Cochran was at the other end, Dawn was in the middle, Andrea was over on the other side. We couldn’t talk to each other. There was nothing I could do. They (Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie) already said they were gonna vote they way they were gonna vote. Reynold is sitting there with the individual Immunity Idol around his neck and you have Malcolm pulling out two Idols, it’s tough to overcome that situation.
Question: At the Tribal Council in which Michael went home, were you making an intentionally antagonistic move to get Malcolm to try and play an Idol?
Phillip Sheppard: When you have an opportunity to train as a special agent with the defense investigative service, we were trained to do certain types of interviews with people who may not be wanting to share or reveal information to us. One of the things that you try to do is present information to them in such a way that they feel compelled or inadvertently reveal something. A lot of times when other people are out playing Survivor with me and they’re singing songs or doing theatrical things ‘cause they’re bored, I’m trying to apply the skills I learned from back in the day as an agent. What I did very effectively at that Tribal Council was three things. Number one, I wanted to flush out, as I had done the previous week when I had thrown that challenge, I wanted to make sure there were no Idols coming from the swap with Michael, Matt or Julia that was gonna come over to the other side. … I set Malcolm up beautifully and he fell for the bait. He stands up and not only does he finally reveal for the first time in open air that he’s in fact in a very tight alliance because he’s been telling the “Stealth-R-Us” organization that he’s close with us, he’s still with us. He’s just talking to Reynold. He’s just talking to Eddie. But in fact, he now in open air stands up and says, “Hey man, they’re gonna vote for me. Give me the Idol.” Reynold does it. He gives him the Idol. He reveals who he is. Really, a traitor. And then it gets the Idol out. Guess what? Now we know who he is. Now we know the color of his stripe. We go into this week’s episode prepared to vote either him or Reynold out of the game. And what’s he do? He uses both of his Idols to get me out of the game. We’ll see how that works out for him. I think, if you think about it, with nine people left in this season, to play two Idols at this time? Well, I think it was foolish and we’ll see how it works out.
Question: How were you able to keep the “Stealth-R-Us” alliance intact for so long?
Phillip Sheppard: You heard Malcolm say the reason that he’s going after me is because he came out to play Survivor to have fun and Phillip has taken the fun out of the game. I don’t know about you, but I came to play Survivor to win a million dollars. If I want a million dollars and I’ve got a guy who is not providing fun in the game, I don’t know if I’d be giving up two Idols on him. I might be wanting to bring him to the end of the game. Sound familiar? Like Boston Rob and maybe win a million dollars? No. What he does is, he plays two Idols on me — a guy he says he can’t have fun with. I thought, “Wow, he’s not only being dishonest, he doesn’t even want to acknowledge at this moment that the reason he’s really coming after me is because he realizes “Stealth-R-Us” is so effective. … He’s not giving me the credit that I deserve. I came out there on day one and created a rule that I applied from experience in playing with him (Boston Rob): Get an alliance and get an alliance within an alliance and use that alliance to effectively get rid of the people that will try to get you out of the game. Up to that point, I only had one vote cast against me. That was from Brandon. There’s a big difference between this season and last season where I had 17. … He’s gonna tell you because he’s not having fun. I guess he did speak honestly because he wasn’t having fun because every time he tried to put something together I’d break it up and send it home. For me, it was great to put together an alliance like that with Cochran, Dawn, Andrea and for a limited time, with Corinne. We were able to dominate the season up to this point. I’m very proud of the way I played and I’m glad that he viewed me as a big enough threat that he would give up two Idols with nine people still in the game. We’ll see how that plays out for him.
Question: You mention Boston Rob a lot. Is it because you have a great respect for him? Is it a bromance? What is it about Boston Rob that infatuates you?
Phillip Sheppard: I wasn’t infatuated with Rob. When I played the first time, when I had an opportunity to play with him, everyone thought that when I played that somehow I was this way over-the-top, wacky former federal agent crazy guy and didn’t really come with a strategic game. When in fact, I wanted to demonstrate coming into this season that having played and watched how he played very much as if I had an opportunity to play with Kobe (Bryant), for example, on the basketball court and I saw Kobe do some moves and I saw him do a cross-over move, I would try to incorporate some of that into my game being very much aware that I’m not Kobe Bryant, that I’m not an NBA guard. I’m not him. But I could take a few lessons from him. So, when I played with Boston Rob the first time, I thought, like everybody else when we were all watching him play that wow, he’s got some things in his box having played four times that I just don’t have. You can’t seem to get control of this game from him, how about paying close attention to what he’s doing? Day one, he came out and he made an alliance. Number two, he got an alliance within an alliance.
There’s no such thing as a bromance between Boston Rob and I. He’s a 30-some year-old man, I’m a 55-year-old man. I have a 19-year-old son. I’m not in reality TV in the way that he’s been involved and done some wonderful things in reality TV. I’m just showing respect for a guy who I thought played a brilliant game. While other people may have made other comments about him — “He’s played four times” or “He should have won because he played four times” — I’ve heard all kinds of things. I would never speak to that in that way. He played a great game. I learned some things from him and I tried to incorporate that within my game. If I play with someone or I do business with someone and I respect what they do, I’m not one that feels like I have to diminish them in any way because they beat me or they won something. I’d like to think that I can walk away from a situation like that and use it in my own personal life going forward. In this case, I was invited back to play Survivor and I wanted to pay tribute in my own little way to demonstrate I had learned something from him.
Question: Would you have stayed loyal to “Stealth-R-Us” had you made it deeper into the game?
Phillip Sheppard: One of the things that I said at the beginning of this season when I first introduced the “BR rules,” I quoted Boston Rob where he said, “Hey man, you don’t owe anybody anything in this game.” For me, at that moment, as we were advancing through the game, I would have been prepared to do whatever I needed to do to come win the million dollars. I wasn’t coming out there to have fun. I was coming out there to win a million dollars. In the event, by the way I was playing by creating “Stealth-R-Us” again and giving people names again and it made it fun and entertaining for the people at home, I was gonna do that as well. That is part of when I’m out there playing. I want to have an opportunity here in Hollywoodland to do some things in television and film — and I will, in fact. Ideally, I would have liked to have been sitting next to Sherri and Dawn. I think I could have made a pretty good argument to beat those two if I had stayed in the game and had them sitting next to me. Dawn cried a lot and Sherri flipped, if you will, to come with us. I think I could have beat her because I think I could have done a much better job of describing what it is that I did and how I got there. No one’s asked this, but I’ll go ahead and say it. Out of all the interviews today, I was kind of surprised. I had the biggest target on me coming in this game because I was the only guy who had gone the distance, who had actually played for 39 days. To stay as long as I did, we’ve seen in past shows as Survivor, if you’re a person who stayed for 39 days, you generally leave the game pretty early. I didn’t.
Question: Would you go back for a third time? Would you use a different strategy?
Phillip Sheppard: One of the hardest things for me about playing Survivor in general, it’s not an older man’s game. I know we have Bob Crowley who won (Survivor: Gabon) at 57. But I’ve been blessed with pretty good health. But it takes a toll on me. I become extremely weak. I’ve had some issues out there. I came back really sick this time. I was sick for three months to be exact about it. I love the opportunity to play, but we’ll have to wait and see if that actually happens. A lot of people just say they want to play Survivor. For me, each time I’ve played, CBS has reached out to me. Mark Burnett has reached out to me. I’m grateful each time, but I am 55 years old. I want to enjoy a long life and so I’m not sure if I could really take the wear and tear again because it does age you to play the game. It takes something out of you every time to play that game. I’m just grateful that I got an improved edit. People can look at it the way they want to look at it. I’m just hoping when you guys write the story today in particular, that Malcolm used two Idols to get me out of the game. That tells you that something I was doing in that game was impacting it in such a way that he gave up two Idols. It might cost him a million dollars. We’ll have to wait and see.
Question: So what’s next for you?
Phillip Sheppard: I have a novel called “The Specialist: The Costa Rica Job.” It’s on Amazon. It’s doing extremely well. It’s been, at times, number 70 on the best-seller list in Canada. In addition to that, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Burnett’s ex-wife, Diana Burnett. She has a book called “Road to Reality: Voted Off The Island.” She and I are going to work on a television project together. We’ll be talking more about that in the future. There are some exciting things that are happening for Phillip Sheppard. In addition to having appeared on this season, I’ll be on a show called “Development Hell,” which is one of those digital shows that are on the internet. It’s very very funny and I’ll be playing a lead on that show. In addition, I’m going to be on another reality show that I can’t talk about right now where I play potentially a love interest for someone. So, whatever it is, Phillip does provide amazing entertainment from having the opportunity to play on Survivor twice now to do some other things in life.
What is your reaction to Phillip’s comments? Does anything he had to say surprise you? Do you think he was playing a good game? Are you happy he was voted out? Do you think he’s completely serious about his “Stealth-R-Us” alliance or do you think it was just a goof? What about the statement in which he said he might be a love interest on another reality show? Would you watch that? Sound off and leave a comment below!
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Photo Credit: CBS.