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It's proven that his survival tips work. In Man vs Wild, Bear Grylls pushes himself to the limit as he navigates through some of the most extreme and challenging conditions. Recently, a boy lost in the forest used what he learned from watching the show to help rescuers find him. In the latest episodes, Grylls is taken to some of the most challenging places on earth, where he tries to survive the nature, the wilderness, and...comedian Will Ferrell!
How did the special with Will Ferrell come about?
I thought of doing this a while ago, and I knew he liked the show, and that he had this Land of the Lost survival-style film out. It was one of those things that just sort of worked out, and we got talking, and we just decided to do it. But it really worked, I think. I’m proud of that programme, and he did amazingly. He worked really hard on that, you know. And I asked him to do two things — One was to turn up on his own without an entourage, and the other was to trust me. He completely complied with both.
We met on the tip end of the Arctic. He turned up a bit shell-shocked, but he really trusted me, and we had a blast. His confidence grew as the journey went on, but we’re going to do more of these kinds of specials in between the normal Man vs Wild. But as a one-off and as the first one, he did amazingly, and I was really proud of how he did.
How did you guys get along when the cameras weren’t rolling?
The camera is always rolling. He’s just a dude. He’s a lovely family man and a dad. He’s got kids the same age as mine. We both love our jobs, and even though we’re both involved in different fields, a lot of the kind of stuff we face is very similar. He’s a very funny man, and we worked hard together. It’s a real privilege to call him a friend after that.
He said he went through one of the most intense experiences of his life, and I think the magic of the wild is that it creates strong bonds between people. You know, the fluff of life gets blown away, and it brings you close. Yes, we had loads in common.
What’s your physical fitness routine like for keeping in optimal survival shape?
I try and work out six days a week. It’s just a daily discipline for me, and I consider it part of my job, but I don’t go too mad. I exercise about 40 minutes a day, and I’ll run one day and do circuit training the next day. I live in an area where there are brilliant hills and mountains, so I get a good hill run with my dog. At home, I’ll do the circuit training with old weights, along with pull-ups in the trees and that sort of stuff.
I’ll also have a really good yoga session once or twice a week, which I do for my back. Having broke my back when I was in the army, I kind of need to do that always. It keeps me flexible, which I really need for my job as well, so that’s my base thing.
And then I spend a lot of time just messing around doing the stuff, you know. When we’re out there, we’re working hard along 20-hour days, so I’m keeping fit. I also always get the crew involved when we have travel days in between work, and we do yoga at the airports or improvised circuit training wherever we’re stuck at.
If you were given the chance to gorge on stuff you picked up from the jungle or fast food, what would you choose?
When I’m filming, survival requires movement. You need your energy, and you’ve got to eat the bad stuff, and survival food is rarely pretty, but you kind of do it. I get in that zone, and I eat the nasty stuff, but I’m not like that when I’m back home.
I love home cooking, and I’m not a great one for fast food. I try and eat really healthy when I’m home, but I certainly don’t eat worms and snakes. My kids love making cakes, so I eat lots of cakes. That's not very healthy, but we tend to eat healthy the rest of the time, so I’m not a great fast food person. I train hard, and I think part of the training is that you need to eat healthy.
If you had to eat Will Ferrell and all the fat that carries, for how many days do you think he could feed you for?
Yes, I talked about this with him. I reckon that he would have helped someone last a long time. He’s a big guy, you know. He really is. But he’s quite fit. He runs marathons and stuff, but he’s about 6-foot-3 or so. But yes, he looked a bit uncomfortable when we started talking about that.
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