When you put twelve teams of two teens in an outdoor arena for a month in a fight for survival, any feelings of friendship or loyalty are the first to go.
At the mercy of the Game Master, Luke Tipple, the teams compete against each other for scarce resources and a $250,000 grand prize on The CW’s newest reality competition show, “Capture.” Each week, one team is chosen at random to be the hunter and must find and capture two teams or face elimination themselves. Of the captured teams, the “safe” contestants vote on who goes home, leading to constant betrayals and back stabbing.
But even Tipple was shocked at how quickly the teams began stabbing each other in the back. Zap2it got the chance to sit down with Tipple before the series’ premiere to discuss the teams’ strategies, shocking alliances (or lack thereof), and how he had to put the contestants in their place when their complaining got to be too much.
Zap2it: It’s interesting how even the hunters aren’t safe from elimination each week.
Tipple: It just made sense, and the teams started to figure that out later in the game when they couldn’t catch teams because they got too tired or something. It’s a game where no one should ever be safe. We didn’t want to give them any element of control in a sense where they knew how to master the game. I always had to be in charge, no matter what role they were playing. They’re subject to whatever whims we throw at them. It’s a good way to keep them on their toes.
The teams certainly have no qualms about stabbing each other in the back right away. Did you expect to see that kind of cut-throat competition so early on?
It really did surprise me at how quickly people regressed to a primitive nature. I told them only the strongest would survive and they really took that to heart. We’ll see some very interesting social dynamics where they make friendships, but they make those friendships for different reasons. They might do it because there’s strength in numbers because you don’t have to be the fastest. You just have to be faster than that guy! They’re making these friends, or strategic alliances and we’re like, why are they doing that? Oh, to stab them in the back! There was always a contingency in their alliances, where they would say if it comes down to it, we’re not standing by them. We’ll sell them out.
Were there any injuries sustained on the show? It’s definitely not the safest competition…
There were injuries during the show, but nothing that was actually able to take people out entirely. But you will see people that are dealing with some injuries they’ve picked up along the way. Running through the forest at a breakneck speed in panic of being captured is not the greatest way to be traversing the forest. It’s tough terrain, even for the crew and cameramen on site were susceptible to injury. It’s not a forgiving environment.
In the premiere, the contestants began complaining quite a bit during the elimination vote, but you shut them down with a great speech.
They were acting like little babies. It was what, day two, and they were complaining about being wet and hungry? You’ve got how many more days? The contestants came in not knowing what to expect. It was very clear that the brutality of the show became clear to them as they entered the arena. In the end, there’s a lot of people in this world that would do a lot to win $250,000. Anything! So when it comes down to it, be cold, be hungry. There are a couple times when I had to really lay down the law for them. Slap them around a little bit and tell them to stop complaining. They do toughen up and it’s encouraging to see. Once they realized that complaining wasn’t going to get them out of it, they had this moment of flatness where they just accept it. There are certain stages of Capture you have to go through: the acceptance of your fate and embracing it. That’s what they started to do. They become the predator and become the prey. And being the prey isn’t necessarily weak. In this game, being prey can be a powerful position, as long as you know how to play it. It’s encouraging to see the transformation we see the teams go through once they embrace that. They all get eliminated properly, but there were a few that just complained the whole way.
“Capture” premieres Monday, July 30, at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.