Exclusive Interview: Deadliest Warrior host Max Geiger
|INTERVIEWS - TV|
In the last of our looks at Deadliest Warrior, we speak to the show's self-proclaimed 'nerd'...
In the last of our interviews with the hosts of Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior, which returns for a second season this week, I caught up with Max Geiger during his lengthy commute to discuss highlights of Season 2 and the glory of afros...
What do you do on the show?
Okay, um, I'm the nerd of the show. [both laugh] So our job, as a show or as a team of hosts, is to bring in different warrior experts, have them simulate techniques and demonstrate the weapons that different warriors would have used throughout either history or the modern period. Then, after we have all the results of the test and we know what the weapons can do, we can't obviously pit two live human beings against each to settle the central question - who's deadliest, who would in in a fight - so my job is to run a computer simulation in order to determine who would be the victor in this imaginary battle.
I don't imagine your role has changed that much in the second season.
We're basically using all the same stuff from last season for my job. There's some tweaks and some refinements I can make, but they're happy with what they had. And so it's doing that again.
Which is cool because then you don't have to go back and code.
Yes. Well, the thing to remember is I didn't program the simulation from the ground up. We just licensed an engine from Slytherin Studios - Slytherin Strategies - in the United Kingdom. It's a commercial game engine and they just brought me in to overwrite parts of it.
It seems like you guys are going to do more going outside the studio for field tests this season.
Uh yes, we have a lot more field tests. And part of that is because we had more episodes, a higher ratio this season of episodes where modern firearms were involved. Also a very exciting range of warriors. We had Calvary this time around, and that's something that I wanted to do last season, and was very happy that we got to do this seaon.
Speaking of the match-ups, which one ended up being the most interesting to you?
Um...on a personal level, this season the most interesting match-up for me was "Comanche vs Mongol", because I've been a huge fan of Genghis Khan since seventh grade when I had to do a report on him. I just thought the Mongol empire was amazing because it's these people who were existing as a collection of nomadic tribes who got their acts together and managed to conquer all of Asia.
And the way they did it too was rather egalitarian and rather modern. Genghis Khan would always offer people a chance to surrender, and once the Mongols had taken over, there were some real benefits to the empire. There was freedom of religion, a stable economic system you could then be part of...it was really interesting to see that people who had this reputation for barbarism had so many modern features to them. And also their tactics were very interesting, very simple but very organized, and sort unexpected and unusual for what a lot of people had seen at that time. And then the Comanches have their own reputation for being incredibly fearsome.
On the American plain. I'm always interested in seeing more and different types of Native American warriors and sort of breaking out of that "oh, they're all the same" stereotype that a lot of people have. I think people will see some real differences between the Apache from [Season 1] and the Comanche from this season, sort of the epitome of the horse-mounted, plains Indian warrior.
Would you say that that is your absolute must-see episode from this season?
Oh my God, there are so many must-see episodes this season for so many different reasons. It really depends on what you like. If you like big booms or you like modern automatic weapons, geez "Navy SEALS vs Israeli Commandos" - that's awesome...the fact that we get to look a little at paramilitary police tactics. "SWAT vs GSG9" we're introducing less lethal weapons into the mix as opposed to kill-you-outright with things like tasers and sting-ball grenades - that's awesome. "Alexander the Great vs Attila Hun" - that's just like apples to oranges right there but it's huge heroes of the ancient world smashing on each other.
It's going to be awesome. "Roman Centurion vs [India's] Rajput Warrior" - I hadn't even heard of the Rajput before we did the episode and I'm very impressed with their weapons. Romans are sort of a classic flavor, sort of a generic enemy or generic hero depending on which side of history we're on and we're gonna get to dive deep into some of their equipment and I'm excited we get to do that for the first time. It's everything - it's bigger, it's broader, we've got more budget for bigger tests, bigger booms...it's very easy to get super pumped about.
So basically they're all must-sees?
Uh...[Laughs] At the risk of going over the top, sure. There's something for everyone.
Which weapon that you tested Season 2 most surprised you?
Wow...we had surprise in good ways, surprise in bad ways. We've had weapons that did things that were unexpected...
Take whichever is the first thing that pops in your head.
Actually, I think coming back to the sniper rifle in "SWAT vs GSG9" just because we did some real long-range shooting this time and was say some really impressive results.
Yeah, I'm fond of sniper rifles from my video gaming but...
Oh yeah, but it's totally something different - I mean, me too from video games. When you're out there in the field and you're looking with your naked eye all the way down range at the target, you're like, "That's just like a little dot and the sun's in his eyes and the wind is picking up, this is just an impossible shot to hit." Then he goes and he places a bullet with bulls eye accuracy, just dead on, you're like, wow, that's totally scary - that he can reach out and touch the target with that kind of accuracy.
So what was your favorite weapon?
Oh, there's so many...I really can't. There is no...I mean, we've just been through such a carnival of carnage that it's like, I know what the right tool for the right job is in any situation at this point. Would I be confident to use all of them? Probably not but...I don't know. There's just many good ones, it's tough.
Did you guys submit any suggestions for the match-ups this season?
Um, yeah we did but the thing is the match selection process is so long that it really just comes down to making a big list of warriors and picking out the ones that would be well-balanced, and a lot goes into that. The first criterion is do we think this fight will not be completely be one-sided, will it at least be somewhat balanced? Will it be an interesting fight where the outcome will be in doubt? And then after that there's the question of how familiar/how exotic are these warriors?
You want a somewhat familiar warrior to ground the audience and then you want an exotic warrior to show something new, show a part of history the audience hasn't seen before. I think a really good example of that would be the ["Aztec Jaguar vs Zande Warrior"] this season. A lot of people in California know about the Aztecs, know about the reputation, haven't necessarily seen all the weapons but at the same time there's a familiar thing there. You kind of know what the Aztec should look like. Whereas the Zande Warrior, most people had not heard of and they've got some great weapons and a great reputation int heir own right but off in another part of history. So that one is a like a real good finding that right balance of what haven't people seen and yet what would be familiar and accessible.
Do you have your list of match-ups ready to submit for the third season?
[Laughs] There's some that I wanted to see in Season 2 that didn't happen. I'm still pushing really hard for an Elephant warrior at some point, somebody fighting from the back of an elephant just because I want to see that in person but there's probably no way that's going to happen.
What's a good correlation to that?
Yeah yeah, somebody would get squooshed. At this point, I don't know, we're kind of playing it by ear. We don't have the green light for Season 3 yet but we're all very hopeful. We have high hopes for Season 3.
There's quite a few episodes in there I know will get a lot of hits, a lot of people tuning in and there are a couple people might sleep on. That's why I gotta ask which one's you'll point to. You gotta push the goods ones.
Yeah. I'd say, just as a really interesting slice of history or slice of technology that we're going down into, "Musketeer vs Ming Warrior" is just a really interesting look at early gunpowder technology and the innovation that were made and the transition from gunpowder used in the East and gunpowder used int he West and what the differences there were and how they stacked up against each other. It's totally interesting and totally a chunk of history I can geek out about. It was a lot of fun to do.
Deadliest Warrior premieres Tuesday, April 20th, first with 90-minute special "Deadliest Warrior Season 1: Back For Blood" at 8:30pm followed by the Season 2 debut episode "SWAT vs GSG9" at 10pmE/P on Spike TV
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If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.