Photograph courtesy of Casey Rodgers/AP
Got a minute? Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls on surviving city streets, why he likes Brad Paisley, and playing duets with Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Q: You just finished filming some urban survival classes for Dos Equis' Web-based video series Most Interesting Academy. How is surviving in the city different from surviving in the wilderness?
A: It's all the same principle. Survival is all about heart and never giving up and thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways—clever ways—to improvise. I filmed five of these webisodes for Dos Equis on everything from how to escape burning buildings to how to survive getting mugged to running across rooftops to crossing city gridlock to catching rats in the sewers. You know, really fun stuff.
Q: How was Will Ferrell's recent guest appearance on Man vs. Wild?
A: I knew he liked the show, and I've wanted to take somebody out with me for a while. He leapt at it. And then about a week before we went he rang me up and went, "It's all dawning on me now." I tell him, "Come around, no entourage, and just trust me." It took him about six flights from L.A. to get to the Arctic. He was dropped off and left there, and we tunneled through the ice tundra. He said he lived 10 lifetimes in those two days, and I really admire him.
Q: We only see you roughing it in the woods, but what do you do for entertainment when you're at home?
A: I live on a boat on the Thames, and my telly there only works on Thursdays, when the tide is in, so I don't watch very much TV. But I listen to a lot of music and play the guitar. I was filming in the Chihuahuan Desert last week, and a local ranger had his daughter with him listening to her iPod. I was sitting around on the tarmac, waiting while they rigged the helicopter, and I asked to listen to her favorite thing on her iPod. It was Brad Paisley. You heard of him? It was absolutely brilliant. I was completely sold. He was singing about guns and trucks and stuff. I quite like that sort of thing.
Q: Do you write your own music?
A: I write the occasional song for my wife. We had dinner the other day with Andrew Lloyd Weber, and he handed me a guitar. I had had a few drinks by then. My wife looks at me and she goes, "Don't!" But I did anyway. I started with a bit of "Desperado." I played lead guitar, and I got him on the piano.
Will Ferrell and Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild**