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“I Don’t Think I Avoided Suspicion at All!" – An Interview with The Mole 2's Bill McDanielby Brian Towers -- 08/14/2004
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Recently, a group of young Canadian ladies put together a very successful charity event, called ProjectCool. The aim of ProjectCool was to use the drawing power of several stars of reality TV to raise at least $10,000 for the benefit of autism. I am happy to report that they exceeded their objective!
It was there that I met Bill McDaniel, also known as “Bill The Mole” from The Mole 2. I found Bill and his wife Shirley to be to a very entertaining couple, and Bill graciously agreed to be interviewed for readers of Reality News Online.
RealityNewsOnline: How did the initial selection process work? Did you apply, or did they seek you out?
Bill: My wife and I are fans of reality TV, and I had made the comment in the first Mole, as well as other shows that, “I could do that!” About March 1, 2001, ABC was advertising for players. My wife basically told me to “put up or shut up.” I applied, along with about 10,000 others, and went through the application process in its entirety. I received a call three weeks after the initial video, telling me to make another. After a series of calls, 95 of us were invited to L.A. for intensive psychological and physical testing, and multiple interviews. I was selected from that process.
RNO: When you first applied for the show, you had to be concerned about how the Navy brass would view that decision. How was the feedback from the other Admirals?
Bill: Yep, I was quite concerned, however, it appears, all for nothing! I have received a lot of very positive feedback, and all have said I represented them well. The most common question asked of me is, “How can I do that when I retire!?” Even the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark, and his wife told me they were fans of the show.
RNO: How long did it take to tape the season? Were there any ‘callbacks’ to touch things up, or to provide additional interview material?
Bill: We were in Europe from June 2 to July 16, and all taping was done then, with the exception of the final show, taped in L.A. in October. The only segment done over was about two minutes of the second execution, when the initial film was inadvertently destroyed. We all flew to L.A. and spent 18 hours preparing for the two minutes! Otherwise, no retakes, no time-outs, no rehearsals!
RNO: Can you tell us how you received your instructions from the production team? What level of detail did they go into?
Bill: I received almost no guidance, inasmuch as contact with the producers was virtually impossible without the other players detecting it. So, every three to four days we would all be subjected to hour and a half interviews, out of which came most of the interview sound bites on the show. At the end of the interview, the producer would turn off the mikes, turn off the cameras and, in full view of the other players, but out of earshot, ask if there was anything really bothering them that they did not want recorded. In my case, however, it was a chance to give me a thumbnail brief of the upcoming games, and a quick oral review of the next exam so that I could make sure they had the correct answers.
It was left up to me to figure out how I might be able to sabotage the games. I was given no ideas on how to spoil the games, inasmuch as they had no idea what role I would have in them. As soon as I found out the game and my role, I would devise how to screw the games up. This included, frequently, laying awake at night, carefully plotting out what I would say the next day, and how I would connive to either get in a game, or stay out of one (like the rappel off the dam that would make everyone look suspicious) that I did not want to play in. I had great fun thinking through these things!
RNO: There are Internet rumours that the Mole gets a percentage of the money he keeps out of the pot. Unfortunately, that’s not true, is it?
Bill: Absolutely not. I wish it were so, however, but have been told that that is actually illegal for some reason. I was given a flat fee, not of an excessive nature. (Nor even an adequate nature, come to think of it!)
RNO: Did you have a roommate for some/all of the season? Was it the same person all season?
Bill: We all had roommates for the first half of the season, changing every one to two nights at the most inopportune times! (Midnight, or 6:30 in the morning) Men with men, and women with women… darn it! I expect the women would have smelled far better than Bribs and Darwin!1 2 3 4 Next-->
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