Survivor Colleen Plugs New Movie on Tonight Showby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
Most of the original Survivor contestants have begun to fade out of the public eye, their 15 minutes of fame having long since expired. Maybe we’ll see them on Rosie O’Donnell or The Weakest Link or the like once in a while, but that’s the exception, not the rule.
Several of those former players, though, have turned their 15 minutes into a hope of something more enduring. One of those is Colleen Haskell, who was “America’s Sweetheart” until she was replaced by Survivor II’s Elisabeth (who will, I’m sure, be replaced by another in Survivor III). After Survivor, Colleen almost immediately got a role in the Rob Schneider film, The Animal, which opens June 1.
As part of promoting any film, the stars hit the talk-show circuit. So on May 22, Colleen was on with Jay Leno. But the two talked very little about the movie – Colleen’s experience on Survivor was the topic of the night.
Colleen came out and immediately began playing the na´ve girl as she commented on an earlier joke that had Leno singing – she acted as if it had really been him and she thought he was great. This “na´ve girl” act would continue through the interview.
But at some points, it was hard to tell when it was an act and when it was real. She talked about how she ended up on Survivor, and said she and a friend were at a mall and saw a sign talking about a free trip to Malaysia. She thought it would be cool and so she tried out. They called her back several times and the next thing she knew, she was on Survivor!
She said the island itself was great, but the people fighting for survival in the game was not a healthy part of life, though she acknowledged that it makes for great entertainment. But the toughest part, other than those people, was what happened to her legs. As we saw on the show (and again when Leno ran the clip), her legs were bitten up by bugs, she had a vitamin deficiency which further affected them, and insects had pretty much taken up residence there. She said when she showed her legs to the show’s doctor and asked what he’d do about it, he said he’d come back the next day with a camera. She was thinking, “That’s not right.”
Then Leno played the straight man and asked her if there were any lasting effects to her legs. She said a very strange rash had stayed with her and raised her pant leg to show glittering spots stuck to her leg. It’s good to see she has a sense of humor about it.
They also discussed how she went from being an unknown to having people all over know who she is. She said it is still strange to have people call out her name on the street or come up to her as she’s eating and say things like, “I bet that’s better than rat.” (I wonder how often she’s heard that one – people are soooo clever.) But even with all the creepy guys that have approached her, she says she’s met a lot of sweet people too – she was even invited to one guy’s prom.
Finally, they get around to discussing the movie she’s supposed to be promoting. First (going back to Survivor again) she notes that she had no intention of ever turning her TV appearance into anything later. (She also added that she needs to quit saying that because it sounds so pathetic.) Indeed, I remember interviews with her at the time indicating she had planned to finish school and go on with life as usual. But she was asked to go in and audition, so she did. She says she went through the whole Hollywood thing and ended up getting the part.
Leno next asked her about a big kissing scene with Schneider, since she hadn’t been an actress and probably wasn’t used to something like that. She went back to her na´ve girl routine and said that Schneider told her that for scenes like that, they go away together for a weekend before the shoot so they can practice.
The clip had nothing to do with that scene, and, indeed, really showcased Schneider more than her. It showed her with an orphaned turkey vulture she was trying to raise. Schneider, who has special animal powers in the movie (he was in an accident and had several organs replaced with those of animals, thus gaining these powers), talks to the bird and chews up a worm for it to eat.
Leno ends by saying she is very good in the movie (of course, he always says that). Alas, he never asks the question that America really wants to know: What’s the deal with Greg? It was probably on the list of “forbidden” questions. But, as I noted earlier, most of the discussion was about Survivor and those who might have been concerned about her legs could now see that they are, indeed, much better.
Considering that there is still a week left before the film premieres, Colleen’s fans should keep their eyes out for other media appearances. (Colleen-a-flower.com is one site that's keeping track of her appearances.)
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