Bear Grylls Talks Survival, Celebrity Adventures, & Filming In a Pandemic

Bear Grylls uses a rope to climb down a gorgeous mountain slope. (Image: National Geographic)
(Image credit: National Geographic)

Six seasons into Running Wild with Bear Grylls and the show is only getting better.  This season, which premiered on March 29th, has seen fan favorites like Anthony Mackie, Danny Trejo, and Rainn Wilson join Bear in the back of beyond for wild adventures and heart-to-hearts over insectoid lunches. We aren’t getting to try any bugs (we aren’t that famous). But we did get to speak to Bear Grylls about survival, connecting with others through nature, and keeping things fresh.

Here’s our interview!

The Geekiary: You’ve done Running Wild with Bear Grylls since 2014, but the episodes still feel pretty fresh and exciting. How do you keep your show engaging?

Bear Grylls: The wild is the real star of the show, I always feel. There is so much incredible diversity out there, and each time for the guest it is all brand new. That’s always exciting. We got to so many amazing locations and spectacular backdrops. Pair that with some epic survival adventures and some honest, revealing insights into these superstars and it makes for compelling TV. The stars and the wild make my job easy.

TG: Of all your guests this season, which do you think would do best if dropped alone in the middle of nowhere?

BG: That’s a tough one. I think in truth, most of them would struggle. But the show isn’t about that; it is about the power of working together and that together we are always stronger. That’s the magic.

TG: Was there anything a guest did that fully surprised you?

BG: I think the Danny Trejo journey was special for me, mainly because of how truly remarkable his story is. While he is the oldest guest that we have ever had, he gave his all to push through physically and complete the journey. He was incredibly determined even when facing heat stroke at one point on the expedition. It was a privilege to be a part of his journey.

TG: What was the biggest technical challenge you faced this season?

BG: The biggest technical challenge this season was adapting so fast to the new travel restrictions to film safely in a COVID-19 compliant way. Safety is always our top priority. We have an A-class team behind us that not only ensured the safety of our guests during expeditions but also ensured that everyone followed all COVID-19 protocols and testing procedures.

Doing this out in the wild isn’t always easy, and it made the crew’s work even more incredible. They are the true heroes of this series.

TG: We have a couple of questions submitted by fans here. First, what advice would you give someone who wants to start getting outside and doing adventures, but also has never done anything outside a gym?

BG: I would say to start local. When it comes to adventure we so often overlook what is on our doorstep. You don’t always need to travel to the ends of the earth to experience adventure and for the outdoors to inspire and change us.

TG: If you were sucked back in time 2000 years ago, what’s the most useful thing you think you could build with just the knowledge you have now?

BG: I’d be tempted to take my mini paraglider to be able to leap off the mountains still. That would be awesome and would blow people away!

Thanks to Bear Grylls for taking the time to talk to us! New episodes of Running Wild air Mondays at 9 pm EDT. If you’re behind, you can catch up on Season 5 on Disney+ (Brie Larson is in the first episode!).

Author: Khai

Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.

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