‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Malcolm Freberg


Malcolm Freberg (CBS)

XfinityTV.com sent me deep into the wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of “Survivor” stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

Name: Malcolm Freberg
Age: 25
Home: Hermosa Beach, CA
Occupation: Bartender
Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: Being a bartender, you tend to have to deal with a wide variety of people. Is that going to help you in the game?
Malcolm Freberg: Oh yeah. Anybody who doesn’t think this is a social game at this point is an idiot. My job is making people feel comfortable and happy with me. If people don’t like me, I can’t pay my rent. So, that’s every day of my life. And it’s changing pace quickly too. Somebody can be at this end of the bar being loud and obnoxious and telling jokes, then there’s some discreet woman sipping some crap sauvignon blanc over here and I have to be polite. So, being able to change your attitude real quick, being the guy that everybody wants to see is definitely going to come in handy.

Holmes: It says here in your bio that you don’t like dumb people. I don’t mean to ruin Christmas, but there have been a few of those in past “Survivor” seasons.
Freberg: OK, I like dumb people when I’m sitting home watching them on TV. Don’t get me wrong. Erik Reichenbach is like my favorite guy. But, it’s when it affects you, that’s my biggest worry is that I’m going to put my trust in the wrong person to do a simple task. They’re going to screw it up or run there mouth. When somebody does something that makes no sense. If I get backstabbed, and it was in their best interest? I’ll be pissed, but I’ll get over it because they made a good move. If somebody does something idiotic and it hurts me and ruins my game? That’s when you’re going to see me flip (expletive deleted) on national television.

Holmes: It also says here, three words that describe you are charming, brilliant, and cocky. There are so few guys like us…
Freberg: (Laughs) We’re rare, aren’t we?  We’re a dying breed.
Holmes: It’s a little embarrassing to be so good at everything.
Freberg: When everything falls in your lap. When you never fail. There are no challenges left for us. Maybe that’s why I’m on “Survivor” to get away from all these people who are lavishing praise on me.
Holmes: I wouldn’t be willing to subject myself to lack of constant praise.
Freberg: Actually, I’m pretty sure I can get those 14 people in there to do it, so I’m not too worried about it.
Holmes: You’re crunching the numbers already. That’s good. What do you think of these folks?
Freberg: A lot of big guys, which is good. I’m going to be able to blend in more that I thought. Girls…a couple of cute ones. I was hoping for more from a network television show. I’m assuming everyone else has figured out there’s only six guys sitting in there. So, there’s still a variable. But it’s hard to make an assumption on how to play when there’s a big x factor out there.

Holmes: You’re a Russell Hantz fan…
Freberg: Alright, just stop. I’m not.
Holmes: It says in your bio that you love Russell Hantz. You can’t get enough of Russell Hantz.
Freberg: Don’t go putting words into my pre-game interview! Actually, that’s from the application. I put MF, my initials…hearts RH.
Holmes: That’s adorable.
Freberg: That’s why they picked me for the show. Actually, it’s tattooed on my left ass cheek. I think Russell is an idiot, you can control more than just your actions, you have to keep your hands clean and be more than just a miniature egomaniac, cracked-out (expletive deleted). If you know how to play mind games with people, you can play them against each other. Jonny Fairplay (Dalton) did it in Pearl Islands successfully.

Holmes: Guys like you and I who are cocky, charming, and brilliant can come off as villains. Is that something you’re worried about or is that something you’ll embrace?
Freberg: The only thing I care about being portrayed as is being a millionaire at the end. I don’t care what I look like. I want to play this game. I want to play it borderline sociopathically.  Emotion-free. The guy I want to play it the most like is (Brian) Heidik. He was…he’s not a nice guy (laughs) but he was liked by everyone. He was charming enough that he stabbed everyone in the back and still got the money in the end. Mr. Freeze, stone cold, that’s how I want to play.

Holmes: I know how this question is going to be answered…
Freberg: Go ahead.
Holmes: Are you prepared to lie?
Freberg: Yeah. I see it…and one of my favorites of all time (Jonathan) Penner saw it as a game of Monopoly. In my opinion it shouldn’t hurt your feelings if you land on Boardwalk and I have two hotels on it. It just sucks for you. Go watch TV while I go win the game. Do whatever it takes, lying, deceiving, manipulating, whatever other synonyms you can come up with.
Holmes: I didn’t bring my thesaurus.
Freberg:  But yeah, no problem lying.
Holmes: I agree with you. I’m a big believer that if you stab me in the back, I’ll be the first to shake your hand. But so many people have been hammered at a final Tribal over a lie.
Freberg: If it got to that point, then I haven’t played it right. You shouldn’t be hated at the final three. I read this in some essay that the entire point of “Survivor” is to create a jury that wants you to win. Sit next to a villain or sit next to someone who did nothing. Just don’t be the worst option. That’s how I’m looking at it.
Holmes: Will you flirt to get ahead?
Freberg: Oh yeah, that won’t be a problem. That little blonde’s already checking me out. What were those adjectives that described me?
Holmes: Us.
Freberg: Us, sorry.
Holmes: Cocky, charming, and brilliant.
Freberg: (Laughs) I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you out of my adjective list. We’re in this together.
Holmes: It’s missteps like that that are going to send your ass to the jury.
Freberg: (Laughs) I should’ve used the plural, I apologize. But yeah, I’ll flirt, but I’ll steal Heidik’s line; this is a business trip. I’m out here to play the game and win the game. If that helps me? Great. I’m not out here to get booty blinded.
Holmes: So for “Survivor” catchphrases, Heidik has “business trip,” you have “booty blinded.”
Freberg: There’s my term. But if I can manipulate one of these little empty heads, I will.

Holmes: Anyone who tosses around the name Heidik as often you do is probably going to be branded a super fan. Is part of your strategy highlighting that or hiding that?
Freberg: I don’t think I need to pull that out like (John) Cochran or (Stephen) Fishbach do. They’re super smart guys, they’re strategic and they can help you in that way. The idea is to downplay my strategic and super fan status, actually, never tell the super fan stuff. At some point if you’re going to play dumb, you have to change gears and take over the game. And that’s the story that needs to happen for me.  If I look dumb and get voted out, I’m going to be remembered as the dumb guy. (Laughs) I’ll need to know when to go into Machiavellian beast mode.

Holmes: I already know you love Russell Hantz, but from a strategic standpoint, if you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Freberg: Gimme a second, cause you’re going to love my answer.
Holmes: There’s that cockiness.
Freberg: Let’s say Corinne (Kaplan) from Gabon. Total bitch. I used to date a girl exactly like her from New York. I know how to deal with it. Nobody likes her, so they’re not going to vote for her in the end. And I know how to get along with a person like that.

Holmes: OK, what’s the plan for the big check Jeff Probst is going to give you in December?
Freberg: The first purchase will be completely selfish. Just grandiose and indulgent. But after that, some will go to charity. I worked with Special Olympics in college and I did volunteer work in Micronesia. A portion of the winnings would go to that.

Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Philippines” – Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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