‘Survivor’ Castaway Dan – “I Really Felt Like I Was Not Properly Portrayed”

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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In pre-game interviews there are two questions I always use on new players; are you willing to lie and are you willing to flirt? A lot of people hate these inquiries, but I always ask them so we can set a baseline for how someone’s going to play.

For example, in Dan’s Ponderosa video, he points out the difference between his bluffs and Mike’s lies. But, he said this before the game started…

Gordon Holmes: Are you comfortable lying in this game?
Dan Foley: (Long pause) Yeah. Oh yeah. Pretty much the only thing I won’t do is sleep with somebody else, and that’s pretty much it. That’s my line in the sand.

I spoke with Dan the morning after his elimination to get his take on if there is a lying line that shouldn’t be crossed, his post-game belief that he’d be portrayed as a hero, and last night’s crazytown Tribal Council…

Gordon Holmes: Last night’s Tribal was a doozy. Did anyone know that Carolyn had an idol?
Dan Foley: I’m pretty sure Mike had a good idea that she had it and he manipulated her into playing it. And it was a good move. Good on him.
Holmes: In hindsight, do you think you playing your vote advantage tipped her off?
Foley: I don’t think it would have mattered. I think Mike had gotten into her head enough that it was irrelevant. She was going to play her idol no matter what. What they didn’t show was Mike, Carolyn, and Will went on the reward together. When they got back, Sierra comes up to me and says, “Hey Dan, listen…Will’s talking about getting rid of you now.” She said, “He asked me if now is the time to get rid of you.” Sierra and I mended fences, so that was percolating in my mind. To use my line against myself, “I can do basic math.” Why would I use my advantage when there’s an odd number of people to make an even number of votes and maybe cause a split? There’s no sense in that. I wanted to wait until there was an even number of players.
Holmes: Smart.
Foley: So, Will’s talking about flipping. That’s a potential three vs. three. My vote doubling makes it four vs. three. And, Will specifically said, “If Dan has an advantage, he’d better play it tonight.”
Holmes: Oh did he?
Foley: Yeah, he came out and said it.
Holmes:  Will trying to flush an advantage. Amazing.

Holmes: Mike’s move at the auction really seemed to hurt you. Having watched the edit, I know that Mike knew he was being targeted beforehand. Now that you’ve seen all the pieces, does that change your opinion on that move?
Foley: The whole thing started back when the mix-up happened and Joaquin came into our tribe. We intentionally threw that challenge and Mike and Sierra wanted to get rid of Joe. I said, “No, Joaquin is the bigger threat because Joaquin and Tyler are tight.” Every time we see Carolyn at a challenge, she’s winking and nodding and waving. We knew they were still tight. We assumed they’d still be tight with Shirin….that’s four. And Rodney was gone. If Joaquin stayed in that game, Rodney was gone. There was no getting around it. I knew Rodney was making deals on the side. Power couples have to go. So then we got rid of Joaquin. I knew Rodney was trying to make side deals, but so was I. So was everybody. And when Mike said, “I am 100% blue,” what they didn’t show was when I said, “You weren’t 100% blue when you turned your back on me at the auction.” So, trust is earned, not given. Mike lost his trust and he kept looking at me like I had betrayed him.
Holmes: In your Ponderosa video, you pointed out the difference between lying and bluffing.
Foley: Right.
Holmes: “Survivor” is a game where lying is expected. Where was the line drawn for you that this was a lie that goes too far?
Foley: Wow…that’s tough to say. Where’s the line for anything? Are there ever concrete lines in the sand? For some things, of course there are. But, in a game like this where all the lines are blurred and convoluted. I looked at Mike as a friendship. And it’s easy if you’ve never played the game to play armchair quarterback. When you haven’t eaten for weeks and you’re missing your wife and children…when I saw my letter, and it was right in the front, I could see it and I started to cry the moment I saw it. When Carolyn came up with the idea that one person bid and we all go in on it…I looked at Mike and I was sobbing.  I said, “Please.” And he said, “OK.” That’s when he lost my trust. I thought we’d made a connection. And at that moment I felt like he’d betrayed my trust. That goes way beyond the game for me. Where is the line? I don’t know. But in my world, that goes beyond the line.
Holmes: So, the difference is your lies were gameplay and Mike’s move with the letter seemed personal?
Foley: I lied to Tyler when he was going home. Joe asked me who going home, I told Joe the truth. Shirin asked me, I told Shirin the truth. I was willing to lie. But there’s still degrees of lying to people. That’s just gameplay. What Mike did at the auction was different. That went beyond gameplay. If he’d not gone back and he stuck with it…it wouldn’t have mattered. He’d still be public enemy number one.

Holmes: In your Ponderosa video, you said that you were going to be viewed as a hero. Obviously that was not the case. What were you anticipating as far as your edit at that point?
Foley: They don’t cast people because they know how to knit and talk about their feelings. They cast people because they’ve got big personalities. And I believe you and Probst said before the game started that you were waiting to see the real Dan. You guys hadn’t seen the real me yet. Have you seen the real me now?
Holmes: I feel like…
Foley: I’m actually asking you that. I’d like an answer to that. I’ve been waiting to ask you that question.
Holmes: Sure thing, I think…
Foley: Forget it. Nevermind.
Holmes: No, no, we can absolutely have that conversation.
Foley: We’ll have to do it later cause we’re on a time crunch. The thing is that I just…now I’ve got myself all distracted. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Foley: When I went to my final round of interviews, Lynne Spillman asked how I thought I’d come back, and I said, “I think I’ll come back a hero.” And the first thing she said was, “Heroes don’t win this game.” And I said that I wanted to prove that heroes can win this game. We all have our own baggage. I’m not saying any is equal to another, but we all have our own stuff. I’m the fat guy. I own it. It is what it is. I’m an honest guy, some people don’t like that. I got picked on in school  a lot because the fat guy never does well in school. When you push me, I will push back. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care about your race, your gender, your creed, your orientation. I will push back. And, I really felt like I was not properly portrayed because lots of things were withheld that could have portrayed me better. I understand that there’s a limited amount of time. But perfect example…Shirin? The most accurate portrayal she has was in Tyler’s Ponderosa video. Sixty percent of his video was her complaining about him. If that’s how she was shown through the entire season, I don’t think people would have sympathy for her. And I think because they showed her differently, we’re all seen differently than we wanted to be seen. I know damn well that I didn’t look like a hero. I looked like a very bad person. And, that’s not who I am. And the people who know me know that isn’t true.

Holmes: Did you prepare a word association for us, or do we get to do this the way it’s meant to be done?
Foley: I’ve got something…oh…where is it…
Holmes: Did you lose it?
Foley: My wife cleaned up and now it’s not here.
Holmes: Nice. Thank you, Mrs. Foley. Let’s start with So.
Foley: Lady Deathstrike.
Holmes: Vince?
Foley: Blackhawk.
Holmes: Nina?
Foley: Who’d I put Nina as…one of the Wonder Twins.
Holmes: Lindsey?
Foley: Banshee.
Holmes: Max?
Foley: Professor X.
Holmes: Joaquin?
Foley: Beast.
Holmes: Kelly?
Foley: Juggernaut.
Holmes:  Hali?
Foley: Catwoman.
Holmes: Joe?
Foley: Cyclops.
Holmes: Jenn?
Foley: Um…Jenn’s definitely a bad guy. Poison Ivy.
Holmes: Shirin?
Foley: Spiderwoman.
Holmes: Tyler?
Foley: The Riddler.
Holmes: Mike?
Foley: Captain Merica! (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) Nice. Sierra?
Foley: Psylocke.
Holmes: Carolyn?
Foley: Mystique.
Holmes: Rodney?
Foley: The Joker?
Holmes: Will?
Foley: Aquaman. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) Got one for yourself?
Foley: The Hulk.

Holmes: In a Secret Scene, you mentioned that you hoped “Survivor” might help you meet your birth father. Is there any update on that front?
Foley: No, to the best of my knowledge, he actually doesn’t know I exist. He doesn’t know he has a son. Obviously I’d like to find a way to see if that can happen.

Holmes: Whenever a super fan goes on, I worry that it’ll wreck their love for the game. Where are you with the show now?
Foley: It’s kind of like when you go to Universal Studios when they pull back the curtain and show you how the movie magic is done. Do I still love the show? Of course I do. I’m part of one of the greatest reality programs that has ever existed. I spent 14 years of my life trying to get there. I’m thrilled I got the chance and would I do it again? Yeah. (Laughs) I’d play again.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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