My name is Matt O'Brien and I’m one of the producers of Digital Content this season on The Mole. Each week, I'm here to give you the skinny on all the behind-the-scenes action that went down on location. From blow-out fights to off-camera shenanigans, this season was a two-month thrill ride that took us to some of the most spectacular places in the Americas.
Upon our arrival in Chile, orientation began with a casting tape of our 12 players. I have to say this season's cast seemed like an absolute dream. It was a veritable menagerie of classic archetypes: Paul, the Utility Worker from Yonkers – Yo! I DJ on the weekends and love the Yankees! Liz, the spunky senior (who, incidentally, has the filthiest mind of any ***agenarian I’ve ever met). Craig, the funny fat guy who does a killer Chris Farley impression. Kristen, the femme-bot scientist … I mean, I could go on and on. Who did I dislike the most? Probably Mark. He just has that manic, gleaming chompers chomping on a piece of chewed-up gum intensity that rubs me the wrong way. Then again, I have a habit of loving the people I hate, so I’m not writing him off just yet...
At times, even our staff and crew seemed to come out of central casting. Our Director of Photography was a fastidious German with an eye for detail and ambient light. Our Swedish Set Manager carried three walkies on a gunslinger belt and barked out orders with a cigarette dangling from her lips. With three different languages being spoken at any given moment, it sometimes felt like we were in the middle of a Benetton ad. And the local crews? Well, they took it to another level.
Most of them were vastly hipper than any Americans in a fifty-mile radius. Picture a chain smoking twenty-something reading a beat-up copy of "The Savage Detectives" in a vintage '69 VW Beetle. "What are you going to do after the show wraps?" Takes a long drag. "Probably heading to Punta Vista. My friends have a cottage on the coast." If you’ve ever seen "Y Tu Mama Tambien," that movie pretty much sums up the vibe (even though it’s in Mexico).
If that wasn't enough, most of the S.A. crew wore uber-hip retro sneakers with uber-hip colorful ultra waif jackets with tons of zippers and hangy stuff. And they all drove stick-shift cars with detached authority. Long story short, make way Williamsburg, Silverlake and all hipster havens in between -- in a few years, a bumper crop of stylish South Americans will be nipping at your heels.
Back to our orientation ... after we screened the casting tapes, Executive Producers Scott Stone and Clay Newbill played a little game that’s sort of become a Mole tradition. Before the first mission, they asked all of us (about 100 in all) to write down our top Mole suspect, based solely on first impressions. Each season, they do this exercise to help gauge whether their Mole choice is, perhaps too obvious or maybe completely under everyone’s radar. Both approaches have their merits. Believe it or not, the winner of our pre-game straw poll was, once again ... Marcie.
In retrospect, when the players chose her as their lead suspect, it wasn't such a bad guess. She ended up having some strange picks in “Over the Falls" (i.e. leaving Kristen and Bobby with fake cash). And some of her items in "Crusoe" made absolutely no sense whatsoever. But that's the tough part about this game: sometimes it’s hard to tell who's just terrible at missions and who's the actual saboteur. It's just ironic that the top Mole suspect was the first one to go home.
To this very day, only a handful of people actually know The Mole's identity. Even our host, Jon Kelley, is completely in the dark. In fact, the entire selection process is shrouded under a veil of secrecy ... and I work at the production company for the show! Over the next 10 weeks, you’ll begin to learn more and more about the players: their strategies, their strengths and their foibles. Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to put the pieces together. Just like you, all of us on staff are obsessed with clues, slip-ups ... anything to give us a hint as to The Mole’s identity. Everyone has their own theories. The camera operators, for example, were convinced they’d catch one of the EP’s sending messages to the Mole during one-on-one interviews. "How do the EPs communicate with The Mole if s/he doesn’t have a phone or e-mail? It’s GOT to be during the interviews," they’d say.
The best advice is to stay tuned and keep your eyes and ears peeled ... the clues are out there. The real question is: can you find them? http://blogs.abc.com/molebehindthescenes/