Last year, the world was introduced to a brand new series called Deadliest Warrior on the Spike Network which helped answer questions people had been fighting over for decades such as “Who would win a fight between a Pirate and a Knight?” or a “Spartan vs. a Ninja?” Tomorrow night, the show returns for a season that is deemed to be “bigger and bloodier bloodier.”
The show was able to give the audience a definitive answer for the first time, using simulated algorithms from data collected by weapons, settings, and training. The research team is made up of three men. Max Geiger, the simulations programmer who analyzes and enters all of the data into the computer, Dr. Armand Dorian, the medical expert who determines exactly how much damage each weapon inflicts on it’s victim, and host Geoff Desmoulin, the biomedical scientist and high-speed camera operator who introduces the audience to each of the warriors and helps us determine who is deadliest.
We recently got to sit down with Geoff to talk about Season 2 of Deadliest Warrior, as well as some potential ideas and match ups for upcoming seasons of the show. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
The Flickcast: With Season 2 starting up this week, what can you tell me about what we’ve got to look forward to?
Geoff Desmoulin: First thing I can tell you is that we got a bigger budget, which means more blood and a bigger bang for everything from cutting a car in half to shoving a 12-foot pole into a gel torso’s rectum, having it go through his body and out through his collar bone. That was something that was done by Vlad the Impaler, and gel torso or not, it was one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen.
TF: Of all of the episodes you’ve already shot for this season, is there one match up that you would pick as your favorite?
GD: To be honest, I’m really looking forward to “SWAT vs. GSG-9” just because I got along with the SWAT guys really well. They took me out to the shooting range on one of their training days, they gave me a bunch of t-shirts, I keep up with a bunch of the guys on Facebook now, and they’re really good guys. Not only that, but they had their own gear. Not many people know this, but the SWAT members actually carry their gear in the trunk of their vehicle.
They’ve got a locking system and obviously it’s all reinforced, but they’ve got Colt Commandos, Benelli Shotguns, their tactical kit, helmets, night vision armor, you name it. I was totally blown away. I had no idea that these guys were driving around with this kind of firepower in the back of their car, but that’s how they do it. The reason being that if they get a call, they can respond from wherever they are, even their home.
For the first time ever, we got to use a weapon on a live person. On the “SWAT vs. GSG-9” episode, we got to use a taser on something that actually has a heartbeat. We wanted it to be Max, because I wanted to see his hair stand on end [laughs], and then it came to me, but it turned out that the insurance was going to cost about $40,000, just incase anything bad happened. So we actually brought in a police officer who had his own insurance, and willing to be tazed on camera. So that’s how we were able to do it.
TF: We’re told that there this season is bigger, bloodier, and more violent. Are there any cool new weapons that you got to play with this time around?
GD: You have no idea how much I wanted to get involved with the weapons. I got to handle the MP-4 on SWAT, but that was all behind the scenes, so it didn’t make the final cut. When it comes to real testing footage, I actually didn’t get to touch anything this year, and I was so upset about it.
I’m always chomping at the bit, and they know it. For the “IRA vs. Taliban” show last year, I got to try out the AK-47 and the AR-15, and it worked for the show because we had to give one of them the edge by trying them out for ourselves.
This year, a situation like that never came up, which means I didn’t get to use a weapon at all on camera. It was pretty disappointing.
TF: With season 2 already in the can, are there any plans yet for season 3?
GD: We’ve been pushing for female warriors. So the Japanese Budokai, Joan of Arc, The Legend of Mulan, Amazons, you could get really crazy with those. I think it would be fantastic. So far we’ve avoided anything but fairly traditional warriors, but I think a match up like “Joan of Arc vs. Mulan” would be really popular. I think it would be great on Spike, because you could sex it up a little bit, and it’s a popular mystique that goes as far back as “chicks with guns”.
TF: The idea of Deadliest Warrior is one that the sci-fi community has been batting around in basements for decades. Is it possible that we could see a Deadliest Warrior match up with fictional characters?
GD: Absolutely. I’ve already had a conversation with our production company, Morning Star Entertainment, and they’re saying that once we start to run thin on the tradition warriors, what we want to do is have a bracketing season, where we bring back the losers and winners, and then bracket them up to see who is really the Ultimate Deadliest Warrior. We have no idea whether that will be season 3 or season 6. It has to be picked up by the network every year, but that’s our roll out plan.
After that, and we pick out who’s the most deadliest modern and ancient warrior, we’d like to start doing a season or two of fictitious characters or characters that are considered less traditional. There are a couple different ways we could do that. We could do Bear vs. Shark (I know the internet wants to see that), or we could do Lock Ness vs. Big Foot, you could go crazy and use characters that don’t have any data. Or you could go in the other direction and do something like Bruce Lee vs. Muhammad Ali.
That’s something that really intrigues me because you could pull hand-speeds off of video, you can pull punch-forces off of footage of Bruce Lee breaking boards. You can count the thickness of those boards, you could figure out what kind of grain the wood is, you could re-enact that test and figure out what the minimum punch-force was to actually get through that, and now we have number that we could put into the simulator.
Not only that, but I’m sure there are people out there that trained with Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee, and I’m sure some scientists have gotten data off of these guys at one point, and that data is sitting out there that we can get our hands on. Incorporating that into the simulator, I think that would be a great fight, and I don’t think there would be many licensing fees involved.
TF: After the success of season 1, how many more seasons do you think there would be before we could see something like that?
GD: Based on the conversations I’ve have with Spike and Morning Star, I don’t think it’s going to be season 3, to be honest. I think it’ll start to become reality when we run out of more traditional warriors, so I think we’re looking more at season 5 or season 6.
TF: You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you had an interesting idea when it came to analyzing and inputting data for super heroes. How would that work?
GD: Well, the example I usually use is in the film The Fantastic Four. In the film, The Thing is standing on the bridge and he stops the high speed semi truck with the force of his body alone. From that footage, I could tell you how strong and how stiff his body would have to be in order to stop that truck. So I could get data from that, without question.
I know you can go out and get numbers on the average weight of a semi trailer, you can get the speed of it. There are lots of numbers on asphalt strength, stiffness, and damping, all of the mechanical parameters, and you can see the type of damage that happens when he hits the it and the asphalt kicks up under his feet. Those are all things you can pull from for data.
So even though it’s Hollywood, and even though The Thing doesn’t really exist, if you got footage of it, and there’s something happening, I can get real-life physics from that and numbers that I can put into the simulator.
TF: Is there one matchup that you would love to see on the show, be it fictional characters or more traditional warriors?
GD: I’d like to see some of the Queen’s warriors, actually. Like the Special Air Service out of the UK. I’d like to see the Joint Task Force 2 out of Canada, and I’m definitely stoked about some of the female warriors like Joan of Arc and Mulan. I think they would be phenomenal matches.
TF: The show has been known to cross over the entire spectrum of the term “Warrior”, from the ancient, sword-wielding killer to the modern soldier. Is there a type of warrior that you are most interested in?
GD: The modern soldiers is more of my wheelhouse. We get asked that all the time, and I know that Max and Dr. Dorian side more towards the traditional warrirors, but it’s very difficult to find someone at the level of Alexander the Great. Although we search far and wide to get the best guys we can find internationally, it’s still very difficult to find a guy who’s an expert in Atilla the Hun or Vlad The Impaler or any of these older guys and the weapons that they used.
With guys like SWAT, Navy Seals, or Israeli Commandoes, these guys are operators. They have either just returned from Iraq, or have participated in gun fights very recently that they can tell you all about. Their training is more modern, and because their training is more modern, it tends to incorporate a little more science and psychology.
That’s the stuff that I find really meaty and really interesting.
Deadliest Warrior returns with it’s Season 2 premiere on SpikeTV this Tuesday night at 10pm ET/PT. Season 1 will also on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 11th.