Lessons in survival

Lessons in survival

''Manhunt is like the world’s biggest game of hide and seek,'' says former US Navy SEAL, Joel Lambert about the new series on Discovery Channel, showing every night at 10 pm.

“The show begins with a situation where, say, I’m in a SEAL team and everyone’s killed but me. I’ve lost my weapons, I’ve lost my communications gear, I’ve lost my food, I’ve lost my water, I’ve lost my backpack, I’ve lost everything and now I have to make it in two days to an extract point where hopefully I’ll get rescued. And the people who just killed everybody are hunting me — are on my tail.”

“I’m going against actual countries’ military units, the special de-tracking units, their special operations units and their national police. I cross borders, I pierce their security, I go places I’m not supposed to, I send them a signal, and then the hunt is on. And I do survival: I evade, I do lots of anti-tracking. I do counter-tracking as well, which is booby traps and setting up things that make the hunters a little bit of the hunted. Then they use all their assets — helicopters, thermal imaging, security cameras, dog tracking teams, SWAT teams, horseback, motorcycles, ATVs, trackers — to hunt me, to box me, and to try to get ahead of me, and then capture me”

The series has been filmed on-location in the US, Poland, South Africa, Philippines, Panama and South Korea. Each episode follows Joel in extreme conditions to different unknown territories with nothing but a basic survival kit and a canteen of water. “This whole experience will definitely excite the viewers. And with cameras capturing the action from both perspectives, viewers will experience the high tension from both me and the special operative teams,” Lambert explains.

This series has been quite strenuous for him though. “When I filmed an episode, I would be on pure adrenaline rush for two days straight. Then, when I came home, it would be five days of just sleeping and eating and then another week of light exercise and light movement before my brain started working again and my body felt somewhat strong. So by the time the entire series was over, it took me probably about three months to get my strength back. I was bone tired and drained.”

It was possible for Lambert to do this show because of his SEAL background. “The selection and training drills in you the fact that your body can do ten times the amount of work that your mind thinks it can. You learn that if you keep pushing your body past the pain, the pain will shut down and your body will adapt in order to keep moving.”

He does admit that the filming of the series was much dangerous and difficult than he had expected. “We shot six different episodes, six different hunts and we had 25 cameras break over the course of those six hunts. We had one case of dengue fever, we had three cases or two cases of anaphylactic shock, we had three people lost in the jungle, we had one producer stabbed through the neck by a flying fish and he almost died.

We had a producer slice his knee so deeply that it required stitches on the inside of his knee and then stitches on the outside of his knee to close it up. We had another producer who had to be extracted out of the jungle and sent to the hospital for 24 hours for heat exhaustion. My first camera guy quit, my second camera guy got MRSA (a staph infection that can kill you) in his leg and he was in the hospital for weeks, and my third camera guy tore his shoulder so badly that his rotator cuff came off the bone.”

But for all the challenges and hard work, Lambert does take home memorable experiences from the series. “One of the things that I really enjoyed about the show is that almost every day, there was so much respect between myself and the hunter forces.

They were so good and did such a great job! And there was such mutual appreciation and respect that, afterwards, it was great to drink with these guys, eat with them and hang out with them and just kind of connect outside of the battlefield.”

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