"I was the first villainess of
Survivor," says Jerri Manthey of her stint on the series'
second season. "But after me, there have been some
real villains - and a couple of them are here. They make me a
little bit nervous because people have learned how to play the
game, and they play hard. It's ruthless!"
Jerri faces off against 19 other fan favorites
in Samoa for the 20th season of the decade-old
competition. The theme is one of good and evil.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains pits a tribe comprised of the
noble and nice against one teeming with the notoriously nasty.
"I believe this will be hug." says
creator Mark Burnett. "Heroes vs. Villains is a great
theme. Survivor is about relationships. It's a
morality play. No one is giving a million dollars to
someone who is too ruthless."
The good guys include Rupert Boneham (who
appeared previously in Pearl Islands and All-Stars), Jessica
"Sugar" Kiper (Gabon), Cirie Fields (Panama,
Micronesia), Candice Woodcock (Cook Islands), Colby Donaldson
(Australia and All-Stars), Amanda Kimmel (China and Micronesia),
J.T. Thomas (Tocantins), Stephenie LaGrossa (Palau and
Guatemala), Tom Westman (Palau) and James Clement (China and
Micronesia). The bad guys are Russell Hantz (Samoa),
Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands and Micronesia), Benjamin
"Coach" Wade (Tocantins), "Boston" Rob
Mariano (Marquesas and All-Stars), Tyson Apostol (Tocantins),
Randy Bailey (Gabon), Courtney Yates (China), Danielle DiLorenzo
(Panama), Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands) and Jerri Manthey
It's one of the big questions with Survivor
that I'm always fascinated with," muses host Jeff
Probst. "If you play the game that says 'Outwit,
Outplay, Outlast,' are you really a villain, or are you just a
time around, players like Rupert are counting on intel from
watching past seasons to give them a leg up on the
competition. "Knowing who's friends, who screwed who,
who did what and who lied helps," he says. "I
don't know every little intricacy of it, but I'm pretty
good!" Rupert didn't hesitate when he got the call for his
third go-round. "Every season I'm calling and asking
them, 'Can I play?" When they finally called me, I was
like, 'I'm ready to leave tomorrow!'"
Others weren't in such a rush to sign on again:
Rob, who has a new baby at home, was ultimately swayed by a
former Survivor winner - his wife, Amber Brkich.
"Amber sat me down and said, 'How could you not do
this?' To her, it was a no-brainer," Mariano
says. "I've got a feeling that this is the going-out
party - going out with a win. If they're smart
they'll get rid of me right away. But history has proven
that these people aren't too smart."
Colby may have been a two-time Survivor,
but he was bracing himself for the way the game has evolved.
"You used to be able to sit back, look around, let things
develop and see how you want to mold your strategy," he
explains. "Now if you do that, you run the risk of
being eliminated - not because you're not helping out in
challenges and not because you're annoying somebody - but
because you may not fit into their game plan.
Because of the preconceived notions, Sugar says
she has an unorthodox plan up her sleeve. "If it gets down
to me and Rupert and J.T., I'm in a good position because I
haven't won a million dollars, and both of those guys
have. I'll be like, 'You can't give them a million. Give
it to me. If You give it to him, I'll have to marry him and then
take half of it.
might be kidding, but "villainess" Parvati remembered
how well feminine wiles served her while packing her swimwear.
"I don't think the bikinis could get smaller," she
giggles. "I might wiggle my hips, do a little dance.
There will definitely be some flirting. There will be some
backstabbing. And crying. It'll just be the whole
range of emotions."
But which emotions will rule after the players
meet Russell, last seasons runner-up and arguably the most
brilliantly devious player in Survivor history? He's the
wild card-none of the previous contestants had seen his season
because it had yet to air.
"It was the most selfish think I ever did
in my life." Russell says of leaping immediately into
a new fray after his Samoa season concluded. "I had 10 days
rest and was right back on the same island. It was a
terrible feeling, a gut-wrenching feeling. I had to focus
and try to do it again. As hard as I play, it's way harder
for me than the norm because I step outside of who I am. I
step outside of my character to jump into this role to play with
Even if the "heroes" don't prevail
this time around, Rupert, at least, expects to have another shot
down the line. "My wife says, 'You are 45 now.'
I said, 'Yes and on Survivor 30, I'll be 50!'"