July 30, 2013 9:00am PT by Philiana Ng
The CW's 'Capture' Is 'More a Social Game' Than 'Hunger Games' 2.0, Says Host
The CW heads into the wilderness with the adventure competition series Capture.
A dozen teams of two compete in the hunting grounds, an area outfitted with technology where the competitors are forced to compete in a battle to win $250,000. Each week, different teams are designated as the "hunters," and the other teams, the "hunted," attempt to survive on a limited supply of food while avoiding detection by the hunters. As the game goes on and teams are eliminated, the hunting grounds diminish in size with the help of game master Luke Tipple.
Though the similarities to 2011's movie blockbuster The Hunger Games are well apparent, those three words never escape the lips of Tipple, an Australian outdoor expert -- until he's prompted.
Tipple denied any mention of Hunger Games surfacing in any conversations he had prior to the start of the project, but conceded to hearing "comparisons" to the similarly-themed franchise. "But really, what two things they have in common is that there are people being hunted," Tipple tells The Hollywood Reporter, "and I've wanted to see a reality show about being hunted for a long time."
The host believed Capture was much "more a social game" than a physical one. "The [competitors] have a certain amount of power that the other shows don't give them. They can go out there and control their own destiny. They need to perform," Tipple says.
Because the competition series is heavily reliant on the competitors' performances, Tipple likened his role as host to Big Brother. "I'm above everything and looking at game board. I'm manipulating everybody," he says, adding that he has the power to switch up the hunting grounds if need be (i.e. shut down digital zones).
Tipple gave specific examples of how he can affect the game, prefacing it by saying it's not done to create clear advantages for one team over another. "[If] the teams generally aren't close enough or they're all not moving enough, we need to get them on their toes a little bit, so we'll change the rules for how long they can stay put, or, we'll say the North area is closed, everyone head South," Tipple says, similar to how the Hunger Games' gamekeeper controls the game. "The rules are set, but the interpretation of the rule is completely open."
Tipple was first introduced to the 12 competing pairs on Day 1 of the competition, and he admitted that he wasn't there to befriend the competitors -- though as time went on, he began to "identify with a few a little bit more." Some of the pairs include parkour experts and twins from England. "You learn quickly not to underestimate any of these teams because the ones you think wouldn't do so well can actually do quite well," Tipple says.
As the show progresses, Tipple says he "was surprised how quickly [the competitors] became quite primitive animals. They became hunters. They became prey. They very quickly understood that if they weren't there to compete they were going home."
The scale of Capture, which ended filming at the end of May after more than 30 days, is gigantic. Tipple noted that production "took over an entire mountain and the town next to it" in central California's Mammoth area. Because Capture takes place outdoors, factors such as unexpected weather and the digital component to the show (the competitors all have GPS-like bracelets) play significantly into the outcome.
"This game is going to be hard for anybody," Tipple says. "This game changes. It's not just about surviving in the wilderness, it's about hunting people. Take the most experienced hunter out there, and it'll keep them on their toes because of the digital aspect of it and what I do as game master."
If Tipple had the chance to be dropped into Capture, he hypothesized that he would listen to everything the game master said as they would be "clues to survival." And, he would make "friends with some weaker teams, if necessary."
The trajectory of the game, Tipple hinted, will be surprising to viewers. "People who made it through weren't always ones I thought would make it through," he admits. "As a viewer, they're going to fall in love with some of the teams, and they're going to hate some of the teams."
"People are going to be surprised by who wins," Tipple says.
Capture debuts on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on The CW.