August 29, 2013 7:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'Jungle Gold' Stars Reveal the Dangers of Their Jobs and Season 2's Scariest Moments (Video)
Jungle Gold stars George Wright and Scott Lomu say accusations that their show is fake are completely unfounded.
During a visit to The Hollywood Reporter's video lounge, the duo point out that they were in Ghana mining for gold long before Discovery Channel's cameras began recording them. And, they say, often the show doesn't portray the events dramatic enough.
"For example, [when] the premiere of season two aired, I watched it disappointed because I thought real life was so much more dramatic than that," Lomu says. "I'm like, 'That episode should've been three hours long.' When the wheel came off the truck, when the lowboy broke down -- those were the four worst days of my life and it was just done in 43 minutes! It was like, 'Hey, we’re moving on!' I'm like, 'Bullcrap! I almost went home!' But we understand that those are the things that you give up. By having a TV show, they’re going to edit it the way they need to. But to us, hearing people say the show is fake is almost offensive because real life is much, much worse than they're seeing on TV."
Of people who claim the show is scripted, he adds: "Well, if it's scripted. We have the worst scriptwriter ever because we didn't find any gold [last season]."
Wright, meanwhile, points to a moment this season where he got hurt badly. While the crew was clearing some ground a tree fell and hit him in the head.
"When it happened, I didn't call home," he says. "I didn't tell my wife because that's the last thing – I'm going to call home and tell her like, 'Oh, I was out and we were working on the site and an enormous tree came and crashed on my head. I was bleeding and they had to take care of me, and the security medic from the camera crew had to get involved.' They don't get involved unless things are pretty serious. So, that was pretty scary."
Wright also points out that the closest hospital is several hours away by car, and even then, the medical treatment is not up to par with the standards to which Americans are accustomed.
"Those kinds of moments when you get hurt in those kind of ways or somebody else gets hurt, you realize that you need to be a lot more careful here," he adds. "You need to be vigilant because this jungle will destroy you if you're not careful."
Wright and Lomu both have families they leave behind every time they go to Ghana to mine, which is usually for a few months at a time. In the past 3 1/2 years, they estimate they've been gone a total of 18 months.
"Ultimately, our wives believe in us and they trust in us," Lomu says. "If we convince them that this is going to work, they’re great women. They’re strong women. When we’re gone, the hard part is our wives at home with all our little kids by themselves. Being out in the jungle, sleeping in a tent, dodging bullets and snakes -- there’s kind of a fun, exciting element to that. Being home changing diapers and doing the bath time routine -- that sucks. Our wives pick up the slack and they do it without complaining because they know that we believe in this, and they know that ultimately, this is going to be the answer to all of our problems."
Wright and Lomu also are quick to point out that when they are at home, they're not working and get to spend all their time with their families.
Adds Lomu: "Our wives have sacrificed a lot. They’ve put up with a lot of crap for us to do what we do, and they deserve this to work. We’re going to do whatever we can to make it pay off for them."
The pair say they have considered looking elsewhere for gold -- like Utah, obviously a lot closer than Africa -- but they've already invested so much time and money into Ghana that it doesn't make sense to abandon that location now.
Plus, "the piece of ground that we're on now has the most gold on it that we've ever seen, which is great for moving forward," Lomu adds.
Asked if they ever watch any of Discovery Channel's other gold-mining shows, including Gold Rush or Bering Sea Gold, the pair say they have been too busy.
"I think by the time all those shows started coming out, we were so entrenched in it and we were so involved and focused," Wright says. "When we’re out there, obviously we’re not watching TV, and when we're home, we're with our wives and children. But, I think it probably would've helped if we'd taken a few pointers."
Jungle Gold airs at 10 p.m. Sundays on Discovery Channel. For more of THR's interview with Lomu and Wright, click here.