'Survivor' hero Rupert Boneham: 'Darn right I wanna do it again'

rupert-boneham-survivor-voted-out.jpg "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" is down to only one Hero after Rupert Boneham's ouster. He talks with us about why he came back, if he would ever do "Survivor" again and if he harbors any ill-will towards Russell Hantz.

What made you want to come back to "Survivor?"
Oh my gosh, the challenge of "Survivor." There are very few challenges for your body, mind and soul. That game will test you to your core and I thought oh my gosh, I get to go out there a  third time. This time I'm actually winning the damn game!

Aww! You were so close!
I know, I was THIS CLOSE!

Would you do it again? Not all your fellow Heroes or Villains would.
You know, if you would've asked me last night as I was walking away from my final Tribal Council, I would've said, "Heck no." After I got home and hugged and kissed my wife and got a meal in me, you're darn right I wanna do it again. You do "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains 30," I will be there.

Some of your fellow castaways have said they don't like what the game has become, with the advent of the Hidden Immunity Idol and players like Russell. How do you respond to that?
You know, if you want to think that way, then you really need to look at yourself and your life. We all have control over what happens in our world, to an extent. In our mentoring program, I show my kids it counts how you play the game. It doesn't matter what game it is ... if you go into it with a positive attitude, you go into it showing that you are the man or the woman, you go into it with the idea that you're gonna do your best and have fun and you maybe even can win. I would never say no to a chance of going back and doing it again.

Were you surprised when you got voted off?

I went into the last three Tribal Councils thinking there's no way I'm gonna walk out of here ... When Sandra pulled the Hidden Immunity Idol out, I started to pack.

Once you were voted off, who were rooting for?
I will have to say that I hope our one last Hero makes it to the final three. I would love to see a Hero sitting in that final Tribal Council. The odds are kind of stacked against him, so I don't know. It is probably that 1000 to 1 shot. And I have to say, Parvati, even though she's a villain, she is the one that stood up every time with the Immunity Challenges ... people were dropping out for food and Parvati stood there. I wasn't really happy with that [laughs], but it gave me more respect for her.

Russell has been a very polarizing "Survivor" figure. Do you still have a bad taste in your mouth about Russell or did that subside once you were away from the game?

You know, living through it and then watching it again on TV, Russell is the kind of person that I would never really hang out with, that I would never really be involved with, but I don't give that type of person the ability to have control over how I feel. If he wants to be Evil Russell, more power to him. I feel bad for him sometimes, him and his family, because that's a bad row to hoe. Being the Evil Guy on TV ... I mean, my daughter and I love going to school because we're the good guys and the Heroes. Schools and hospitals, they love us. I don't think I'd like to be on the other side.

Any messages to your fans?

The same way that everybody helped me win the popularity contest in "All-Stars" -- we've got another chance to vote for me in "Heroes vs. Villains." If they can get out there and vote, I would love that. My fans know that it's not just for me, it's for everyone around us. It's for our mentoring program, Rupertskids.org. Go see what we've been doing, we're trying to spread it nationwide.

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Photo credit: CBS