'Survivor 5' Granted Permission To Film In Thailand, CBS Refuses To Confirm Location
By Reality TV World staff, 04/12/2002
Survivor creator Mark Burnett received approval from the Thai government to shoot the fifth season of his reality series on a tropical island where political prisoners were once sent to languish, an official said Friday.
The approval Thursday came over the objections of some environmentalists, who were concerned that the filming of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie 'The Beach' on another island two years ago caused coastal erosion and other blight.
"After going through the entire production process, we're confident there won't be any problems," said Sidhichai Jayant, director of the Film Board Secretariat. "There won't be any landscape changes. Everything is under our control." He said the show's producers would spend at least $4.55 million and be allowed 40 days to film the show on Tarutao Island National Park, 602 miles outh of Bangkok. Shooting begins in July.
Tarutao, which covers 1,490 square kilometers (575 square miles), is home to wild buffaloes, boars, cobras and other wildlife. It was used to exile political prisoners when Thailand was under authoritarian rule between 1937 and 1948. Prisoners were left on the island to fend for themselves, with periodic inspections by police from the mainland.
Sidhichai said local residents and environmentalists were part of a committee that decided to grant the approval. The show's participants "won't be allowed to remove any flora or hunt any animals in the forest," he said. (Apparently we're never going to see another pig hunt again.) The island is only open to tourists for eight months of the year. It closes during the monsoon season, which begins in late May. (And filming possibly starts in July -- oh what fun this is going to be! I hope at least the tourists cleaned up after themselves, it'd suck to see a Snickers wrapper lying on the beach of this uninhabited preserve.)
A CBS spokesman on Friday wouldn't confirm the location of the next installment of 'Survivor.'