Only Chris Hammons and his fellow castaways know how Season 33 of Survivor will play out, but some of the attorneys and staff members at his law firm made their best guesses.
Will Chris be willing to do something gross?
Jason Michael Hicks, Social Security disability lawyer:
Yeah. I would say that probably for this show, he would do whatever they wanted him to do or whatever he thought he’d need to do to be successful and hopefully to win.
Todd Kernal, criminal defense lawyer:
Absolutely. He will. Whatever it takes. He’s been trying to get on that show for 15 years. Whatever it takes, he’ll do it. One thing I can’t wait for the entire world to see is his tramp stamp. Oh, yeah. And it’s bad. It’s like a tribal band, and it’s way low. I cannot wait for the whole world to see that.
Jonathan R. Ortwein, personal injury attorney:
I have no doubt Chris will do just about anything they put out there. I have yet to find many topics of conversation or any pictures of horrible accidents or anything that make Chris cringe that much. He’s kind of unflappable a bit in that aspect.
Averi Carriger, legal assistant:
He’s not scared, and everyone else is going to be grossed out by it and he wants to show them, like, “Oh, I can do it.”
Will Chris be a hero or a villain?
Chris is a pretty strong-willed, strong, hard-headed person and also a people person. I could really see it go either way. It depends on what side he wants to show. If he wants to butt heads with everybody, I can see a lot of conflict. But he’s also kind of a work-the-room people person who can kind of schmooze people and really get along with people well if he wants to. It actually could go either way. Or maybe both, I guess.
I would not be surprised at all if he’s cast as a bit of a villain. I think he could easily come off as a bit of an old curmudgeon in a younger man’s body. Just from working with Chris for a while, I can easily see that. He gives quite a few quotable lines that they could easily cast him as kind of the old man villain. He’s a pretty sly guy. He’s kind of one that can easily walk you off a cliff while smiling at you and patting you on the back. I would see that pretty easily. He’s real relatable, and people want to like him. He’s fun to be around. But at the same time, he’s always moving two or three steps ahead. I think it’s one a lot of people won’t see coming, and next thing you know, he’s waving bye-bye.
I don’t know. I’m super nervous if he’s going to be mean or what they’re going to portray him as. It could probably be either way — really mean or really nice. I don’t know.
What parts of his Chris’s personality do you think will come out?
He often goes around acting like everything is the game of Survivor. In a certain sense, in his real life, he looks at it in that way as to how can he position things to make things work, and he’s been pretty good at it. As far as a weakness goes, I think probably overconfidence. He doesn’t lack in a sense of confidence and belief in himself. I think that could definitely both rub people wrong the way in a certain sense but also come across as someone who could be in this show a strong player, which of course would make him a target. So the ability to stay kind of quiet and blend in might be difficult for him.
He’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. If he can’t do it, his brain won’t allow him to make the decision to stop. He’ll just keep going. And he’s pretty smart. And again, I don’t know much about Survivor, but I would find a way to get him out of there as fast as possible.
When it comes time for the competitions, the games, the challenges, he is incredibly competitive. I think it will be like trying to stop a freight train to get him to back down. But at the same time, he’s an excellent negotiator. And I think as long as he knows what he’s doing, and as long as he’s out a step ahead, all of it’s going to come through, but it’s going to be very managed. Maybe that’s the side of the personality that’s going to come out the most – Chris the manager. It’s not even that the other contestants are going to see it, but the audience might see it. He’s going to know how to play his role in each specific context. I think people would probably take Chris as initially maybe a bit of a threat, but the more you talk to him he’s kind of folksy. He’s really relatable. I can see people thinking, ‘This guy is nice. He’s probably not up to a whole lot.’ I think that might not last very long because I think sometimes it could come out pretty quickly that this is a really smart guy that you’re messing with. It could be a bit of a problem later on down the road.
I think all of Chris’s personality is going to shine through. I think when it’s time to be competitive, he’s going to be the biggest competitor out there. I think when it’s face-to-face, he’s going to be the nicest. On the diary, when you go talk to the camera by yourself, I think you’re really going to hear what he really has to say about people but they don’t know they’re saying that. I think it’s all going to come out. Chris is really good at taking his own ideas but presenting it in a way that you think it’s yours. I think that’s going to make him really great at the social game.
When Chris left for filming, where did you think he was going?
All kinds of thoughts, really. Maybe like a rehab. Maybe like a long midlife crisis vacation type thing.Jonathan: When I first found out Chris was going to be gone, it wasn’t even from Chris. He had just been out for a trial and I came in and was talking to our assistants up front. They said, “Well, Chris is going to be gone for about 45 days.” And I thought it was a joke at first. And they were like, “Really, it’s on his calendar. He’s going to be gone.” I went down and checked with him and kind of prompted him, and he said, “Well, yeah, I’m going to be gone. I’ve got some stuff going on.” I pretty much kept prodding him. Is everything OK? Pretty much he was: “I’m not dying, Johnny. I’ve got to be gone for a little while. I’ve got some stuff going on.” I was a little bit surprised and a little bit confused and at the same time not at all.
When Chris told us he was going to be gone, I of course wanted to know why, and I kept bugging him every single day, thinking I could get him to crack. He never did. So we kept making fun of him and throwing out stuff, like, oh, you’re going to go do this or you’re going to do this. We’d tease him and say he was going to be on “Naked and Afraid.” We just kind of kept it a joke and kept it light. I had a client who thought he was out getting extensive medical surgery, such as butt implants, so I heard some really wild things. That’s the truth. I had some clients that were just angry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to tell them. Just, “He’s gone, he’ll be back, and he’s OK.”
Be sure to watch Chris Hammons on Season 33 of Survivor, which premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 on CBS.