Just got off the phone with 'The Beast,' Decatur's Lane Elenburg, who was the runner-up on Big Brother 12.
Overall, Elenburg was a popular player among BB viewers, although he did stir up some controversy on fan sites because of a 2008 incident in which he and his brother were accused of assault (no charges were filed), and his live-feed talk about "spotlighting," or hunting nocturnal animals by shining bright lights in their eyes, blinding them and making an easy kill; and "The 8 Second Game," which is described here
But Lane played a calmer, more measured game than many other Big Brother 12 contestants, and like winner Hayden Moss, he didn't develop any enemies in the Big Brother house, which is no mean feat, especially with the in-your-face "showmance" between Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas. And he and his fellow "Brigade" members (with one exception) did a good job of manipulating everyone else without alienating anyone.
We talked about those topics, and lighter ones, in this interview. Some questions are edited, just to condense my rambling.
How did you wind up on Big Brother? Was it your choice, or did you have to be talked into it?
I did it voluntarily. I am a late bloomer with BB. I've seen a couple of seasons and right now, I'm a die-hard fan of it. It's one of the, or the biggest reality games out there. The mental aspect of it. It's a big competition. It's a lot of fun.
It seems like the last week in the house, when it was just you and Hayden and Enzo [Palumbo] could've been a very boring week. Was that the hardest week in the house?
It could've been a lot harder if I wasn't with a group of guys that I like a lot. But it was definitely boring. We did sleep a lot. But we did what we could with what we had and we had a lot of fun.
Do you think you could have done as far as you did without the Brigade?
I don't think so. I don't think I would've gotten near as far if I didn't have the Brigade. We trusted each other, and we trusted each other and we formed our own little business. We had side alliances, and it was fun to play.
Those side alliances seem to come pretty naturally, such as with you and Britney [Haynes] really hitting it off.
The friendships just built into alliances. I trusted Britney. She's a great girl, she's funny and she's like home away from home. She's a Southern girl. You've gotta love that. I enjoyed it, and [the alliance] just came easy.
I know everybody's asking this, but what's the future with you and Britney?
She's an awesome girl. She's great to hang out with and we'll see how it goes. She still has her [fiance.] I don't know for how long. Let's say a week.
I wonder about things like what the house smells like, especially with some of the food that the "Have-Nots" have to eat. What were some of the harder sensory aspects of being in the house?
Calamari, I think was one of them. Bok choy? That is nothing to play with. I don't ever want to see that again. There was definitely some stinky food items out there.
What about the silly moments, such as when the HouseGuests had to dance whenever they heard music or had to wear hand puppets?
They were fun at first, but then they got annoying. If you got in a fight with someone with a hand puppet, it still had to move. The hand puppet had to fight, too, so if you're arguing, laughing, no matter what, the stinkin' thing had to talk to.
Your nickname was 'The Beast' and you talked about getting pressure out by lifting weights or wanting to hit things. But from what I could tell, you did a better job than some HouseGuests of keeping your temper. How do you control your temper for more than two months?
Oh, man, you have to bite your tongue on everything. You've got to let things slide off your back. You have to enjoy every moment in the house, because you never know when it's your day to go. You've got to take each day one step at a time and try not to hit anyone.
You and Hayden seemed to put up with Brendon and Rachel showmance better than other people. How did you put up with that?
It was tough. Those two different people are different from [me]. I don't see that they would be friends outside the house, but since I'm living with them, I had to evolve with 'em. It was a tough deal, but you're playing for $500,000, so I think you can bite your tongue a little harder.
When you're in the house, you don't know what people are saying about you on the Internet. Have you had a chance to look yet?
I didn't even know whether anyone was watching till I walked out those doors. ... I'm kinda hesitant [to look]. I don't know how I'm portrayed out there now, or if I was that big of a dodo.
Most of the fans seem to like you, but there are some people who were upset by reports of the assault incident or your talk about spotlighting and the 8-Second Game.
That's reality TV. I wasn't faking one bit in there. I do regret saying some things, but at the end, I'm still Lane. I'm still going to be myself. I think that's why I was cast for that show, 'cause I have something to bring to TV.
You're always going to have haters. When they hate, they're thinking of you. I'm sorry I upset [people] about the spotlight, but I haven't done that in a long time, and even when I did go that one time, I didn't even get anything. The 8-second deal -- I wasn't involved in it. I wasn't an audience to it or a writer. I just heard of it.
[The alleged assault] was a misunderstanding that got blown way out of proportion from what really happened. I've moved past that, and it's not a big deal anymore.
Were you prepared for some of those things from your past to crop up when you got into the house?
A little bit. When I got out, I've definitely seen how it did blow up. But that's why I get the chance to talk right now and tell the real truth without cameras.
What did you learn about yourself in the house, especially since you and Hayden were in there longer than anyone else?
I learned that I can bite my tongue harder, I can go through this mental pain of being locked up in this house and away from your family. It's a lot different going to college and being away from your family, because you still have your cellphone and you can still call. Try being locked up for three months with no cellphone, no TV, not knowing anything that's going on in the world.
Your mom described you in one episode as a 'meathead jock who loves puppies.' Is that an accurate description.
[Laughs] That's in the dictionary, I think. They put it in the dictionary a month ago.
Do you want to spin this into anything else, like an acting career?
If that happens, I would love to do that. I'd love to keep doing the television stuff, even the reality stuff. I enjoy it. But if it doesn't, I had an awesome time and I'll make the best of it.