Perry adds, "The first day the contestants arrived on the island, they were told they were, in fact, on American Cannibal. Nobody left. Nobody was afraid. They still wanted to do it."
During the making of American Cannibal, Michael and Perry were amazed by the lengths some people were willing to go to for stardom. "I'd love to be naked all the time!" one contestant gushes on tape.
"Not the thumb, or, like, the big toe," one hopeful replies.
"Do I have to chew it and spit it out?" another man inquires.
Reflecting on the documentary, Michael says, "Whether or not they were going to have to eat somebody was irrelevant. They would do it to be famous. Back in the day, people used to be famous for an achievement. Now it seems fame is the achievement."
Perry replies, "We just thought there was a lot of low-brow stuff on television. Why does television have to promote all the stuff? Why does it have to go to that level? We went into pitch meetings. We followed writers into pitch meetings."
"You followed these two particular writers pitching this idea of Starvation Island?" Dr. Phil asks.
"They eventually got to Starvation Island. They began with sitcoms, found that nobody would listen to them, and they started doing reality TV," Perry answers. "That's what was going to sell. They knew that."
"That's correct," Kevin replies. "When they came to me about this Starvation thing, I said, 'Well, this is really something. We can really see people get real. When you take away the cameras, you take away the booms, there really is no such thing as reality television, Dr. Phil."
"What was the most shocking thing that you guys came away from doing this with?" Dr. Phil asks.
"We shot for two-and-a-half years. Three hundred hours of footage, we boiled down to 90 minutes. We found very early on in the documentary that when we turned the camera on, everything changed. Their behavior changes," Michael reveals.
"Were you guys at all surprised about how base this got down to, in terms of what people were willing to do?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"It's incredible to watch people parade themselves in front of the camera. Hundreds of people across the country, different cities, different places, they all have different demographics, they all come from different families, but there is something about the fame that they believe is on the other side of that lens that makes them do whatever it takes to get on television," Perry explains. "We're showing people at their worse, and Kevin is no exception."
"When I originally saw the movie, I wasn't very happy with the way I was portrayed," Kevin admits.
"Why?" Perry asks.
"You guys did paint me a little bit to be a scumbag and sleaze ball, but we got past that," Kevin replies.
Perry is aghast. "Painted you? It's color-by-numbers with you, Kevin," he counters.
"Thank goodness for Kevin, because he makes the movie very interesting," Perry says. "God bless you, Kevin. You're a sleaze ball. You're the villain. I thank you for it, but at the same time, you represent going the lowest anybody can go."