Over the course of seven seasons, Agent Angus MacGyver wowed audiences with his resourceful inventions; he created a rocket-powered harpoon gun out of cleaning fluid, mothballs, and an old telescope, and a lie detector from a stethoscope and alarm clock. MacGyver became a pop culture phenomenon, but what was really going on behind the scenes? Read on to find out more about the beloved show.
Would MacGyver’s Inventions Work?
Since the show began, the word “MacGyver” has come to be used as a verb. To MacGyver somethinmacguyg now means to be handy and resourceful, fix a seemingly impossible problem, or create something new. Just think of Agent MacGyver as the original DIY guy. But you may be thinking, “Some of these inventions seem little absurd. Would they really work?”
The producers tried to keep all the inventions theoretically and physically possible with one exception—when it comes to mixing potions or explosives from household chemicals, they changed ingredients to something benign. That’s probably a smart move, considering some wacky viewers might actually try the recipes at home. So, don’t try to take your chemistry lessons from MacGyver—it just wouldn’t work out.
The Star of the Show: Richard Dean Anderson Then
Before landing a role on MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson began his television career as a soap opera star, playing Dr. Jeff Webber on GeneralHospital. However, acting wasn’t originally his dream job. As a child growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Anderson dreamed of becoming a professional hockey player. He broke both of his arms, which led him to develop an interest in music, art, and acting.
Anderson settled in Los Angeles after college, working a series of odd jobs before landing his TV gigs. He was in a marine mammal show, a musician in a medieval dinner theater, and a street mime and juggler. Angus MacGyver became his defining role, and he said after the show was canceled that “MacGyver was seven years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all.”
What Did Richard Dean Anderson Do After MacGyver?
After finishing the two follow-up movies to the series, Anderson moved on from playing MacGyver. He starred as Jack O’Neill from 1997 to 2005 in StargateSG-1. Apparently, Anderson didn’t have to fight for the role; the president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer called him up personally and asked him if he wanted a part in the series.
Anderson also has a charitable side. He’s an avid supporter of the Special Olympics and has spoken at events including the 1991 opening ceremonies. He supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation and various Sclerosis societies. He’s also a part of several environmental groups. Anderson works less these days—he’s too busy playing his best part ever as a dad to his daughter.
The Happy Days Connection
How is MacGyver connected to Happy Days? By Henry Winkler, of course. The actor and producer best known for his role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in the classic American sitcom went on to be an executive producer on MacGyver alongside John Rich.
Without Winkler’s eye for casting, the show might look very different. When looking for a suitable actor to play the lead, Winkler and Rich felt that every actor “hulked” his way through the audition, but Richard Dean Anderson caught Winkler’s eye after an appearance on The Love Boat. He convinced Anderson to audition, and both producers thought he added a human touch to the role that other actors were missing.
Stunts and Injuries
MacGyver does a wild stunt in nearly every episode, but you might be surprised to learn that rather than hiring a stunt double, Richard Dean Anderson performed almost all of his own stunts. Of course, that dedication to the role came with a price.
“I won’t be jumping off buildings again,” Anderson told The Los Angeles Times. “My back has been compressed and operated on. My feet have been surgically cut up and I have a knee that’s just going wacky. So, I do my own driving, and I ski and skate. I’m playing hockey again. Anything that immobilizes my feet, I’m okay with.
The Network Didn’t See the Potential
Though MacGyver has remained a popular show through the years, ABC didn’t always see the potential in this show, especially since they filmed the series in Vancouver. “For a long time, we had a hard time getting recognition from our own network,” said Anderson.
Steve Downing, an executive producer on the show, was convinced that the former ABC President Brandon Stoddard never really liked the series at all. “We were basically ignored,” said Downing. Their timeslot, up against Monday Night Football, didn’t help either. After the second season, MacGyver moved from Los Angles to Vancouver to shoot everything, cutting down on costs, and the next president of ABC, Bob Eiger, saw much more potential in the show.
Dana Eclar’s Eyesight
Dana Eclar was beloved in his role as Pete Tornton, Mac’s best friend and boss at the Department of External Services. Along with MacGyver, he’s also the only regular character in the series. In 1991, Dana Eclare started to develop an upsetting medical condition.
Eclar developed glaucoma, a degenerative condition of the eyes, and began to go blind. However, he was such a fan favorite that going on without him would’ve been very difficult for the show. Instead, the writers of MacGyverdecided that Pete Thornton, the character Eclar portrayed, should also develop the disease. Sadly Eclar passed away in June 2005.
Jack Dalton: The Comical BFF
Jack Dalton, played by Bruce McGill, was always there to provide some comic relief. He was one of MacGyver’s best friends, though it seemed like MacGyver was always trying to get him out of some get rich quick scheme. He also hit on every woman who crossed his path in the series. Jack Dalton also had a clear tell when he was lying—his left eye started twitching.
Jack Dalton wasn’t Bruce McGill’s only funny role—you might remember him from the comedy classic Animal House. He continued to appear in guest roles on TV after MacGyver ended. During the 2016 US Election, Bruce McGill narrated several commercials for Donald Trump’s campaign.
Where’s the Love?
Poor Angus MacGyver never really found love. He almost had a relationship with Phoenix Foundation operative Nikki Carpenter (played by Elyssa Davalos), but fans hated the arc, worrying that the show would become too much like a soap opera.
Carpenter was written off the show after several guest episodes. Her husband, she explained, had been killed in a mafia car-bombing that was meant for her, and so she was too afraid to get involved with MacGyver for fear that she’ll “jinx” him and he’d end up dead like her husband. Davalos was memorable in her role though. She wasn’t the only character MacGyver didn’t end up with.
The Woman Who Drove Fans Crazy
Maria Romburg was introduced as a possible love interest for MacGyver, but the character, played by Brigitta Stenberg, didn’t quite win over fans the way she won over the agent. She left the show after hundreds of angry letters poured in from female and male fans—some of whom wanted MacGyver to remain single because they found him attractive, and others who wanted to avoid the soap opera vibe.
On the show, Maria left the Phoenix project for an assignment after appearing in just a couple of episodes. Stenberg had a few other small roles in TV movies and shows up until 1999.
Teri Hatcher as Penny Parker
Before she was in Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher appeared in several episodes of MacGyver in all of her ’80s-hair glory. She played Penny Parker, a motor-mouthed jewel smuggler who meets MacGyver in line at a Bulgarian airport and tells him she’s trying to escape a scary ex-lover. Sometimes Murdoc uses her as an unwitting pawn while he tries to eliminate MacGyver.
Hatcher appears in six episodes in total, from seasons one through five. Her character comes across as a damsel in distress, so of course, Mac tries to save her and gets a smooch in return. It’s hard to believe she went on to win a Golden Globe and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
The Star Trek Connection
Japanese-American actor George Takei is best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, but did you know he was also on MacGyver? He made an appearance in the second season’s fourth episode, “The Wish Child” as a member of the Chinese Mafia who held MacGyver’s friend’s younger brother captive.
It’s safe to say George Takei went on to do bigger and better things, and he continues to make appearances in shows and movies to this day. He’s also involved in philanthropic work and is a powerful voice for LGBT and immigration activism. He appeared in a documentary about his life called To Be Takei.
MacGyver and Guns
MacGyver is a unique action hero because he rarely uses guns throughout the show, but not everyone was happy about his anti-gun stance. When the 1988 episode that showed the reason MacGyver didn’t like guns aired, the National Rifle Association went crazy. MacGyver’s boyhood friend was killed by one accidentally.
“They’ve been encouraging people not to watch us and boycott our sponsors,” co-producer Steve Downing said of the NRA in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “We try to do a decent job of really saying why a gun is dangerous, and they choose to boycott us and put us on their hit list.”
Angus Was Almost Stacey
MacGyver’s first name isn’t revealed until the end of the show in “Good Night MacGyver: Part 2,” when it’s said to be Angus. Apparently, Richard Dean Anderson saw Angus on a billboard in Vancouver and it found its way into the show. Originally though, Mac’s first name was supposed to be Stacey.
An early version of the pilot script lists Anderson as playing Stacey MacGyver. Before the show premiered, Paramount also publicly circulated a flyer that credited Anderson as Stacey MacGyver. To fans, no matter what his first name is, he’ll always be Mac. Still, Angus does seem like a better fit for the resourceful agent.
MacGyver’s Swiss Army Knife
MacGyver’s trusty Swiss army knife gets him out of several jams throughout the show and helps him create his MacGyverisms from household objects. It also undergoes a couple of changes during the seasons.
The most used knife in the show was a Spartan model from Victorinox, but the knife seen in the opening credits of each episode is different. In the credits, MacGyver is using a Wenger, identifiable by its long keychain. The Spartan Victorinox is still available today and comes with several attachments Mac would make good use of, including a corkscrew, toothpick, bottle opener, blade, wire stripper, and screwdriver.
The Rhino Controversy
A little TV magic managed to outrage fans. In one episode, MacGyver confronts poachers, and during the episode, a rhino is killed. Of course, it’s not a real rhinoceros. The show’s effects team actually spent $40,000 making the fake rhino look real enough to outrage viewers.
After the episode aired, viewers called in to condemn the show for killing a helpless creature. In actuality, the only one harmed during the shooting of the episode was Richard Dean Anderson, who injured his back during the first seasons, and eventually needed surgery. That wasn’t the only controversy that the show faced during its run.
The MacGyver Bomb
In the late 1980s, two teenage boys made a bomb in their garage. The bomb went off and killed one of them. When the surviving boy was questioned about how and why he made the bomb, he said he learned from an episode of MacGyver. Since producers were smart enough not to give actual bomb-making instructions on the show, his story didn’t add up.
MacGyver was exonerated after the court looked into the teenage boy’s statement and discovered the episode he was claiming inspired him didn’t actually exist. It’s a good thing MacGyver didn’t go into more detail because it could’ve ruined the show.
The End of the Show
After seven seasons, MacGyver finally went off the air. ABC wasn’t marketing the series a lot, and saw it as “just another action show.” However, it seems like everyone may have been ready to move on by the time the show ended anyway.
“The only reason it went off the air was that everybody was ready to move on,” said Richard Dean Anderson after the cancellation.
“I was physically exhausted and had no life.” The show went on to be syndicated internationally, and it was released in over 70 worldwide markets. They also wrapped up a few plotlines with two TV movies, released in 1994. Both movies were filmed in Europe.
Thanks to Henry Winkler, MacGyver lives again! In September 2016, the new version of the series premiered on CBS, and by October the network had ordered a full season of 21 episodes. The show was also renewed for a second season in March 2017. While no one quite lives up to Anderson’s performance as MacGyver, Lucas Till brings the character back to life in the reboot.
There are several more recurring characters in the reboot, including a sarcastic hacker named Riley Davis, an undercover CIA operative Nikki Carpenter (who has a larger role in the reboot), and a CIA agent played by Amy Acker. Staying true to the original series, MacGyver continues to save the day using unbelievable inventions made from household items instead of guns.
Pete Thornton Became a She in the Reboot
MacGyver was always a guy-heavy show, but the 2016 television reboot of MacGyver reimagined Pete Thornton as Patricia Thornton, played by Sandrine Holt. Unfortunately for fans of Holt’s portrayal, she decided to leave the new show. She’ll be replaced by Meredith Eaton as Matty Webber.
Before Sandrine Holt played the gender-bent role of Thornton in the reboot, she was in The Returned, Mr. Robot, The Art of More, House of Cards, Hostages, and Fear the Walking Dead. If you were a fan of the original MacGyver, that’s definitely not all you need to know about the reboot of the beloved show.
Will Richard Dean Anderson Appear In the McGyver Reboot?
When the MacGyver reboot came to television, viewers everywhere wondered if Richard Dean Anderson would be cast on the show or make an appearance. Initially, fans were excited when reports surfaced that Anderson was in talks to appear on the CBS reboot. “We’re hoping to get him on the show,” Lenkov revealed at the CBS Comic-Con panel. “That’s our plan.” While Anderson never appeared in season one, fans are still holding out for an appearance by the original McGyver sooner or later.
Richard Dean Anderson Was Cast for An Interesting Reason
One of the things fans love most about MacGyver is that he’s very down to earth. This is largely thanks to Henry Winkler’s great casting skills. When Winkler was searching for the person actor to play the role of MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson did a small gesture that made him stand out from the rest. During his audition, Anderson simply grabbed his reading glasses so he could better see the lines in the script. Winkler thought this small gesture was humbling and made Anderson seem like a real human, rather than your everyday-macho man. It turns out that Anderson’s nearsightedness helped him land the role!
MacGyver Defused Bombs With Household Items
Remember when MacGyver was accused of influencing two teenage boys to make a bomb at home? Well not only was MacGyver eventually exonerated after the court looked into the teenage boy’s statement and discovered the episode didn’t really exists—but there was an episode how to defuse bombs!
During the episode, MacGyver gets himself out of a sticky situation by using interesting household items, as Mac typically did. To defuse a bomb, he uses low-fat milk, oven cleaner, a hockey stick, a feather quill, and a walkie-talkie.
Richard Dean Anderson Shares the Same Birthday As MacGyver
Richard Dean Anderson and MacGyver share lots of similarities, including the day they were born. Richard Dean Anderson was born on January 23, 1950, and just happens to share the same birthday as the character he starred as—well maybe. In the show, Mac’s birthday is purported to be either January 23 or March 23, but in the episode “Every Time She Smiles,” his passport clearly shows his birthday as January 23. No matter the case, we are going to choose to believe Richard Dean Anderson and his beloved character share the same birthday.
The Italian Job Connection
Do you remember the climactic car chase “Thief of Budapest” episode? If so, then you will recall the suspenseful scene in which MacGyver is trying to get back a stolen watch that holds top secret information of microfilm. During the show, a young Gypsy girl steals the watch from him and he has to get creative to get it back. This means creating a traffic jam which Mac does by using a Swiss Army Knife and a credit card, of course. But perhaps what is most memorable about the episode is that the iconic car chase was actually dead footage from The Italian Job.
The MacGyver Theme Song Is Different In Brazil
One of the most memorable things about MacGyver is the infectious theme song that welcomes viewers at the beginning of each episode. The theme song is originally a catchy instrumental piece by Randy Edelman. But not everyone got to experience the same catchy tune. For those living in Brazil, they instead heard the “Tomy Sawyer” by Rush. This is interesting because the popular classic rock song from the Canadian prog trio was very different than the original wordless song. No one seems to know why the introduction music differs in Brazil and the producers have never publicly commented.
Murdoc Wrote an Episode In Season 4
Actor Michael Des Barres plays Murdoc, who is MacGyver’s nemesis. Murdoc, whos is an assassin working for the Homicide International Trust, is creative and highly skilled in the use of booby traps. But while Michael Des Barres may play an evil character, in real life, he was multi-talented, both acting and writing for the show. Des Barres even wrote the episode “Cleo Rocks,” which is a musical number that aired during the show’s fourth season. The episode features Penny Parker, played by actress Teri Hatcher, as Cleopatra in a rock opera. But Murdoc, of course, is up to his evil ways stagehand.
Richard Dean Anderson Wrote a Song for MacGyver
The cast of MacGyver has proved to a multi-talented bunch. Producer Henry Winkler was also an accomplished actor, while Michael Des Barres was an actor and writer. Richard Dean Anderson wasn’t too shabby either. The star was also a talented musician and even wrote a song for one of the episodes. In “The Negotiator,” you may recall the song “Eau D’Leo.” This song was not only performed by Richard Dean Anderson, but he wrote the lyrics and music too.
There’s a Real MacGyver Out There
While Lee David Zlotoff knew he wanted his protagonist to be intellectual and resourceful, when he met a Renaissance man-of-sorts, he was inspired to base MacGyver’s character off him. He stumbled upon a man named John Koivula, who was a gemologist at Caltech and was mesmerized by Koivula’s knowledge. From chemistry to physics, he seemed to have experience in almost everything. Zlotoff knew he had to keep in touch with Koivula, who would go on to be a continual source of inspiration for the show. Koivula played another integral role in the show too…
John Koivula Created the “MacGuyverism”
John Koivula became a central part of MacGyver’s crew, He became the show’s scientific consultant and was called on whenever the cast and crew had questions about MacGyver’s subject matter. Writers would work together to think of logistical problems and Koivula would come up with the solutions—or what he would eventually refer to as “MacGuyverisms.” If Koivula deemed something as too danger (or thought it might cause viewers to attempt the same MacGuyverism at home) it vetoed the idea and it was back to the drawing board for the cast and crew.
MacGyver Was Inspired by McDonald’s (Really)
When Lee David Zlotoff was creating the character of MacGyver, he wanted the leading man to have a masculine-sounding name. Originally, Zlotoff intended for MacGyver’s character to simply be called “Guy,” but his friends were quick to veto that idea because the didn’t think it was compelling enough. Instead, Zlotoff looked elsewhere for inspiration.
McDonald’s was prompting people to add “Mc” in front of words, so he suggested that the leading character be called “MacGuy.” The cast and crew decided he needed to have a three-syllabus name, and MacGyver was born.
The Pilot Was a Total Flop
Considering how successful MacGyver became, it’s surprising to hear that the pilot was borderline disastrous. The pilot was so bad in fact that executive producer John Rich told the Archive of American Television that the 90-minute episode was “dreary.” He went on to say, “It was no good…it was an hour and a half of dreadful.” To make matters worse, director Jerrold Freedom went as far to have his name removed from the credits. If you notice the name “Alan Smithlee” in the pilot credits, it’s simply a general pseudonym.
Why MacGyver Couldn’t Have a Girlfriend
Before he starred in MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson was a soap opera star. This meant the actor was a frequent target of affection for swooning men and women everywhere. As a result, the producers were extra cautious about MacGyver’s character getting romantically involved with a woman in the series. In season three, a love interest was finally introduced and appeared in several episodes. However, the show’s fans were quick to voice their distaste for the leading’s macho man’s new love interest, stating they didn’t want MacGyver to turn into another Moonlighting.
Fans Were Paid to Come Up With “MacGyverisms”
MacGyver was known for getting out of the stickiest situations—but even the best Hollywood writers began having trouble coming up with new MacGyverisms. So, the producers got creative and reached out to the show’s fans. Director John Rich even went as far to offer viewers a cash reward if they could successfully submit a scenario for the show that the cast and crew used.
The directors received a steady flow of letters from fans, but very few had plausible ideas. One idea that did make the cut was to fix a leaking cooling system in a vehicle by cracking an egg into the radiator—sealing the hole as it heated and hardened.
MacGyver Uses Guns, But Only Twice
One of MacGyver’s distinctive traits was that he didn’t use firearms. This made the show that much more interesting because he couldn’t rely on weapons and was forced to improved creative solutions. However, MacGyver did use a gun in two different instances on the show.
In the pilot episode, MacGyver is seen shooting an automatic weapon. Then, later in the show’s first season, he smashes the barrel out of a gun and uses the remaining piece as a makeshift hand wrench—which is pretty much the most MacGyver-y thing ever, right?
Richard Dean Anderson Wasn’t Much of a MacGyver In Real Life
Richard Dean Anderson may have played a resourceful character on television, but in real life, the actor wasn’t exactly having MacGyverisms. Anderson recalled a situation where he was locked out of his house and had to find a way inside. Having been at a cast and crew holiday party that wasn’t much fun, he made his way home only to discover he was locked out. Perhaps there was alcohol involved but Anderson deemed the most efficient solution was to throw a nearby bench through the front window of his home. As a joke, his friend later gifted him a new bench with the Swiss Army symbol on it.
MacGyver’s Floating Home Was Sold On Craigslist
MacGyver fans will recall how cool MacGyver’s digs were. He lived in a floating home, which was docked in a Vancouver boatyard. Paramount used the floating house throughout the duration of MacGyver but listed the house after the show was done the filming. The floating abode was sold and then remolded and resold by another buyer in 2012. The home ended up reselling in 2014, but because it had sadly sustained severe water damage to its foundation, it was listed for just $40,000 on Craigslist. That’s well below the original value of the home, which was estimated to be $200,000.
Young MacGyver Was Almost a Thing
Before the CBS reboot of MacGyver, the WB tried to breathe new life into the series. Young MacGyver starred the Supernatural actor Jared Padalecki as MacGyver’s nephew, Clay. Clay was just as creative, intelligent, and resourceful as his uncle, but the show was a total flop. Viewers felt like the WB was trying to play up how cool and hip Clay was, but “cool” and “hip” aren’t words that are typically associated with the MacGyver franchise. The series gave it a try anyway, commissioning the pilot. Poor reception resulted in the series never getting picked up for more episodes.
MacGyver Almost Made It to the Big Screen
You may have heard of director James Wan…you know, the man behind the billion-dollar Fast and Furious franchise. While directing the most recent installment of the Fast and Furious was a wise choice (it made over $1 billion globally), Wan almost committed to taking on a MacGyver move adaptation.
In an interview with CraveOnline, Wan said, ” “My initial concept was I wanted to do a young college MacGyver who went to Boston, one of the great universities, who’s really brilliant, right? He gets blamed for something that he had designed, something really big that’s something everyone wanted, and now someone has weaponized it and everyone’s coming after him.”
MacGyver Spiked Kids’ Interest In Science
Every now and then, a character has the power to use his or her influence for good. MacGyver was one of them. Everyone knows that Richard Dean Anderson’s character was the best when it came to creating something out of the most random of parts. But while his contraptions may not have been 100 percent logical, MacGyver is responsible for stimulating an interest in both science and engineering in school-aged children around the world. This is why we still hear the word “MacGyverism” all the time!
Obsession With Hockey?
Ever wonder why MacGyver always is sporting a hockey jersey or playing hockey when he has nothing to do? Well, there is a valid explanation for that so don’t just think the guy is some hockey-obsessed character.
“One, his character apparently grew up in Minnesota (where not playing hockey is a crime punishable by law) and he was actually tapped to play in the pros, but gave it up to be a scientist and eventual secret agent,” wrote Patrick Wensink. It looks like he made the correct career choice! Who else could make gadgets up with household materials?
What Is He Carrying Around?
The master of making gadgets from practically nothing, just what exactly did MacGyver keep in his pocket? It sure wasn’t a gun because he was against that. You’d be surprised what he kept in there.
“According to various episodes Mac always has a few items on hand in case bad guys jump out of the bushes: A roll of duct tape in his back pocket (Seriously. He would flatten it to fit), strike anywhere matches, an ID card, a watch, paper clips, chewing gum and a flashlight,” wrote Wensink. “These usually prove more dangerous than an entire armed squad of terrorists.”
The legend of MacGyver will live on forever. No one can do what he does but also, he has a verb that is attached to his name that should transcend time. What is the verb you ask? Macgyver-ing if you couldn’t already guess.
“If you’re ever in doubt of MacGyver’s lasting legacy, just hang around a group of young people who are faced with something breaking around them,” wrote Justin Andress. “If it’s a necessary thing, at least one person will suggest “MacGyver-ing” a solution to the problem. It’s the same thing as “jerry-rigging”, just more politically correct.”
Write-in For Reward
Do you think you have what it takes to help MacGyver? Did you have the uncanny ability to figure out a contraption that could help defeat enemies? Apparently, the show encouraged viewers to write-in their own do it yourself fixes for rewards!
“Not only that, but apparently the show offered rewards to viewers who wrote in with DIY fixes for Mac to use,” wrote Wensink. “According to Henry Winkler, the best one the writers ever got was from a young boy who suggested MacGyver could fix a cracked radiator with an egg.”
Doctor Who Ties in
We’ve seen producers form other shows collaborate with Macgyver so now here is another one. When the show was in its first season, Two of the most popular episodes were written by Terry Nation who was a seasoned BBC writer.
If that name doesn’t ring any bells then perhaps this will. Nation wrote Doctor Who and is credited with making the most popular sci-fi ever, the Daleks. Macgyver can credit some of it’s success to others, clearly but that’s what makes something more incredible when you collaborate with great minds.
Now let’s learn some facts about the highly coveted making of the reboot!
Was Richard Dean In The Process?
Every fan was patiently waiting and eagerly wanting to know if Richard Dean Anderson would be included in the reboot of the series. And why wouldn’t they? He made the show what it was (as do all of the main stars of a series). The showrunner Peter Lenkov said who would be featured so long as Anderson agrees.
“Oh yeah,” Lenkov said. “We’ve been talking to his reps about having him. We actually have a role in mind, and we’ve had this since we started prep on the pilot. So we are hoping he says yes.”
A Nice Change Of Pace
With any action series, the main character is always the main focal point but many times, they can’t do it all alone. A team is great to have in case things get too out of hand. In the reboot, Lenkov wanted to change the dynamics of Macgyver’s team.
“I wanted it to stand out a little bit from the original show,” Lenkov said. “I wanted that character to have a family around him, people that he relies on. I feel that TV shows nowadays are very character-driven, so I really wanted to sort of explore his character. And how do you do that? By really having him interact with people close to him.”
But What About MacGruber?
Will Forte had a skit on Saturday Night Live which was a parody of Macgyver called MacGruber (get it?). He had major differences such as not being very good at being a hero or diffusing the bomb! He eventually turned the skit into a movie. The cast loves MacGruber and they even quote him on occasion.
“When I found out that he had gotten the job, the first words out of our mouths were ‘Every day is a workout when you’ve got a 20-pound python in your pants,’” Lucas Till said.
Who Chose The New MacGyver?
Ever heard of the Fast and Furious? Sure you have, it’s one of the most successful movie franchises of all-time! James Wan is the mastermind who directed Furious 7 which dominated the box office and he has also directed some of your favorite horror films like The Conjuring. He is the one who cast the new MacGyver.
“I was involved in was the casting process,” Wan said. “I was very happy that I was able to be involved in finding Lucas and having George be a part of that as well. They were the only two that basically survived the previous incarnation of MacGyver, and I think Peter saw the same thing as well.”
Just Call It MacGyverism
You can’t do a reboot without paying homage to the original series, it just wouldn’t feel right. When the trailer for the new series was released, fans caught glimpses of some of the aspects that made them fall in love with the first show. That is always great to see in eyes of audience.
“If you watch the pilot, there is one very specific MacGyverism that we used,” Lenkov said. “It’s really an Easter egg for people that know that original show. So I think they’ll recognize that particular little gag.”
The Secret Is Out
Like many greats, you may only know them by one name. For instance, Kobe Bryant is referred to as Kobe only and Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld just goes by Kramer. MacGyver is another one of those people who just goes by one name. Like he’s James Bond because usually others only call him Bond. In the new series, it doesn’t go that way.
“I say it all the time on the show,” Till said. “I think we’ve got to come up with a way to make me hate it on the show or something. Angus is a pretty crap name.”
Still Researching For Sequences
We are well aware that no ordinary person can come up with the contraptions that MacGyver figures out and also no regular person can swiftly get themselves out a highly sticky situation like he does. Which is why the creators still put in time researching things like they did in the original series. They still need to make sure these things are even possible!
“A lot of it is research,” Lenkov said. “A lot of it is us painting ourself into a corner and then trying to get creative. We also have a tech advisor that we have vet our scripts to make sure that all these things are real and they’re doable.”
He Does His Own Fighting
There are not many stars in Hollywood who do their own stunts let alone do their own fighting. Lucas Till isn’t like the rest of Hollywood. The guy played an X-Man for crying out loud. When it came to fighting, Till asked Wan if he could recreate a fighting scene from Furious 7.
“I convinced James to let me get Rock Bottomed, not really because that was a different move,” Till said. “In his movie, The Rock Rock Bottomed Jason Statham, shoves him into a glass table, and it does this slow, almost twisty cam move into the table. I was like, ‘Hey, do you know that brilliant movie you made where you did that one thing, and it’s that signature thing that you do? Just let me do it.’”
Still Saying No To Guns
The original MacGyver had a thing for guns. That is, he didn’t like them at all and that’s’ why he wanted to find another way to solve his issues. Lucas Till’s rendition stayed true to that.
“I think MacGyver is the kind of guy that, if he needs a weapon, he’ll build it,” Lenkov said. “He’s not a gun guy. George’s character is very different. George’s character is sort of the muscle of the show. He’s ex-military. He’s the guy that sees the value in a gun as a defensive weapon. But yeah, this is very true to the original concept of the show, which is MacGyver is not a gun guy. MacGyver is a different type of hero.”
Lucas Till Opens Up About Reboot
When he found out he was cast, Lucas Till was ecstatic. He sat down and had an in-depth interview to talk all about it. And for starters, his father seemed more pumped than he was!
“When I would do movies he would be like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool’,” says Till, 26, about his dad. “But then when I got MacGyver, he’s been calling me every day, like, ‘Hey, man, let’s hang out. Hey, I got this new idea. Hey, look at this thing I built’,” says the X-Men star, whose father John, a lieutenant-colonel in the US Army, performed as an extra in the program’s first episode.
Till Talks About Pleasing The Fans
When you have big boots to fill, it could add pressure to you but for some, they just make diamonds from that pressure. Till understands he that he owes the classic fans something while doing the reboot.
“I think all of us feel like we have a responsibility to the old fans,” Till says. “One of those things is having MacGyver making stuff out of nothing but we are just trying to do a lot of new things because, you know, you can always just go watch the (original) show on Netflix. They’re big shoes to fill but I hope George (Eads) and I can fill them.”
For Those Who Have And Haven’t Seen The Original
Reboots happen all the time. Some are from movies or shows so old only a select few may have heard of it. With MacGyver being on the conscious of a handful of people, Till wanted to make sure he did things correctly and make it too different for those who remember the past version.
“See, it’s kind of like James Bond,” Till said. “There’s a new James Bond every couple of years. Maybe I can do the new MacGyver and put my own twist on it. But you do have certain things that you have to adhere to because, otherwise, it’s not MacGyver.”
Pay No Attention To The Haters
Paying attention to what the outsiders say can mess with your head. They didn’t put the work in nor do they have any merit to their name to be speaking about an art form they watch for entertainment. Some do, but not all, which is why it is the best route to not pay them any mind.
“I’m sure there are some haters out there but I just put my blinders on,” Till said. “I try not to look at it, good or bad, but eventually, my manager or my mom will be, like, ‘Oh, look how good a review this was’.”
Staying Shape Is A Must
For a show with this many stunts and for the main star who performs his own stunts, it would be wise for Till to stay in shape. It would be smart for anyone, no matter what type of condition you are in. You don’t want to be out there gasping for air and looking unprepared.
“You definitely have to be fit,” Till said. We have an upcoming episode that is all running. And I do a lot of stunts,” he says, adding mastering MacGyver’s trademark technical skills are even more of a challenge.”
Fake It Til’ You Make It
With all the C.G.I. being used in Hollywood these days thanks to some great technological advances, actors don’t have to muster up as much talent to look good on screen anymore. Still, there are limits to this. Some things you just have to at least pretend to know what you’re doing.
“However improbable it may be, it’s all possible,” Till says, just not necessarily for him. “I have to fake it on the show. I can’t even accomplish half of what I do on the show with these paperclips. I try but I fail.”