There are plans afoot to make yet another big-screen movie based on a popular cancelled TV show. This time around, it’s MacGyver. Will this one fare any better than the rest?
MacGyver revolves around Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson), a intelligent action hero who prefers to utilize everyday items to get out of tough situations rather than depend on firearms. He works for the government-allied Phoenix Foundation under the command of operative Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). Recurring characters are played by Bruce McGill, Michael Des Barres, Elyssa Davalos, Robin Mossley, Susan Chapple, John Anderson, Teri Hatcher, Robert Donner, Dale Wilson, Bruce Harwood, Claire Brown, and Jackson Davies.
The series debuted on September 29, 1985 on ABC. It ran for seven seasons and 139 episodes before signing off on January 13, 1992. Interestingly, though it’s a well-remembered show from that era, the series never ended up on a top 30 list during its run.
It’s because MacGyver has endured the test of time that the character’s been revived several times. In 1994, Anderson returned to the role in two made-for-TV movies, Lost Treasure of Atlantis and Trail to Doomsday.
Back in 2003, the WB network developed a pilot for a Young MacGyver series that starred Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) as MacGyver’s nephew and protege, Clay. The network ultimately passed on the project and decided to greenlight the ill-fated Tarzan series instead.
In 2006, Anderson popped up in a MasterCard commercial for Super Bowl XL, once again playing up the character’s ingenuity.
Since 2007, Saturday Night Live (SNL) has been running a parody of MacGyver called MacGruber. The title character is played by Will Forte and satirizes MacGyver’s ability to solve any problem with household items. In January, MacGruber was used for a series of three Pepsi commercials that aired during SNL and then were rerun for Super Bowl XLIII in February. Anderson reprised his role as MacGyver who was acting as the inept MacGruber’s assistant. On the March 9th episode of SNL, it was revealed that MacGyver was actually his long-lost father. (see video below)
Since MacGyver has remained in pop culture, it’s seemed like only a matter of time before the show would be remade as a feature film. Series creator Lee David Zlotoff has apparently been planning the movie for quite some time but is now ready to move ahead. He holds the movie rights to the property and, in August 2002, closed a seven-figure film deal with New Line Cinema.
At the time, sources said that, while Anderson may be written into the script in a supporting or cameo role, the Angus MacGyver character was expected be a younger role.
It now seems that Raffaella De Laurentiis, the daughter of veteran movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, is producing the film through her Raffaella Prods., along with Martha De Laurentiis and Zlotoff. Dino De Laurentiis is serving as executive producer.
No writer has been hired as yet but the desire is for the project’s script to acknowledge the pop-culture aspect while still making the movie an action picture. It’s still too early for casting but it’s expected that Anderson would be offered a role of some kind in the project.
New Line’s Richard Brener, who will oversee the project with Sam Brown and Walter Hamada, has high hopes for the MacGyver film and joked, “We think we’re a stick of chewing gum, a paper clip and an A-list writer away from a global franchise.”