For those of us who grew up watching some of television’s best, it would come as no surprise if a secret agent named MacGyver was one of your childhood idols.
We confidently say and affirm this because he was one of ours :)
When we got word that CBS was rebooting the show, we were worried, but also at the same time ecstatic. Well, more ecstatic than worried, to be honest. In the 2016 edition of “MacGyver”, Lucas Till (of “X-Men” fame) takes on the titular role of Angus MacGyver – only 10 years younger. In the reboot, the 20-something Angus “Mac” MacGyver is part of a clandestine organisation within the US government where he uses his extraordinary talent for unconventional problem solving and vast scientific knowledge to save lives.
Mac is joined by former CIA agent Jack Dalton (played by George Eads) and Patricia Thorton (played by Sandrine Holt), an ex-field agent turned director of operations and Riley Davis (played by Tristin Mays), an unpredictable computer hacker with a chip on her shoulder. At home, MacGyver is entertained by his ambitious roommate, Wilt Bozer (played by Justin Hires).
The show premiered in Malaysia via AXN on 24th September 2016 to much fanfare. But it isn’t until now that we were given the opportunity to speak to Lucas Till about “MacGyvering” (his words, not ours).
So here’s what went down:
What is it like taking on such an iconic role?
MacGyver is a really fun guy to play, yeah. I get to be charming, funny. I’m not really those things in real life, so they had to write it that way. And I just get to do that (in) every episode and then I get to MacGyver stuff, so, as you can imagine that’s pretty fun. You know, I’ve been part of ensembles before and, you know, I’ve been the lead and stuff but I think it was the point in time where you want to go back and forth. Sometimes you want to be part of something where you’re not working as much. Then it will just – it’s at a good time in my life where I wanted to take on a lot of responsibility, which I will be being MacGyver. And it’s just cool – it’s just like the American James Bond. And I don’t know it’s just – and it’s also cool to get your dad excited about something, too.
Why is this the right time to reboot “MacGyver”?
“’MacGyver” is a verb in Dictionary you know. So, that tells you how well-known it is already. And I think it’s been a long enough time that people – a lot of people can get upset when you don’t live up to certain standards in comic book movies and all that kind of stuff. But with “MacGyver” I think you just want to kind of see someone come back and make all these things and be MacGyver again. So, I met a lot of people – before the show started, people came over to me and said, “Oh, you’re the new MacGyver?” And how cool is that?
What is the premise of this “MacGyver” reboot?
The reboot is about MacGyver when he was probably 10 years younger than how old you discovered him on the original show. Obviously there’s going to be different changes, so I guess it’s kind of an alternate reality. But still it kind of shows where MacGyver came from and how he got to the point where you later find him.
Where is MacGyver when we first meet him?
You find him in the Department of External Services which then becomes the Phoenix Foundation.
What elements from the original series will be featured in the reboot?
In the first episode, I pick up a rocket, not in the same circumstances that he does in the original show but it was part of the title sequence with the rocket. And also Bozer, Jack Dalton, and Thornton, who now is a female – was a male on the original show – they’re all characters from the original. But you’re seeing them in a new way because you’re seeing kind of how he first met these people.
So the new MacGyver has the signature leather jacket?
I’m loving the leather jacket. Yeah. It’s very – I mean, it’s perfectly MacGyver and it’s custom made so no one’s really going to have that. And Nadine (Haders) our Costume Designer, she was looking at pictures of Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, and James Dean and kind of melded together all of those whatever jackets they wore for then my most iconic movies and put a jacket together using that. So that’s what I have.
We’ve always wanted to know, how practical are the MacGyver hacks featured on the show?
It never ceases to amaze me what they have me doing and, you know, I mean, it’s real stuff. It can – you know, the circumstances probably have to be right for the things that I do to really work. But they do, given the right circumstances, really work, you know, making coils and making electromagnets and all kinds of other stuff.
How would you best describe MacGyver’s relationship with Jack (George Eads)?
We’re just two buddy cops along for an adventure and he looks out for me. I do all the MacGyvering but I don’t use guns. Jack is very proficient with firearms and protects me while I’m sneaking into places and doing – well, solving all the world’s problems with MacGyverisms. The relationship with Jack is like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
What makes MacGyver and Jack good partners?
He uses guns. I don’t. Sometimes that helps out what he does but I refuse to for reasons we will later find out. But he does all the things that I can’t and I do all the things that he can’t. He’s constantly making me laugh by what I think is probably really ridiculous and silly and I’m keeping him entertained by doing stuff that he finds interesting because he’s – because I’m a lot smarter than him.
What is it like working with co-star George Eads?
George (Eads) is my heterosexual love interest, really. That’s what the show is. That’s the best way to describe it.
How would you describe the relationship between MacGyver and Bozer (Justin Hires) at the start of the series?
Bozer makes me waffles and makes me laugh.
How much did you prepare for the physical demands of this role?
I thought I was exercising enough until day one when I was hanging out of a plane and really excited to be hanging out of a plane and then they wanted to do a lot of takes of that. Then they wanted me to run in these boots that you really can’t run in. And they wanted me to run. They’re like, oh, yeah! And I got about two thirds of the way and then I was (breathing hard). And then I was like, oh, man. I guess I wasn’t exercising enough.
Do you have a favourite moment from the original “MacGyver” series?
I remember episodes when I was a kid but I definitely didn’t watch it as regularly as someone like my dad used to. Since I’ve been watching, I – one of my favourite moments, I put it on Snapchat for all my buddies to watch, it was just – he tells a woman, he explains to her that in China you’re supposed to tell your prettiest child that they’re ugly so they don’t get a big head. And then he proceeds to tell her that he would be obligated to tell her that she’s the ugliest woman he’s ever seen. But if that works for MacGyver then I’m in good shape.
What has been the most challenging part of working on “MacGyver”?
Trying not to have so much fun especially working with George (Eads) and Justin (Hires) and well, really everyone on the show.
Will MacGyver have a love interest on the show?
MacGyver had a new love interest each episode on the original. And as you will find out, I think there’s a reason for that because he was never really your classic kind of womaniser. He was a sweet dude but still had a new girl with each episode because he’s – you know, he’s had some damage done and maybe we find out why that is in the first episode.
Last one for the road! Which 5 words would you use to describe “MacGyver”?
5 words to describe the show: fun, sexy, funny, dangerous, and wet.
Starring Lucas Till, George Eads, Tristin Mays, Justin Hires, and Sandrine Holt, “MacGyver” airs every Saturday at 9:05pm first and exclusively on AXN (Astro Ch701) and AXN HD (Astro B.yond Ch721). Don’t forget to tune in ;)