Exclusive: James Wan Reveals the ‘MacGyver’ Movie Plot



Back in 2012, famed horror director James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) was already planning to switch gears and direct an action movie. He wound up making Furious 7, the latest entry in the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise, but first he attached himself to a very different action series: MacGyver. Based on the long-running TV show starring Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate: SG-1), the film would have rebooted the franchise about a dashing genius who saves the world using scientific knowhow instead of guns.

So whatever happened to MacGyver? In an upcoming interview with CraveOnline, James Wan revealed that it was a project he had to leave in order to make Furious 7.


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“I love MacGyver. I do! What kind of sucked was, and not fully sucked, I had to give MacGyver up to pursue Furious 7,” Wan explains. “So that was what I had to give up.”

But since the MacGyver movie never got made, is there any room for Wan to come back? “I don’t know, Wan replied. “I [think] New Line, that I was going to do it with at the time, no longer has the rights to it. So yeah, I don’t know where it is at this point. Yeah, I love the concept behind MacGyver, and I love the direction that we were going with it.”


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When asked what that direction was, James Wan elaborated: 

“I never got into [the production] too much but 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’s a really smart guy but he’s so smart he could never feel like he fit into a construct, or into a world that is an establishment. So he’s always a bit of an outsider. So he’s very crafty, he’s very smart, all kinds of science and mathematics and engineering. To cut a long story short, the idea here is I wanted to put my MacGyver story around something like a North by Northwest.”

“[So] in the context of the story 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. He’s running for his life and he’s trying to clear his name, not quite unlike the structure of Enemy of the State. So imagine Enemy of the State, if Will Smith had the brains of MacGyver.”

Last month it was revealed that Lee Zlotoff, the creator of MacGyver, is attempting to reboot the TV series, and he’s searching for a female star to take over. The contest, called “The Next MacGyver,” has already begun, with the intent of inspiring a new generation of women to pursue a career in engineering.

Whether that means a big screen MacGyver movie is off the table remains to be seen, but it sounds as though James Wan would still be interested taking a crack at it. His new film, Furious 7, arrives in theaters on April 3, 2015. You can read CraveOnline’s complete interview with the director about the troubled production of Furious 7 and his idea for the future of the Saw franchise, next week.


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.