PULLING EVERY STUNT IN THE BOOK
"It's a stuntman's dream," says Vince Deadrick Jr., stunt
coordinator for "MacGyver." "We've rolled cars, set guys on fire,
done over 100-foot-high falls, a lot of horse work, a lot of fights,
car hits - just about everything in the book. It's not a violent
show, but it's got fun action in it that requires a lot of special
skills. We've done parachuting and guys getting hit with bullets
while hang-gliding and crashing to the ground. And everybody walks
away. Nobody has spent the night in the hospital on this show. We've
got a good record -- one of the best in episodic."
A stunt from "Serenity"
Deadrick has been coordinating stunts for the series since the
beginning. Though Richard Dean Anderson has virtually his mirror
image in stunt-double Steve Blalock, the star has always preferred
to do his own stunts. And that's caused a little friction over the
years. "The first season, Rick and I would fight verbally because he
wanted to do everything," Deadrick recalls smiling. "Anything could
happen, so I had to put the reins on him and just say no. But he
still does quite a bit. We did a western show recently in Calgary
and Rick had to do some heavy galloping. He's excellent on
horseback." Deadrick did the stunt work on "Jewel of the Nile" and
"Romancing the Stone," doubling for Michael Douglas. But he gives
Anderson his highest marks. "I've done over 400 shows and Rick is
the best I've worked with."
According to Deadrick, the toughest part of every episode is the
organization, making everything run smoothly during the breakneck
eight-day shooting schedule. Unlike other action-adventure series,
"MacGyver" requires up to three planning meetings before each show
begins shooting. "The show is tough because it demands perfection,"
Deadrick says. In the "Goldrush" episode, MacGyver and a female
guest star used an airplane cargo door loaded down with gold bars as
a sled. The characters slid down an ice tunnel, crashed through an
ice wall, careened down a mountain and jumped off just before it hit
a stand of fir trees. "We had every department in the world working
on that - special effects, art, construction - everything. We all
had to keep our heads together to make it work. If one department
loses track or the communication line is broken, the stunt is not
pulled off. Fortunately, we've been lucky. We've got a pretty
well-greased machine now."
Richard Dean Anderson with
Vince Deadrick Jr. (center)
and Steve Blalock (right)
The Hollywood Reporter. March 5, 1990: p.S-1 to S-24.