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MacGyver Online Forums > Backstage > Message from Rick Drew

Posted by: MacGyverGod 15 October 2019 - 12:44 AM
On the page on Facebook Rick Drew wrote following message.

"You fans probably know that Dana Elcar lost his vision towards the end of his time on the show. At first, he managed to hide it - even though he could not read, his wife read the scripts out loud to him and he memorized his part that way. He was such a pro that we only started to worry when he would miss his camera mark (if an actor is not where they need to be, they go out of focus).

Finally, he told the producers what he was dealing with. He tried to hide it at first because he didn't want to leave the show. Of course, the reaction of the producers was, "Don't worry, we'll just have Pete dealing with the same thing you are." It enriched the show and gave Dana something he related to on the show.

The last time I spoke with Dana was on the phone. He had just come in from horseback riding with his daughter - her horse had a bell on it and his horse was trained to follow the sound! Nothing stopped him. Dana had just finished directing a play at his local theatre. A total pro and a wonderful person to work with."

Posted by: MacGyverGod 11 November 2019 - 02:51 AM
Here's another message from Rick Drew on the MacGyver Fan Club.

There's an insight on his work from The Wall and Easy Target and on Maria Romburg.

"I don't know if anyone is interested in this, but I will share it nonetheless...

Given the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has been in the news this weekend, I am reminded of the last MacGyver episode I wrote - THE WALL.

I was inspired by conversations I had with some elderly German friends who were children during WWII but escaped Germany shortly after it ended. With the fall of the Soviet Union and East Germany, they were able to visit relatives and reclaim family property that had been seized by the Russians after the war.

I recall thinking that freedom came to the East with the fall of the wall - then thought, but what got OUT? Research lead me
to consider what agents active in the West would do after their support system collapsed. While I was researching Stassi agents,

I contacted the notorious Watergate criminal, G Gordon Liddy for his expertise. Liddy is a fascinating figure, having been in
both the CIA and the FBI. We had used him as an actor, and I had based the idea of terrorists using an EMP Generator in EASY TARGET on a science article he wrote, so we were already on speaking terms. He's a very intelligent guy with a wicked sense of humour. When I asked him how a Stassi agent would kill someone silently without a weapon, Liddy had a chilling number of ideas!

I got the idea of the toy soldiers being made of smuggled gold while visiting a toy museum in London - the old classic soldiers were made of lead... heavy enough mask being made of gold.

The character of the granddaughter, Maria was challenging. We went back and forth a lot about if she was really who she claimed to be or a Stassi imposter. We didn't agree and left it somewhat ambiguous during the writing process.

We added the notion that she might work at The Pheonix Foundation because, depending on the casting, it might be interesting to use the character in the future. I didn't like the idea - I preferred the notion that she really was who she claimed to be, but had been manipulated and brainwashed by the Soviets.

I wanted to leave hope that her Grandfather could help her rediscover her true self. But when you're a writer for hire, you don't have 100% control of how things go - even if you make the changes yourself!"

He also thought having Maria as a love interest was a bad idea and didn't want to see her after The Wall either.

"I think it was a bad idea. I guess she was meant to be kind of a dangerous "femme fatale" given the ambiguity about who she really was or not. In general, no love interests for MacGyver worked with fans, going back to NIki, and to a lesser degree, Penny who was more like a little sister Fans (the female ones) wanted him to be unattached and 'available'. Plus, he was not that kind of character. RDA was obviously attractive to female fans but the appeal of the character was not as a sex symbol. MacGyver was a free spirit in every way, which transcends sex appeal in an old fashioned way. I don't think anyone wanted to see him in bed with a girlfriend - he was more than that."

"I had left the show at the end of season 5 and was only freelancing the script by then. I think it also had to do with the actress and her chemistry with RDA - which was zip! It didn't help that we made her character 'mysterious' to the point of being unworthy of him or his trust. The character I created was never intended to have a life after the episode."

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