Pulling Every Stunt In The Book


A stunt from “Serenity”

“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.”

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.”

Richard Dean Anderson with
Vince Deadrick Jr. (center)
and Steve Blalock (right)

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.”


The Hollywood Reporter. March 5, 1990: p.S-1 to S-24.



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