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James Wan Will Direct MacGyver

The director of Insidious and Saw is expected to build his own cameras out of paper clips and Skittles.


Somewhere in Springfield, Patty and Selma Bouvier just fainted. Because as of now, the long in-development motion picture adaptation of "MacGyver," the hit ABC TV series that ran from 1985 to 1992, is closer than ever to becoming a reality.

James Wan is currently in talks to direct MacGyver for New Line Cinema, according to a report in Variety. The film has been written by Jason Richman (Bangkok Dangerous) with rewrites by Brian & Mark Gunn (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island). If the "Gunn" name sounds familiar, that's because Brian Gunn is the brother of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, and Mark Gunn is their cousin. The storyline is unknown, but is expected to be a reasonably faithful adaptation of the original series, which starred Richard Dean Anderson ("Stargate: SG-1") as a secret agent who preferred using his scientific knowhow, usually combined with common household objects, to firearms. For example, he MacGyver used a butane tank as a makeshift torpedo and used a bicycle tire as a slingshot. 

The film would be the first mainstream action movie for Wan, who is best known for directing horror films like the original Saw, Insidious and the upcoming haunted house movie The Conjuring, also for New Line Cinema. He also directed the Death Wish-like Death Sentence, starring Kevin Bacon as a dangerous vigilante. The tone of the original "MacGyver" is decidedly unlike any major work in Wan's oeuvre, and the feature film adaptation could represent a major shift in his career trajectory, provided it makes more money than the "MacGyver" parody MacGruber, which was unable to recuperate its meager $10 million budget at the box office.

Does Wan have a PG-13 action movie in him? Will contemporary audiences take MacGyver seriously? And is there any chance that the new MacGyver could face off against the Rube Goldberg villain Jigsaw, who seems tailor-made to be the makeshift hero's arch-nemesis? The answers are "probably yes," "maybe" and "almost definitely not."


Follow William Bibbiani on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.