Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over material about the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot, filmed in Spring 2016. I have written about it before in various blog posts, but usually only a bit here and there. I’m trying to put all the necessary information together for interested readers – especially since many of you accidentally landed on my blog after looking for information about it by using search engines.
(Note: If there’s no link to the photos I’m writing about, that means either the account has been set to private / been disabled or the photo has been deleted from social media.)
Hunting for Treasure
The Unaired Pilot was filmed in April and May 2016. Because of the lack of info due to the secrecy surrounding most pilot projects plus the misinformation about the filming initially happening in Portland, we had missed practically the whole filming process.
It wasn’t until around mid-April that I found the first photos on Twitter – that were soon deleted again after bringing them over to the MacGyverOnline Reboot forums. (Note: It’s been clear that for several weeks, people involved in the production have been perusing the forums; making sure to delete the source material. The same is happening at the moment in the reboot-related threads over at Magnum Mania.)
Of course, it’s a lot more difficult to find more material when filming is already over. Also, in my naivety I never took a screenshot of the IMDb page; assuming it would stay up as it’s own project once filming is done (regardless if the pilot would be picked up as a series or not). Instead, they transferred the page; adding the rebooted pilot cast and crew while deleting others. This made it tricky to sort out who had been involved in the Unaired Pilot project and who hadn’t and to find related social media accounts to check for more material.
The first few pictures were provided by “MJ London” and showed a variety of different locations. The photos disappeared pretty fast and even the Twitter account soon wasn’t valid anymore. It’s possible the photos had been uploaded by Meg London-Boche (personal assistant to director David Von Ancken), but I guess we’ll never know.
The first photos provided us a look at the “bad guys” and at the new production logo – which was pretty well received by Original fans.
Meg London-Boche would later provide an “official” photo of the logo on her official social media accounts, confirming that filming had begun on March 30. (Both her Twitter and Instagram profile are set to private now, so I can’t provide you with the links to the pictures.)
Most of MJ London’s photos had been taken while filming the last few scenes for production in and around a cave near Griffith Park in LA; also known as the “Batman Cave”. One photo was taken while filming inside Hawthorne Plaza, an abandoned shopping mall. (FunFact: The pilot episode of Rush Hour with Justin Hires had also been filming there – I immediately recognized the location when watching the episode.)
The scene filmed in the shopping mall is prominently featured in the Teaser Trailer that was released at the CBS Upfronts in May 2016. We later got more photos of the overturned car via Clint Buckner and Natty D.
Although Hawthorne Plaza is locked up for the public, there are hundreds of photos on social media; uploaded by people who like to visit “abandoned places”. Some people also illegaly shoot material for music videos or film themselves exploring the location (often on a skateboard).
Some crew people provided photos while they were filming; e.g. hairstylist Kristine Tack (stating it was very dusty) or security guy Michael Alexander. If you look closely at Kristine Tack’s BtS photo, you can see Lucas Till (or his stunt double) standing on top of the stairs. She also revealed that they had actually set off the sprinkler system during one of the explosions.
Otherwise, I don’t know much about the locations used for filming. The only official location address provided was 2632 E. Washington Bl, Pasadena; adding the info that George Eads had been filming scenes there on April 8 (2016). The building residing there is the former St Luke’s Medical Center. Other shows and movies using this location include “Rush Hour 3”, “Kill Bill” or CBS shows like “CSI” and “Criminal Minds”.
Another location used – found with the help of Google – was an empty office building on 5551 East Katella Blvd in Cypress (California). The building can be seen in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer and also in one of the Official Stills. According to Jeremy Schonwald, it used to be a toy company’s headquarters and is mainly used as a filming location now.
For the Unaired Pilot, they put a “K” onto the atrium floor, probably symbolizing the company’s logo (it stands for “Kresson”). If you’re interested in this location, you can find 171 pictures of the interior including offices and bathrooms (and find the contact address to rent the property) here.
The Production Office
It was difficult to find anything on Pre- or Post-Production. We got a few production signs photos with the red logo on an almost neon yellow background. The shorthand direction signs spelled “MAC” (which was later changed to EYE for filming in Atlanta; probably because CBS uses an eye-sign for their logo).
Kristine Tack revealed what they used as “bathroom humour” in the production office bathroom.
Cast member Anita Kalathara provided a look at the yellow revision script title page – sadly, we don’t know anything about her role as “Neha” and if she was MacGyver’s friend or foe. Contrary to the rebooted Pilot Script (The Rising) written by Peter Lenkov that is circulating around, the script for the Unaired Pilot seems to be a well-hidden treasure.