INVERSE – You might be inclined to dismiss FOX’s ‘Lethal Weapon.’ But this upcoming series may be the perfect complement to Murtaugh and Riggs’ adventures.
Last week, FOX revealed its upcoming lineup for the 2016-2017 fall season alongside trailers for some of its newest series. Among a slew of potential hits and misses, it was a reboot of a decades old action series that floated to the top of conversation. Already considered a divisive decision on the part of the network, the upcoming Lethal Weapon series has still managed to resonate with potential fans.
First announced back in February, the series will pair TV comedy icon Damon Wayans Sr, as detective and family man Roger Murtaugh, with Clayne Crawford, as suicidal brooder with a badge Martin Riggs. If you’re one of the people who watched the above trailer and felt yourself getting a little excited for this freshman show, trust your gut. At the moment, all signs point to Lethal Weapon being one of the most enjoyable new series of 2016.
FOX is Super Into It
It probably won’t come as a surprise to find out that Lethal Weapons parent network, FOX, is extremely hyped on the show, perhaps even more than they are for any show in their freshman slate. As the Hollywood Reporter pointed out:
“If airtime on the press call is any indication of what the Fox execs are most excited about, Lethal Weapon is the new series to watch. Walden described the reboot … as ‘muscular,’ ‘high-octane’ and ‘very broadly appealing,’ noting at one point that director McG and writer-producer Matt Miller ‘delivered exactly what we wanted.’”
Don’t get dissuaded by buzz words like “very broadly appealing,” either, because those words pretty accurately describe the entire movie series from its first entry.
‘Lethal Weapon’ Lends Itself To a Series
Here is the plot of every single Lethal Weapon film: some fella and his gang of assholes do some evil shit which pops up on the radar of forever-detectives Martin Riggs and Richard Murtaugh. Through the natural course of their job — which they take very seriously — the two men shoot their way through a variety of situations making jokes about how crazy Riggs is and how reluctant Roger is until someone coughs up the bad guy’s name in between mouthfuls of blood. More shooting mixed in with some brotherly bonding, roll credits.
THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS -Fans of Sundance TV’s simmering Southern Gothic saga Rectify will be champing at the bit to see what happens in the upcoming fourth season. For the time being however they’ll no doubt console themselves with the home entertainment release of Season 3. The show stars Aden Young as the wrongly-convicted Daniel Holden, whose return to his home community pricks the web of family secrets which form the core of this highly-acclaimed drama.
One of its most memorable characters is Daniel’s tortured step brother Teddy, played by Clayne Crawford. Crawford has earned plaudits for his portrayal of the complex clan member and if you don’t know his name, you may well do by the time the year is out: he’s also been cast as the new Martin Riggs in Fox’s small screen reimagining of Lethal Weapon.
We got on the phone with Crawford for a frank conversation about working in an intense environment and his thoughts on taking over from Mel Gibson…
For the benefit of people who might be thinking of jumping aboard, how would you sum up the premise and the journey your character Teddy’s been on so far?
Goodness! The show is an in-depth exploration of family, and certainly a family that is captured in time, in that moment when Daniel comes back into the picture. I think it places a dark cloud over this family. We observe these people trying to navigate one another, with Daniel and the situation and the town. I think that lends itself to great drama and suspense.
As far as Teddy goes, you know… poor Teddy! He’s just a mess isn’t he? So vulnerable, so insecure, so self aware, so concerned with others’ perceptions of him. Exhausting to play, but extremely rewarding at the same time. I love Teddy, I feel for him. I just want to give him a hug.
What’s been the most difficult aspect of that character to play over the past three years?
Look, Teddy is everything we don’t wanna be. Right? We as human beings spend our entire lives either trying to correct or trying to hide things. And Teddy is just a fucking open wound at all times, clinging onto the edge of a cliff which is his reality, and just trying to hold onto everything that he loves because at the end of the day he’s a little boy that never had enough love. He lost his mother at a young age, his father was never really a part of his life. His father now meets this new woman who has other children, his step sister hates him, he has a step brother who is in prison who he doesn’t know and doesn’t understand. And then as soon as he’s started to find his way this new Mom has a new child, the new baby is a distraction and Teddy again is left in the cold. I think he’s desperately looking for love and companionship and just to have something because he’s never had anything.
He desperately tries to do everything that he feels is right… even in the first season, bringing Daniel the pornography magazine. That was an olive branch! That was Teddy’s way of saying “Hey, welcome to the family, I want us to get along.” And it’s always taken the wrong way. So I see Teddy as someone who’s extremely broken, and used his perfect hair and his perfect clothes and his big red truck and all these things as a distraction from who he is, which is a sad little boy.
UPROXX – Surefire Hit — No show on the new Fox schedule is likely to become another Empire-sized hit, but brand recognition, a good cast (Damon Wayans and Rectify‘s Clayne Crawford) and a compelling trailer make Lethal Weapon worth a look. Crawford is fantastic in the trailer, and if the show can inject some interesting serial storylines around the staid procedural formula, it could work.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (1) – And I think Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans work, so I think Lethal Weapon has a chance to work. And remember that in order to work, Lethal Weapon doesn’t have to be as good as the first two movies in the franchise, but it should try to be better than the last two. Crawford and Wayans look to play off of each other well and the clips didn’t pander to the brand or to “I’m too old for this shit” catchphrases. This could end up just being Fox’s version of CBS’ version of Rush Hour, but I’m fooling myself into believing it’ll be something better.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (2) – Yeah, it’s a reboot — and the last thing Hollywood needs is another unoriginal idea. But the Warner Bros. TV-produced drama was showered with praise by Fox TV Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman from the Beacon Theatre stage, and backed up privately by several others who have screened the pilot. Much is being made of star Clayne Crawford (Rectify), an eleventh-hour find who’s moving with his family from Alabama to Los Angeles for the role. In fact, he’s said to be Warner Bros. TV’s highest-testing character ever. Additionally, the pilot was the year’s highest-testing drama at the network, which will pair it with juggernaut Empire on Wednesdays.
EW – Fox has given series orders to dramas Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist, A.P.B. and Pitch, as well as comedies Making History and The Mick.
In Lethal Weapon, when Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans, Sr.), who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life. Matt Miller will write and executive-produce with Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz, and McG. Keesha Sharp, Jordana Brewster, and Kevin Rahm will also star.
The new series join the previously ordered 24: Legacy and Star. More details here.
Check out all the pilots in contention here.
DEADLINE – Rectify alum Clayne Crawford is set as the co-lead opposite Damon Wayans Sr. in Lethal Weapon, Fox’s hourlong pilot based on the hit movie franchise. Crawford will play Martin Riggs — the character played by Mel Gibson in the buddy cop action comedy features — to Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh (originally played by Danny Glover).
In the pilot, written by Matt Miller and directed by McG, when Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he is partnered with LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid stress in his life.
Miller, McG, Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz executive produce the pilot for Warner Bros. TV and Lin Pictures.
In addition to his co-starring role on Rectify, which is wrapping its four-season run on SundanceTV, Crawford did stints on 24, Rogue and The Glades. He will be seen in Legendary Pictures’ supernatural thriller Spectral. Crawford is repped by APA.
I’ll be posting some video clips over the next few weeks. I don’t want to post all of Clayne’s scenes until people have a chance to watch it themselves first!
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