Thanks to my lovely friend Kaci, I have this photoshoot from ATX TV Festival in HQ.
Move over Mel Gibson, there’s a new Riggs in town.
TV LINE – Fox’s upcoming Lethal Weapon series, based on the ’80s movie franchise of the same name, stars Clayne Crawford (Rectify) as Martin Riggs and Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids) as Roger Murtaugh. The drama, which follows an unconventional cop with a death wish (Riggs) after he is partnered with a high-strung, traditional detective and family man (Murtaugh), is set to premiere Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 8/7c.
Crawford recently talked to TVLine about what fans can expect from the new show (and what The Avengers might have to do with it), crazy stunts and more.
HIS NAME IS NO | Alabama native Crawford says he initially turned down the role many times, namely because it was a remake that didn’t “leave time for a lot of fishing and horseback riding.” But after he read the script… “It starts with Matt Miller (Forever). He wrote a great script… I started reading this thing and I’m like, ‘F—k, how do I say no?’ [Riggs is] broken. I love playing broken people, but he’s also a badass, and I really like being a badass,” he explains. The idea of bringing something fresh to the character also sparked his interest. “I thought there was a real challenge, like there is when you do theater, playing these roles that we’ve seen people play a 100 times and bringing something new to it,” he says. “This obviously is not [King] Lear, but I was like ‘What can I do differently with Riggs, that Mel Gibson didn’t do?’”
A NEW BROMANCE TO ROOT FOR | Crawford and Wayans’ very watchable chemistry means “there’s going to be a lot of shenanigans,” Crawford says. “I think the beauty is, Damon and I really like one other and the banter’s easy, because he’s a f—king pro.” While trouble-making pair is going to find themselves in a lot of sticky situations throughout the season, there will not be a lack of laughs. “I think the whole goal is to bring comedy, drama and action, [like] The Avengers. I just need a cape,” Crawford jokes.
LOVE IS IN THE AIR | In the series premiere, we learn Riggs has a late wife, but will the eccentric cop find love again during the course of the series? “I think at some point they’re going to try to incorporate some kind of love interest… And it would be crazy if it was Jordana [Brewster],” he teased about his character’s relationship with Dr. Maureen “Mo” Cahill, played by the Dallas/Fast and the Furious actress.
STUNTS, STUNTS, STUNTS | Car chases, shootouts and explosions, oh my! If the first episode, which features stunts like Riggs jumping from one speeding car to another, is any indication, Lethal Weapon will be full of action and Crawford is up for the challenge. “Warner Bros. would not allow me to make the jump [off of the car onto the ground]… but everything else, 100 percent me,” he says. —Reporting by Kimberly Roots
COMING SOON – Beginning Sept. 21, Wednesdays are explosive, with the series premiere of Lethal Weapon and the return of Empire. Based on the hit movie franchise of the same name, Lethal Weapon (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT of FOX) follows iconic cop duo Riggs (Clayne Crawford, “Rectify”) and Murtaugh (Emmy Award nominee Damon Wayans, Sr., “My Wife and Kids,” “In Living Color”), as they work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day Los Angeles.
“It’s such a fun little, fun show, I’m excited to share it with the people and try to get a response,” Clayne Crawford, staring as Martin Riggs, said.
Fans on hand for the pilot premiere gave a great response during a viewing on Sunday. Crawford along with co-star Damon Wayans had the difficult task of reprising the lead roles of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh.
“You can’t take on a role based on what someone else did I think that’s the challenge as an actor. ‘what can I bring to this?’ Crawford said.
“How could we recreated characters from that took the spirit of the original, iconic characters and make them their own?” Jennifer Gwartz, the executive producer of the show, said, “Most people who have seen the pilot have said it looks like a movie, I think we’ve delivered on those expectations.”
“It’s Lethal Weapon like a PG version so it’s a version that the whole family can enjoy.” Crawford said, “I think show is going to bring all of the dynamics that we love from Lethal Weapon, which is this relationship between these two guys that are so different, but the common thread is they are both broken. So with that they are kind of tethered to one another so you’ve got this tug of war between these two guys, and that’s where the comedy comes in. But it also lends itself to a lot of heart and of course we are going to make stuff go boom.”
Lethal Weapon will air on Wednesday’s at 7 P.M. central time on FOX.
INDEPENDENT – Back in 2013, a small TV show crawled onto US screens airing a modest debut season of six episodes. It returned for two more instalments in 2014 and 2015 with the show’s final episodes due later this year. It’s in this way that the series will bow out, not unlike a mouse in the corner of the room you never knew was there.
The show is Rectify. Developed by writer-director Ray McKinnon, the drama provided cable channel SundanceTV with its first original drama that may just be America’s best.
One read of the premise lures you in: Daniel Holden (Aden Young), imprisoned as a teenager for the rape and murder of a young girl, spends 19 years on death row before fresh DNA evidence throws the verdict into question. His release and ensuing assimilation back into society, however, won’t be easy; many of the townsfolk are convinced he’s guilty.
Early episodes are scattered with flashbacks serving as metaphorical open windows into Holden’s time behind bars which ultimately serve to combat his (silent) expression of innocence. They yank you back as you teeter on the precipice of making a decision regarding his potential guilt.
Crucially, this never becomes the show’s pull – instead, Rectify is intent on telling the story of a man forced to readjust to a freedom he never thought he’d be granted; it’s this that injects the series with an emotional heft.
It helps that Holden’s character is held up by Young, a staggeringly great Canadian-Australian actor whose most prominent film credit is extraordinarily the abysmal I, Frankenstein. The remainder of the ensemble is clearly relishing every second also: J. Smith-Cameron as Daniel’s long-suffering mother, Janet; Abigail Spencer as his bolshie sister, Amantha; and Luke Kirby as his kindly lawyer, Jon to pinpoint a few.
DIGITAL SPY – “If you don’t like extraordinary television, it’s not for you.”
Digital Spy put the question to lead actor Aden Young: if someone hasn’t watched Rectify before, why should they tune in now?
His answer may surprise you – but it’ll certainly leave you itching to binge the entire series!
Clayne Crawford – soon to be seen playing Riggs in Fox’s Lethal Weapon TV series – also recalls the first time he read the pilot script for Rectify in DS’s exclusive clip.
The award-winning Rectify tells the story of Daniel Holden (Young) – imprisoned as a teenager for the rape and murder of his 16-year-old girlfriend, Hanna.
After spending 19 years on death row, new DNA evidence vacates his original trial and Daniel must adjust to life back on the outside.
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.