Lethal Weapon, Fox
Google the word swagger and you may find an image of Clayne Crawford.
After two seasons as manipulative Ted Talbot, Jr., in SundanceTV’s under-recognized drama Rectify, Crawford tackles Martin Riggs — a character made famous by Mel Gibson in Richard Donner’s 1987 buddy action film, Lethal Weapon, and its three sequels.
What’s more, he makes the familiar part his own. Comparisons may be inevitable, but they’re unnecessary. The story doesn’t differ much from the movie: Riggs is an unpredictable, unstable war hero with a suicidal streak who lost his very pregnant wife in a car accident.
Now, as an L.A. cop, he’s partnered with middle-aged family man Roger Murtaugh (an excellent Damon Wayans), with whom he butts heads, yet grudgingly bonds. Equal parts Marlboro Man and street smartass, Crawford brings a reckless renegade edge to the role, with just enough sulky sex appeal to make him both volatile and vulnerable.
Born and bred in Alabama, he plays Riggs as an all-American casualty with a heart of gold — more Steve McQueen than Mel Gibson. And there’s enough comic banter, generational conflict and macho pride between the two leads to keep this bro-cedural crackling with humor as well as action. And lest we forget, McQueen got his start on television, too.
Note: He has actually been in three season of Rectify with this being the fourth.
EW – Unlike posters for the original movie, the art for the Fox update is gun-free
This is a kindler, gentler Lethal Weapon — at least in the ads.
Though the 1987 movie with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover featured plenty of firepower in the promotional posters, the art for Fox’s revival is surprisingly weapon-free. EW obtained an exclusive first look of the drama’s key art, which shows stars Clayne Crawford (Martin Riggs) and Damon Wayans (Roger Murtaugh) actually smiling — unlike the images from the 1987 movie that showed a deadpan Glover and downright scary Gibson).
At the Television Critics Tour recently, Fox Entertainment Chairman Dana Walden told reporters how their goal is to avoid gratuitous violence in their shows. “Even the artwork you saw of Lethal Weapon, we’re trying to focus on the characters, not on guns, or the violence, in the show,” she said. “You have to hit a balance. They’re trying to create stories that are relevant in this day and age and feel heightened and have life and death stakes and take place in a cop world or in the world of terrorism, it’s hard to imagine that without any violence, so it’s just trying to find the right balance.”
Lethal Weapon, which also stars Jordana Brewster, premieres Sept. 21 on Fox.
Clayne’s wife let me know that Clayne has joined Instagram. Here’s a beautiful picture of him with his daughter at the Teen Choice Awards. I’m gathering the photos from last night as well as the TCA panel from Rectify yesterday. Will post them soon!