ESQUIRE – The Lethal Weapon star talks about creating a new version of the character on the TV reboot.
If Clayne Crawford is known to television audiences at all its for his work on Rectify, the bet-you-can’t-watch-just-one SundanceTV family drama where tensions are slowly popping up from below the surface like a just-baked apple pie. There, he plays Teddy, an honors graduate from the Pete Campbell School for Irritating Douchbags who is not as over the moon as other family members that his stepbrother Daniel (Aden Young) has been released from Death Row.
This all might change for Crawford, as he is now starring in Fox’s televised reboot of Lethal Weapon. Premiering September 21, Crawford plays Martin Riggs, the reckless and brilliant cop with an actual death wish who was made famous by Mel Gibson in the 1987 action movie. (Damon Wayans Sr. plays the Danny Glover part).
In real life, Crawford is much the old-school Southern gentleman who lives with his family on a farm in Alabama. He was late for his phone interview with Esquire because he was talking to his grandfather. “The VA just gave him new hearing aids,” he apologized. “He was extremely excited that he could hear me and we could have a conversation. Wrapping that up was not an option.”
He also talked about the end of Rectify, which begins its final season on October 26, and the requirements for his new show (read: fame, car chases, and nude scenes).
Lethal Weapon’s Riggs is very different part from Rectify’s Teddy. What interested you in it?
Clayne has finally officially joined Twitter – Verified and everything! Follow @ClayneCrawford! And follow his new show and costars as well: @LethalWeaponFox, @DamonkWayans, @JordanaBrewster, @ChandlerLKinney , @JthanPrime, @keeshasharp, or follow this list: @LethalWeaponFox – Cast and Crew List.
EW – The Lethal Weapon franchise is known for its buddy cop shenanigans, explosive action, and a profane catch phrase about the indignities of aging. But Fox’s new small-screen reboot — starring Clayne Crawford as loose cannon Riggs and Damon Wayans as straight arrow Murtaugh — also has an undercurrent of melancholy.
In a recent video interview with EW, several cast members opened up about the series, with the help of some randomly selected keywords. Believe it or not, one of the most apt was heartbreak.
“It is heartbreaking at times, and I think that’s what makes the show fun,” Crawford said. “Obviously there’s stuff that goes boom, and there’s funny antics [but] we try to ground it in as much truth [as possible], and sometimes that can be extremely heartbreaking.”
TV INSIDER – As far as film-to-TV adaptations go, recent history includes the great (Fargo!) and the not-so-great (sorry, Rush Hour). But network execs aren’t stopping the remake train anytime soon, since familiar titles often bring built-in audiences.
First up this fall: Fox’s Lethal Weapon. Based on the iconic 1987 action movie starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, the small-screen reboot takes its own spin on what happens when by-the-book detective Roger Murtaugh (now played by My Wife and Kids’ Damon Wayans) teams with loose-cannon cop Martin Riggs (Rectify’s Clayne Crawford). “There’s a tremendous difference between these two guys,” says executive producer Matt Miller (Forever, The 100) of the bickering partners. “But like with any good relationship, the chemistry comes exactly because they don’t have the same characteristics.”
Another big difference: the level of violence in today’s world compared to the 1980s, when the film came out. But how do you go about making a crime drama responsibly without softening the fight between good and evil on the streets of Los Angeles? Fox chairman Dana Walden has said the network is conscious of keeping the violence in context. (To start, they removed guns from the show’s promotional poster.)
Just don’t assume that this Lethal Weapon will be a tame one. Expect action sequences that are beyond your typical cop drama, says Miller. In the pilot, for example, Murtaugh and Riggs end up in a high-speed chase that collides with an in-progress Grand Prix race on an actual Southern California track. “We were trying to figure out a way to create something nobody had seen before,” he says. Mission accomplished. Wayans and Crawford filled us in on tackling those wild action scenes as well as crafting what they hope will be TV’s next best odd couple.
What did you both think when you initially heard about the project? Any reservations?
Wayans: I went in to pitch Peter Roth, the head of Warner Bros. Television, a sitcom. And he said, “Before you pitch, let me throw out two words: Lethal Weapon.” So I put my idea on the back burner and said, “Send me the script.” I read it and just loved it. Then I met with producer Matt Miller and he told me how wonderful I was and that Sinbad had passed and would I do it? I thought Matt was really charming and had a very clever take on not just the stories but the characters.
Crawford: I didn’t want to know anything more about the project when I first heard…and then I read the material. Matt Miller did such a wonderful job with the script—it was a nice tribute to what [original screenwriter] Shane Black created so many years ago. It honored the movie without mimicking it, and I thought that was really, really special.
MY SA – BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It isn’t easy following Mel Gibson.
However, TV’s “Lethal Weapon” star is doing his best to make Gibson’s volatile police detective Martin Riggs his own by giving him an authentic Texas flavor.
Actor Clayne Crawford doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration. He said his wife is a native Texan and her family lives in the Hill Country.
He shared the info after “Lethal Weapon’s” writer/creator Matt Miller told TV critics how he was distinguishing the series’ cop character from Gibson’s of the ’80 and ’90s films.
“(The show is) putting Riggs in Texas so that maybe he would have a little bit of a drawl or a lilt to his speech, something that would distinguish him a little bit from the way that Mel played the role,” Miller said at a Fox press session this week.
Pressed for more details on the character, Miller said Riggs is from El Paso.
“We wanted him to be closer to the border and the drug trade,” Miller said, adding his investigations into these crimes eventually spread to the California-Mexico border.
FOX AND ROOFTOP CINEMA CLUB HOST ADVANCE SCREENINGS OF NEW SERIES “LETHAL WEAPON” AND “PITCH”
FOX is teaming up with outdoor cinema specialists Rooftop Cinema Club to screen LETHAL WEAPON and PITCH during special FREE advance screening nights in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
Join us for these exclusive FREE ticketed screenings, enjoy amazing rooftop views at sunset, share your reactions to the screenings using #LethalWeapon, #Pitch and #RooftopCinemaClub, and get sneak peeks at trailers for other FOX programming, including THE EXORCIST, SON OF ZORN and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW…
…Then, on the way out, pick up some cool FOX swag!
For more information and to reserve tickets, please visit:http://rooftopcinemaclub.com/
- Friday, Aug. 19: YOTEL New York in Manhattan; Doors open at 7:00 PM, Screenings Begin at 8:00 PM; Champagne and Popcorn Included.
- Tickets: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/shop/index.php/fox-presents-pitch-lethal
- Sunday, Aug. 21: OfficeOps in Bushwick, Brooklyn; Doors open at 7:00 PM, Screenings Begin at 8:00 PM; BYOB and Concessions Available for Purchase (Must be +21 to Enter this Location).
- Tickets: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/shop/index.php/fox-presents-pitch-lethal-brooklyn
- Sunday, Aug. 21: The Montalban in LA; Doors open at 7:00 PM, Screenings Begin at 8:00 PM; Concessions Available for Purchase.
- Tickets: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/shop/index.php/fox-presents-pitch-lethal-brooklyn-la
LETHAL WEAPON Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 8/7c and
PITCH Premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9/8c on FOX
OFFICIAL “LETHAL WEAPON” SOCIAL INFORMATION: FACEBOOK: facebook.com/LethalWeaponFOX INSTAGRAM: @LethalWeaponFOX TWITTER: @LethalWeaponFOX JOIN THE DISCUSSION: #LethalWeapon
OFFICIAL “PITCH” SOCIAL INFORMATION: FACEBOOK: facebook.com/pitchonfox INSTAGRAM: @PITCHonFOX TWITTER: @PITCHonFOX JOIN THE DISCUSSION: #Pitch
OFFICIAL ROOFTOP CINEMA CLUB SOCIAL INFORMATION: INSTAGRAM: @RooftopFilmClub TWITTER: @RooftopFilmClub JOIN THE DISCUSSION: #RooftopCinemaClub.