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.
The pilot shows how a horrific personal tragedy takes him out of the Lone Star State and into California.
Grief-stricken after the sudden and violent loss of his young wife and unborn child, ex-Navy SEAL-turned-detective Riggs relocates to Los Angeles in an effort to start over. He’s paired up with Det. Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover’s character in the movies, who’s played by Damon Wayans here).
He’ll bring plenty of Texas touches with him, however. “You’ll see Riggs in a cowboy hat and boots,” Miller said. “He’s a little bit of a fish out of water in L.A.”
Crawford (Sundance TV’s “Rectify”) may be from Alabama, but he is surrounded by enough Texas folk to draw from for his character — including his wife, who’s originally from Houston.
Moreover, her family now lives right outside of San Antonio, Crawford said, “in that little country town, Bandera.”
“I borrowed her father’s sensibility,” Crawford said of his chief inspiration for his Texas character.
“There’s a wide openness to Texas,” he continued, “part of the state’s personality. Riggs is a 12-year-old trapped in a man’s body.”