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Mel Gibson Ditches Lethal Weapon 5, Leaves it Dead in the Water

by
October 13, 2008
Source: LA Times

Lethal Weapon

One of the movies on the reboot slate that has gained quite of bit attention is Lethal Weapon 5. First, it was confirmed that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang screenwriter Shane Black had written the script, then it was confirmed that Columbus Short was attached to star and that Warner Brothers was fast tracking the project. But an update today from director Richard Donner over at the LA Times kills any more speculation about its progress in the studio. Donner claims that "Mel turned it down." He's talking about Mel Gibson, who plays Officer Riggs and is the same actor that Donner directed in all four Lethal Weapon movies in addition to Conspiracy Theory and Maverick. Without Mel Gibson, this probably won't happen at all, right?

Donner explains that the problem is WB ended up choosing Joel Silver to produce the project instead of him. And in turn, Gibson didn't take an interest without him. "I would like to think that Mel turned it down because I wasn't involved. Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would be." I don't presume to know Richard Donner or Mel Gibson, but that sounds a bit pretentious. Donner adds: "It's too bad, actually, because Channing Gibson, who wrote the fourth one, and Mike Riva, a designer on three of them, and myself and Derek [Hoffman, an associate at The Donner Company] had an incredibly strong story for the fifth movie. But we weren't given the opportunity and I think maybe I could have convinced Mel to do it. But Warners chose to go with Joel Silver."

So the plot thickens. And what does Donner say of the project on a whole now? "Yes, the project is pretty much dead in the water unless someone had the sense to come to me." Every other journalist seems to be reporting this news only as Gibson leaving, with hope that it'll still get made. So who knows? There's a lot more that Donner says if you're curious to read it over at the LA Times. Despite this reboot has received quite a bit of attention, it wasn't necessarily positive buzz. We've already seen four Lethal Weapon movies, with the last one being a good finale, so why make a fifth one? Is this really the "right time" to go back and revisit that franchise? Would anyone even want to see another one without Mel Gibson?

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  • Dave Lister, J.M.C.
    If it is dead, it's probably just as well.
  • http://www.digitalcamcorderredux.com TeresaRedux
    It's all about Gibson and Glover back together again. If that can't be done, count me out.
  • toyBunny
    I've been a fan of the franchise from the beginning. I'm not going to go into why it's good or why it's bad, all I know is that it is always fun for me to watch the dynamic relationship of Riggs and Mertaugh (sp?). True, each movie is a weaker than it's predecessor, but I still find myself smiling and laughing at their antics and I love the action and dramatic sequences that balance them out. I admit, lately they're a bit far fetched and over the top, but hey, if they're fun, who cares? I for one have it in me to watch one more... though I do hope they stop, THINK about it, and then make it and make it a good farewell movie. I do think they can do a better job than the last one.
  • http://woodge.com Woodge
    Does Mel still have a career in front of the camera? Actually, I'd like to see him reprise the Mad Max role. Lethal Weapon should've stopped at 2.
  • Chris
    I'm not sure Lethal Weapon is something that you could 'reset' like Batman, Superman, etc. but I'll not shed a tear if Gibson doesn't grace the big screen with his presence ever again. He's spoiled goods, if you ask me.
  • http://poptimal.com Cameron Cubbison
    "Donner explains that the problem is WB ended up choosing Joel Silver to produce the project instead of him." Uh, no, the problem is that Silver wanted to hire Shane Black to direct instead of Donner, who directed the previous four and was chiefly responsible for the franchise having a consistency in terms of tone, characterization, style, and story. Donner is the reason that those four films work together so seamlessly, unlike most franchises where another creative team does one of the installments and it doesn't mesh. "I would like to think that Mel turned it down because I wasn't involved. Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would be." I don't presume to know Richard Donner or Mel Gibson, but that sounds a bit pretentious." Funny, I never thought of loyalty as being pretentious. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I think loyalty is one of the most important things in life, and in show business it's incredibly rare. Lethal Weapon made Mel Gibson a superstar. Yeah, Mad Max made him famous, but Lethal Weapon made him a superstar. Martin Riggs is still the most iconic character Gibson ever played, it's certainly the best character he ever played in my book. Lethal Weapon is the quintessential buddy action movie. It set a bar 20 years ago that no movie has passed or even equalled. It is the gold standard. The film works because the chemistry between Gibson and Glover is so involving, you really care about them as people and as partners. You're invested in the relationship, so the action scenes are all the more exciting. I love watching that relationship evolve over the course of the films. Some say the later sequels were too light or had script issues, but to me, all four films work as a perfect entity. Richard Donner is truly one of the great directors, and the very notion of him being cut out of the franchise he expertly crafted and shepherded for a dozen years is disgusting. If Donner, Gibson and Glover made Lethal Weapon 26 I would be first in line, but without any one of those three the whole thing falls apart. 4 was the perfect ride into the sunset for Riggs and Murtaugh, and hopefully nothing will get in the way of that. Somebody should beat Joel Silver with a rubber hose.
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/MarTenSaa Mario Tenorio
    If they have an "incredibly strong story" , then why not making it another movie, instead of a sequel? Change the names, the rush hour guys got away with it.
  • bozoconnors
    There was a Lethal Weapon 4?
  • tzarinna
    ^:lol: Yeah, who know? I didn't. Was this idea thrown around after Die Hard's return?
  • joe
    Well done leave it alone.
  • Magnetic
    Sounds interesting, but leave well enough alone. LW4 ended very well...they should leave it at that. If the story is THAT good as Donner is claiming, then roll it into a new cop film. If it's THAT good, it'll stand on its own under a different name with two GOOD different actors...
  • avoidz
    Best news all week.
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    Gibson like the previous commentator said is damaged goods now. I say the next move will be replace the characters with new ones, but who knows. Hopefully it stays dead.
  • Summersex
    Its not Lethal Weapon without Gibson...

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