Sad news folks. Mel Gibson has walked away from â€œLethal Weapon 5â€ â€“ not that it was ever really a lock in the first place (Gibson wanted to see the script before he agreed to anything â€“ we knew that from the start). Still, itâ€™s crushing â€“ the series couldâ€™ve gone out with a bang- and knowing that Shane Black was the writer, it most definitely wouldâ€™ve. Not now. No, now, itâ€™s conclusion will be forever tied to â€˜the one where they had a babyâ€™â€¦ the nauseating â€œLethal Weapon 4â€.
As of last week, a â€œLethal Weapon 5â€ was supposedly being fast-tracked at Warner Bros with Producer Joel Silver going so far as to begin casting some of the secondary roles (Columbus Short had been recruited to play Martaughâ€™s son). Shane Black, who wrote the also wrote the first film, was all but signed on to direct.
According to Richard Donner, director of the first four â€œLethal Weaponâ€ films, Gibson has passed on the project. The filmmaker would like to think itâ€™s because he wasnâ€™t involved.
â€˜â€™Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would beâ€, the veteran filmmaker told The L.A Times.
Donner, who came up with his own â€œLethal Weapon 5â€ idea at one stage, is as probably as proud as punch that the film has fallen apart â€“ after all, he was ousted from the franchise he helped create.
A few years back Donner presented Warner Bros â€“ and Iâ€™m guessing Gibson â€“ with an outline for a fifth film. Taking a page out of Jack Bauerâ€™s book, the movie would be set over the course of 24-hours.
The studio didnâ€™t bite. Donner knows why â€“ and it has nothing to do with the idea.
“Joel Silver tried to ace me out of it. He tried to put it together but made sure he didn’t do it until my contract was up. You know, it’s typical of the man. A guy who wasn’t even around at the beginning when we started on the first one. He came in late.”
“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.”
Hopefully Warners reads the article â€“ Iâ€™m sure they will â€“ and reluctantly asks Donner to helm the fifth film. That way, just maybe, Gibson may consider strapping on the mulletâ€¦ just one last time.I know, I can’t believe I’m all for a “Lethal Weapon 5″ either – but I think the series needs to go out on a high note, a’la “Rocky Balboa”.