TV - Lethal Weapon

The US TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon is coming soon to ITV in the UK. Find out more and watch the trailer...

Acquired from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, the new series, set to start on ITV on Friday 3rd March, is based on the hit movie franchise and tells the story of the classic cop duo Riggs (played by Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh (played by Emmy® nominee Damon Wayans) as they work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day Los Angeles.

Family man and by-the-book LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh is back to work after a near fatal heart attack – and his doctor has told him he needs to keep his stress levels under control. That might not be so easy given that he’s been paired with ex-Navy SEAL-turned-detective Martin Riggs, who has moved to California for a new start at the LAPD.

During their first case, hot-headed Riggs drags conventional cop Murtaugh on a freeway chase and into a shootout with drug dealers; despite his protests, the older cop feels more alive than he has in years. Meanwhile, Riggs gets a glimpse of why Murtaugh is so determined to get home safely at the end of each day – he has a family and a newborn baby. And Murtaugh finds out what happened to Riggs’ marriage, a car accident robbed him of his family and his reason to live, and his devil-may-care-attitude hides his grief.

By the time their investigation ends, Riggs realises he may have found something worth living for – a partner and friend in Murtaugh. Even Murtaugh figures this arrangement might just work out after all. If only Riggs doesn’t get them killed first….

Damon Wayans is best known as writer and star on the Emmy ® award winning TV series In Living Colour. On the big screen, Wayans starred in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed film Bamboozled. Other feature film credits include Mo Money, The Last Boy Scout, Roxanne and Beverly Hills Cop. He’s also enjoyed tremendous success in stand up alongside being a featured player on Saturday Night Live and a New York Times best selling author.

Prior to Lethal Weapon, Clayne Crawford starred on the acclaimed TV series Rectify which won the 2014 Peabody Award for Excellence in Television Broadcasting. He’s also had recurring roles on NCIS: New Orleans, Graceland and Jericho. Movie credits include Spectral, A Walk to Remember and The Perfect Host. Crawford resides in Alabama with his wife and three children and a host of horses, cattle and chickens!

ITV released this short Q & A with Wayans and Crawford ahead of the start of Season 1.

Q: In the first movie, Mel Gibson’s interpretation of the character is one that’s almost dangerously unhinged at times. You seem to have played it a little less crazy in the TV series?

Clayne Crawford: “I was playing more of just the sadness, and if I’d lost my children, I don’t know how I’d end up paying the bills. I don’t know how I would continue with life. So I approached it from that way, but yet having that urge, that desire to kind of catch the bad guys. I try and ground Riggs in an honest place, because I felt like, from an audience standpoint, what Mel Gibson did was so incredible in that role. For me, I had to find the heart to the piece, I had to come from that place and not go so big with it.”

Q: Damon, tell us about your thoughts on being part of the Lethal Weapon franchise?

Damon Wayans: “I don’t watch much TV but Lethal Weapon is a global iconic brand and when you hear the words you smile. The secret sauce is ‘heart’ and I think that’s where they may have gone wrong with other franchises in that they forget to put the heart in. People want that fuzzy feeling and I think nostalgia brings that.”

Q: Clayne, were you scared to take on this iconic movie role?

Clayne Crawford: “On stage, you rarely get a chance to play a role that hasn’t been played by another actor, so I embraced the challenge. I think with film, it lives forever, so we can go back and we can compare, that was my fear going into this. I thought everyone involved with the Lethal Weapon franchise had just done a wonderful job, including, obviously Mel Gibson. He dominated that role and didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone. So I didn’t want to read the script at first, but once I read the script I just couldn’t say no to a man who was so broken and yet was kind of the hero and trying to do the right thing. It just grabbed me immediately, it was so terrifying.”

Q: Damon, what were your thoughts when you first read the script? 

Damon Wayans: “What’s crazy is I connected so much with this character who had a triple bypass because I had brain surgery in December and when I read this script I cried, like, I mean, it was like, it was scary. When you‘re going in for the surgery it could be the last 3me you see the people you love and you just have to make peace with them. Thankfully it was benign and I’m ok but, I just fell in love with this character who wants to live, and knows what’s important which is his family; he wants to come home every day, to his family. Murtaugh is supposed to be too old for this, so I decided when we shot the pilot that I was going to get out of shape, I was going to do my Robert de Niro and just gain, like, 20 pounds. I felt horrible. I had man boobs and when I was running I would feel my butt shaking. So I got in shape to play out of shape. That’s the way you do it."

In addition to Wayans and Crawford, Lethal Weapon stars Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious films), Keesha Sharp (Are We There Yet?), Dante Brown (Mr. Robinson), Chandler Kinney (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street) and Johnathan Fernandez (Upright Citizens Brigade).

Matt Miller (Chuck, Las Vegas, Forever), Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes films, The LEGO™ Movie franchise, Forever), Jennifer Gwartz (Veronica Mars, Forever) and McG (Supernatural, Nikita) are executive producers of Lethal Weapon, which is based on the feature film from Warner Bros. Pictures. Miller wrote the pilot episode, which was directed by McG. The series is from Lin Pictures and Good Session Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and is distributed around the world by Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.

Image - ITV
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