When news broke that Joel Silver was producing a Shane Black-penned and directed Lethal Weapon 5 the internet went crazy with the prospect of another Riggs and Murtaugh adventure.

However, the main sticking point appeared to be Mel Gibson. Would the star return to his trademark role of Martin Riggs, considering the amount of time that had passed since the last installment?

These guesses and rumors were recently shot down by original franchise director Richard Donner – who says that Mel turned the flick down.

The Reason?

Donner wasn’t asked back to the party.Donner told The LA Times:

“Mel turned it down. 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.”

Donner went on to say that he pitched an idea to the studio a few years ago – but they weren’t interested. Not only that -but Silver tried to screw Donner over by waiting for his contract to lapse. Donner said:

“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) 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 there you have it – no Dick means no Mel.

God bless him, too. There is very little loyalty in Hollywood these days and it’s good to see somebody stand up and say “No, I don’t care about $30 million, I want to work with my friend.”

With a bit of luck maybe Warners will decide to bring Dick by on board so we can have Martin Riggs stand proud where he belongs; beside other 1980’s icons like Rambo, Rocky, John Mc Clane and Indiana Jones.

Source: LA Times via IESB