FOX is always on the lookout for opportunities to reboot or adapt previously successful projects for its TV line-up. Current series Gotham and Lucifer both mine material from the comics, while The X-Files reached back more than 13 years into the network’s archive for a return to former glory. FOX has recently looked into pilots for a range of shows that include a reboot of ’80s series The Greatest American Hero and an Idris Elba-produced American version of popular British series Luther.
While its TV version of the sci-fi film Minority Report only lasted one year, FOX isn’t shying away from adapting more big screen hits. One of its latest pilot orders is an adaptation of the Lethal Weapon franchise, a series of high-energy action films that starred Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as polar opposite partners in the LAPD. In Living Color alum Damon Wayans has been cast in Glover’s role as the “too old for this s***” veteran cop, Roger Murtaugh. Now we finally have word on who will take Gibson’s place in the new series.
Variety reports that Clayne Crawford, of Sundance Channel series Rectify, will be taking on the role of Martin Riggs. Similar to the films, Riggs is a former Navy SEAL and Texas cop who relocates to LA after the tragic loss of his wife and baby. There he teams up with LAPD detective Murtaugh, and friction ensues.
Crawford specializes in bad guy roles, and you may recognize him from stints on TV series like Justified, The Glades, 24, and NCIS: New Orleans. He’ll next be seen on the big screen in Spectral, a supernatural thriller starring Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, and James Badge Dale.
The original Lethal Weapon movies had plenty of absurdity and comedic moments, particularly in the sequels. The casting of Wayans seemed to indicate that the new TV show would be taking a lighter route, but the addition of Jordana Brewster as in-house therapist hints that Riggs’ emotional issues wouldn’t be neglected. Casting Crawford, who has a pretty good skill set for combining dangerous or unlikable character traits with a dose of vulnerability, feels like a move toward embracing the serious side of the story. While we’ll still likely get some levity in the new series, it’s a good sign that the show won’t be played entirely for laughs.
Reboots may seem like a recipe for success, but the projects can easily backfire. Potential new viewers might not care about another retread of an old movie, while fans that loved the original Lethal Weapon series might find it hard to accept anyone other than the two actors who made the roles iconic. Being a lesser-known actor could help Crawford, since few people will have preconceived ideas of why he’s right or wrong for the role, but his lack of a flashy resume might make him seem unworthy in some fans’ eyes. The fact that the showrunners didn’t just choose a recognizable name is a positive indicator, however, that they focused on finding the right person for the role — a person who hopefully has the kind of bromance chemistry with Wayans that made the big screen partnership so much fun to watch.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all developments on the Lethal Weapon TV series.