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It was just a few days ago that Fox officially announced plans to move forward with a new television series based on the 1980s classic Lethal Weapon, but hopefully you weren’t expecting the show to have the full involvement of the man who originally created Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. It turns out that Shane Black isn’t super on-board with the adaptation, and while he hopes it succeeds, he’s also doesn’t think it will necessarily work in the television medium.
The news of the Lethal Weapon show coincidentally comes about a week before the release of Shane Black’s brilliant new detective movie, The Nice Guys, and when I had the opportunity to talk with him late last week, one thing that we discussed was the new show. We had started talking about television because it was originally considered a direction for The Nice Guys, but when the subject turned to the Lethal Weapon show, Black was primarily dismissive. Said the writer/director,
I wish them well. I have no interest in it. I don’t see it being particularly edgy as a TV show. I think it will be more comedy and that doesn’t interest me. That said, I like the guy who is doing it. I think he is funny. Maybe it will succeed as television. I wish them well. It’s just not the kind of thing I’d want to be involved in.
Lethal Weapon was the first script that Shane Black sold in Hollywood – famously signing a $250,000 deal at the age of 24. While it would be far from his last two-hander crime/action movie, with great movies on his resume including The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it was the only film in the franchise he wrote himself. Jeffrey Boam, Robert Mark Kamen, Channing Gibson, are all the credited screenwriters on the Lethal Weapon sequels (though Black does have a “Story By” credit on Lethal Weapon 2 and a “Characters By” on all of them).
The Lethal Weapon show will have Matt Miller (Forever) serving as the showrunner, while Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh will be played by Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans Sr. (who worked with Shane Black on the aforementioned The Last Boy Scout). It’s expected to be a part of Fox’s fall season schedule this year.
It’s a shame that the Lethal Weapon show will be lacking Shane Black’s input, but the good news is that fans of his particular style of detective storytelling and witty dialogue will be available in theaters this week, with the arrival of The Nice Guys in theaters on Friday, May 20th