- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The project was put in limbo when director Richard Donner, who’d helmed all the Weapon movies since their inception in 1987, died in July. Donner, at 91, was working on mounting the fifth installment, which has been in development on and off for years, with screenwriters coming and going. Richard Wenk, who wrote the Denzel Washington-starring Equalizer thrillers, wrote the latest draft.
This changing of the guard had been in the works for months and was blessed, if not instigated, by Lauren Shuler Donner, the wife of Richard Donner.
Dan Lin of Rideback is producing, with Shuler Donner and Gibson now joining him. Rideback’s Jonathan Eirich and The Donners’ Company’s Derek Hoffman will exec produce.
Gibson proclaimed his taking over while speaking at an Experience With … event in London Sunday.
According to London’s The Sun, which covered the event, Gibson said Donner “was developing the screenplay and he got pretty far along with it. And he said to me one day, ‘Listen, Kid, if I kick the bucket, you will do it.’ And I said, ‘Shut up.’
“He did indeed pass away. But he did ask me to do it and, at the time, I didn’t say anything. He said it to his wife and to the studio and the producer. So, I will be directing the fifth one.”
Lethal Weapon was one of the first studio movies to establish Gibson as a Hollywood star in North America after he had toplined several crossover hits from Australia, the Mad Max movies and drama The Year of Living Dangerously among them.
It also launched the career of screenwriter Shane Black, whose spec script fused dark and comedic elements in a buddy cop format to tell the tale of two detectives — one a by-the-book family man, the other a temperamental former soldier who’s become suicidal after losing his wife — who work to bring down a massive drug trafficking ring in Los Angeles.
The moves were 1980s action staples and high-water marks many others have tried to reach since in terms of action, chemistry and repartee. Warners even tried to mount reboots that starred younger actors and it was even adapted into a TV series.
Gibson is repped by APA and Brecheen Feldman.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day