Producer Joel Silver has recently parted ways with Warner Bros. after spending 25 years at the studio. During his time there Silver was behind the Matrix franchise, Lethal Weapon films and more recently two Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr.
Over the last few years Silver has been trying to coax Mel Gibson into starring in a fifth film in the Lethal Weapon franchise, with writer Shane Black directing, leaving out original Lethal Weapon director (and Gibson’s friend and mentor) Richard Donner. Silver and Donner had a falling out in recent times, and Silver wanted LW5 to be a “Dick-less” affair.
During that time Donner was also developing a script for Lethal Weapon 5, although it was believed that Silver’s script had more clout at the studio because Silver was a Warner Bros. golden-boy. However, Silver’s parting of ways with the studio was far from amicable, as he believed that Warner Bros. mis-marketed Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, leading to its underperformance at the US box office. The studio failed to renew his contract, and Silver will take his production company elsewhere after 2012.
Which is where Lethal Weapon 5 comes in.
It is believed that Gibson turned down Silver’s incarnation of LW5 due to his loyalty to Donner, but Silver is now off the Warner lot, so there is a chance that Donner’s version of LW5 could carry some weight – especially if Gibson is interested. Earlier this year Donner told Empire magazine:
“The two crazies decide to cool their lives, but it’s impossible for them to stay out of situations. It starts with Riggs and Murtaugh out in the country in a motorhome. They’re on a trip and they stop to get gas, but Roger forgets to put the brake on. So the motorhome rolls through a village, annihilating everything, and they get in serious trouble. It had a lot of heart, a lot of family. Rene Darlene they would all have come back.”
There’s nothing official here, I’m just spit-balling, but Warner Bros. is trying to “reboot” the Lethal Weapon franchise with a new cast – but the existence of Die Hard 4&5 shows that there is life in an ageing action franchise which includes the original star.
If Donner and Gibson do indeed decide to bring Martin Riggs back to the screen, then I’m sure that Warner Bros. would be willing to stump-up the cash.
Time will tell.