The firing of Clayne Crawford and his replacement by Seann William Scott seemed to bring an end to the controversy surrounding FOX’s “Lethal Weapon” series. It was quite clear Crawford and co-star Damon Wayans weren’t friendly at all, and that much of the crew weren’t Crawford fans either, with knowledge of the conflict going public this year.
A new report in Variety goes extensively into the feud, including video recorded on the sly on the set of the series, and it paints a better picture of just how bad things got before action was taken. Speaking with nearly three dozen people who worked on the series and spoke anonymously with the trade, it was seemingly a set which had descended into chaos.
Crews were split in factions, production was halted many times, and the work environment grew so toxic that security guards were present on set at all times to ensure disagreements would not deteriorate into physical violence. With Crawford out, Warners is cleaning house and reportedly getting rid of over two dozen crew members loyal to him.
One incident involved Crawford, growing increasingly frustrated by a bad filming location by an apartment pool, allegedly repeatedly yelling to crew to “shut ’em the f–k up” regarding some 10-11 year old kids playing within earshot. That episode’s director Eric Laneuville reportedly butted heads with multiple actors and due to the escalating tension with Crawford, exited the episode with series editor Matt Barber finishing it uncredited.
Producer Frank Waldeck came onboard in October to help defuse tension on set, but five months later it went to hell when Crawford directed an episode and a special-effects explosion saw Wayans struck on the back of the head by a piece of shrapnel, suffering a laceration.
The following day, Wayans returned to the set and he and Crawford began to argue about the safety issue of the previous day and the responsibility for what happened. That led to Crawford goading Wayans, allegedly calling him a ‘pussy’ several times along with a crybaby and teasing him about his family.
Wayans refused to do the rest of the scene that day leading to a heated argument later which saw production shut down for the day. The episode was then rewritten so that Crawford and Wayans would not be in any scenes together for the remainder of shooting.
After the season wrapped and the replacement casting was announced, Wayans took to social media to slam Crawford with a few claims from posted flyers being up around the lot to actor Lance Henriksen being hit by Crawford in the mouth with a bottle – the trade says according to all their sources neither was true. Henriksen did get hit in the face by a bottle, but it was a minor accident as part of filming and wasn’t an issue.
Some sources say despite his media reputation, Crawford was warm, dedicated and passionate about his work – he just gets angry when frustrated, boiling the whole thing down to an issue of temperament. Others paint him as more combative, subjecting crew members to profanity-laced tirades. Wayans is painted as charming but also difficult to work with at points, one calling him passive-aggressive as opposed to Crawford’s aggressive-aggressive.
Filming on the show’s third season kicks off in July.