Gibson, Donner Out Of Fifth Lethal

Despite the buzz in recent months about Shane Black’s new script and potential casting talk, the fifth “Lethal Weapon” movie may now be dead says series director Richard Donner.

Talking with The Los Angeles Times, Donner says that “the project is pretty much dead in the water unless someone had the sense to come to me.”

What happened? Earlier this year it was reported that the first film’s scribe Shane Black delivered a fifth script to the studio which producer Joel Silver immediately picked up, while last week actor Columbus Short said he was in talks to play Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) son in the film.

It seems that Donner, “Lethal Weapon 4” writer Channing Gibson and several others had, at the same time, been developing “an incredibly strong story for the fifth movie” according to the veteran helmer. However “we weren’t given the opportunity and I think maybe I could have convinced Mel [Gibson] to do it. But Warners chose to go with Joel Silver” he says, effectively being shut out of the franchise he was a key part in creating.

Donner isn’t happy with how Silver secured the project – “Joel Silver tried to ace me out of it. He tried to put it together but made sure he didn’t do it until my contract was up. You know, it’s typical of the man. A guy who wasn’t even around at the beginning when we started on the first one. He came in late”.

Now it seems the project has come to a halt altogether as one of the key leads has passed on it – “Mel turned it down. I would like to think that Mel turned it down because I wasn’t involved. Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would be.”