Richard Donner directed Mel Gibson in all four Lethal Weapon movies, as well as Conspiracy Theory and Maverick. Of the oft-rumored Lethal Weapon 5, Donner tells the LA Times it’s not going to happen because Mel doesn’t want it to.
“Mel turned it down,” Donner said. “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.”
Problem was, Donner had his own plans for a sequel based on a story by him and the writer of Lethal Weapon 4, but Warners was more interested in a spec idea from Shane Black, who’d taken his script to Joel Silver.
The news of the Silver and Black project stirred press coverage and considerable blogosphere interest this summer, especially after actor Columbus Short said he was up for a supporting role and that the project was being fast-tracked. It was all frustrating for odd-man-out Donner… who had a falling out with Silver a few years ago, and didn’t enjoy being excluded from a franchise that he considers his signature work.
“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.”
If Richard Donner is to be believed, a fifth Lethal Weapon requires the approval of Mel Gibson, and Mel Gibson is loyal to Donner. Further complicating sequel plans, Gibson believes pigeons are the Jews of the sky.