Richard Donner is claiming that Mel Gibson has decided to pass on the new script of Lethal Weapon 5, written by Shane Black and produced by Joel Silver.
You'll remember that word surfaced about original Weapon writer Black penning a draft for a fifth film that would see Gibson's Martin Riggs and Danny Glover's Roger Murtaugh reunite. He brought it to Joel Silver who suggested that Black might direct it.
Now Richard Donner has poured cold water on the idea that Gibson will agree to the current script. "Mel turned it down," Donner told the LA Times. "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."
Warners Chose Joel Silver
Donner should know. He's a close friend of Gibson's who directed all of the previous films. And he also seems decidedly miffed that he wasn't given the chance to get involved.
"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."
And the director even had his own take on the film all set to go. "It's too bad, actually, because Channing Gibson, who wrote the fourth one, and Mike Riva, a designer on three of them, and myself and Derek Hoffman had an incredibly strong story for the fifth movie. But we weren't given the opportunity and I think maybe I could have convinced Mel to do it. But Warners chose to go with Joel Silver. The project is pretty much dead in the water unless someone had the sense to come to me."
Gibson's camp has declined to comment but we doubt this is the end of it - if there's even a chance that Warners can get that cash cow mooing again, the studio will have the film back on its feet.