‘Lethal Weapon’ star Damon Wayans on taking on the iconic role: ‘I was intimidated’

Damon wayans lethal weapon fox
Damon Wayans stars on Fox’s reboot of ‘Lethal Weapon.’ Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

Damon Wayans wasn’t looking to star on a television remake of “Lethal Weapon” when he took a meeting with Peter Roth, the head of television at Warner Bros.

“No, I went in to pitch a sitcom to Peter Roth, and he said, ‘Before you pitch your show, I’m going to say two words: Lethal Weapon,'” Wayans told Business Insider recently.

Wayans — whose TV credits include iconic 1990s sketch show, “In Living Colour,” and ABC’s “My Wife and Kids” — took a night to think on the job offer.

“I said, ‘Send me the script.’ And I got the script, I met with [executive producer Matt Miller],” Wayans recalled. “And I’m like, ‘I’m in. This is great.’ On the page, it was amazing. I felt like if we could be half as good as the script, we were in good shape, because it really hit on so many different levels.”

Before accepting the role, Wayans needed to know that he could make the role his own.

“It’s like when you step into the role of something so iconic, it’s intimidating,” Wayans told us. “And if I didn’t feel that I could do something different, I wouldn’t have done it. I would have went ahead and did the sitcom.”

Lethal weapon fox
From left, Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford. Richard Foreman/FOX

Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” remake, which premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m., finds Wayans in the Danny Glover role of veteran cop, Roger Murtaugh. Murtaugh is married, has a young child, and just survived a heart attack, so he’s looking to stay alive for a while.

Enter Martin Riggs, played by “Rectify” alum Clane Crawford, the new transfer with a death wish, and Murtaugh’s new partner.

For TV, the producers grounded the show by making it a police procedural with a case of the week, cool stunts, with a few big story arcs.

“Look, here’s the deal: It’s obviously a light, funny primetime show that families can sit down with their kids at dinner and watch,” Crawford summed up for us. “It’s fun, and it’s fast, but I don’t think people were expecting it to be grounded and for there to be real moments. And I think nowadays, you have to do that on television. Your audience is more sophisticated than they were 30 years ago.”

Watch the trailer for Fox’s new “Lethal Weapon” below:

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