While Joe Pesci isn’t to everyone’s taste, the actor has earned his place in cinema history with roles in everything from Raging Bull to Goodfellas and Home Alone. In fact, Pesci has emerged from virtual retirement for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and now, may reprise one of his iconic parts for Lethal Weapon 5. The action franchise, which has recently spun-out a troubled television series, hasn’t had a new entry since 1998, but sources suggest that shooting may start later this year.
It’s fair to say that the Lethal Weapon series is problematic, given its association with some relatively dated 1980s humor, as well as original co-star Mel Gibson’s fall from grace. Still, from its launch in 1987 with Richard Donner’s first film, the series has generated almost a billion dollars in worldwide revenues for Warner Bros. And in Hollywood, money talks.
Rumors of a fifth Lethal Weapon, with the possible title Lethal Finale, have been ongoing since the late 2000s. Original screenwriter Shane Black has been linked with the project, too, which seems to have gained momentum over the last few years through the involvement of Donner, Mel Gibson and franchise mainstay Danny Glover. Donner had particularly been talking up the prospect of the film, which may represent a dark take on the franchise’s detective antiheroes.
Gibson is 63 and Glover 72, while Donner is 89, meaning that perhaps the only way to return to the series is to play up the incongruity of ageing stars and a bloated action setting. The return of Joe Pesci’s fast-talking Leo Getz could also revive the comic chemistry he enjoyed with Gibson’s Riggs and Glover’s Murtaugh.
Going back to basics seems to be the solution to Lethal Weapon 5‘s development hell, and probably puts to rest the idea of a soft reboot of the series with Chris Hemsworth. Whenever Lethal Weapon 5 reaches us, though, it’s unlikely to hit the heights of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s unofficial sequel.