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Trivia / Lethal Weapon (2016)

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  • Actor Allusion:
  • Development Gag: Riggs being killed off in the second season finale is a reference to the original ending of Lethal Weapon 2, in which Riggs dies.
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  • Hostility on the Set: Clayne Crawford was accused of having anger management problems and abusive to the cast and crew. As a result, he was fired after the end of Season 2.
  • McLeaned: The aforementioned Hostility on the Set resulted in Riggs's Death by Adaptation.
  • Name's the Same: Captain Brooks Avery's name is just a flip of that of actor Avery Brooks.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Agent Palmer disappears from the show, despite her burgeoning relationship with Riggs, due to Hilarie Burton’s pregnancy.
  • Troubled Production: The series premiered to great fanfare for FOX, buoyed by the Buddy Cop Show dynamic between its two leads, Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans. Unfortunately, on-set tensions between the stars, Executive Meddling and production problems led to Crawford being fired at the end of the second season, replaced by Seann William Scott for the third season. A damning report by Variety laid out some of the problems that plagued the series.
    • The series went into pre-production with both leads being unsure if they wanted to take on the role indefinitely. In an interview recorded after his firing, Crawford claims he was told that Wayans wanted to be involved in the series, then learned after the fact (during the interim between the first and second seasons) that the latter had pitched a different series to FOX president Joe Roth as a Career Resurrection vehicle. As filming of the pilot got underway, Crawford claims he immediately ran into friction with the show's producer and lead writer, Matthew Miller, over disagreements about lead character Martin Riggs' storyline and its focus compared to the action and Buddy Cop Show scenes.
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    • The show's first season ended without major incident, though tensions were rising behind the scenes due to production delays. Depending on which source is to be believed, Wayans either refused to sit for script table reads, or there were no table reads at Wayans' insistence. During a press tour appearance in Paris to promote the second season, Wayans reportedly apologized to Crawford for his behavior, but the situation on-set didn't improve. This was supposedly caused by a lack of management on-set, which Crawford claims forced him to step up and start acting as quality control, doing everything from rewriting scripts to overseeing some aspects of the production.
    • During a scene set within a church, Wayans reportedly refused to walk inside, saying he was a devout Jehovah's Witness and it would be an affront to his religion.note  As a result, production had to work around Wayans' absence from production (largely by using stand-ins) until a replica was built on a soundstage in the FOX production lot.
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    • During production of the second season's fifth episode, "Let It Ride", guest director Eric Laneuville ran afoul of Crawford and other actors for "butting in" on the production process, alongside their need to improv during shooting. According to a source in the Variety article, one actor even expressed a desire never to work with Laneuville again.
    • The second season's ninth episode, "Fools Rush In" (also directed by Laneuville), became a powder keg when filming of a crucial scene (Riggs attempting to talk down a suicidal man) ran for more than ten hours and was delayed by constant background noises interrupting the shot. Crawford subsequently began screaming at an assistant director to solve the situation by getting a group of children who playing nearby to "shut the f*** up". The exchange was recorded by staff on-set and, according to Crawford, used as leverage to keep him in check, while the assistant director resigned on the spot. The next day, Laneuville left the production after a disagreement with Crawford and a stunt coordinator over filming of a car crash, which led the show's editor, Matt Barber, to finish directing the episode in an uncredited role. Crawford was forced to take anger management courses, give part of his salary for the episode to Barber, and (according to his own admission) was escorted to and from set by a security guard.
    • FOX also responded by posting security guards to the set and hiring a veteran producer to handle the high-stress set, but things came to a head during production of the season's 20th episode, "Jesse's Girl". During filming of a scene that involved an explosion, Wayans was struck in the back of the head with a piece of shrapnel, and later claimed (in a since-deleted Twitter post) that he suspected foul play due to the "shrapnel" hitting him on the opposite side from where the explosion was taking place. Amid repeated requests to FOX brass to handle the situation, Crawford lost his temper the following day and began arguing with Wayans, with both of them insulting and swearing at each other repeatedly. The ensuing exchange was recorded, and things escalated even further when Wayans refused to shoot a subsequent shootout scene and Crawford got into an argument with the former's personal assistant. In an Instagram post written shortly after rumors about the altercation emerged, Crawford expressed remorse for his behavior.
    • According to Crawford, a FOX executive called him at his home and (within earshot of his family) ordered him to apologize to Wayans or lose his job. At the same time, Wayans (who deleted his Twitter account shortly thereafter) released a series of tweets alleging that Crawford was also a nightmare to work with, who had a "file of infractions" held by FOX and had production staff so angered that they produced decals that read "Clayne Crawford is an Emotional Terrorist".
    • The hammer finally dropped when Crawford went on vacation with his family, and subsequently learned from social media posts that he'd been fired from the show and been replaced with Seann William Scott (the second-season finale has Riggs get fatally shot at a cemetery by his brother while mourning for his father). According to Variety, more than 100 production staff members were let go, with it rumored that the departures were done to people who were loyal to Crawford.
    • Shortly before Season 3 began airing, Wayans announced that he too would be leaving the show halfway through the season, citing that he wanted to spend more time with his family (issues which had naturally been exacerbated by his playing devoted family man Murtaugh), and even pulling out his character's famous Catchphrase "I'm too old for this shit." Of course, all the previously stated issues likely made it a relief to see him go. According to recent statements from FOX, they've begun to work things out with Wayans such as adjusting the shooting schedules in order to give him more time to see his family.


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