“Mel turned it down. 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.”

That is the quote that Richard Donner gave to The LA Times’ Hero Complex today regarding Lethal Weapon 5, a movie that has been rumored to be on the fast-track. But according to Donner, the man who produced and directed the first four films in the series, the project is “pretty much dead in the water unless someone had the sense to come to me.”

Donner went on to explain that the reason he isn’t involved has everything to do with producer Joel Silver:

“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. 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, an associate at The Donner Company] 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.”

He also went on to explain that due to the fact that Lethal Weapon 4 didn’t receive universal acclaim, he can understand why Warner Bros. might want to go another direction and bring on a writer like Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), who wrote a spec script for the fifth film. Ultimately though, it all seems to be moot at this point. While the rumor mill continues to churn on another Lethal Weapon flick, it appears that the people who are actually needed in order for it to happen are either staying silent or issuing denials. And for the two or three people who were getting all hot and bothered about a Lethal Weapon 5, this will be disappointing news. For the rest of us, it’s just more rumor-laden filler.

For more, check out Geoff Boucher’s report at Hero Complex.

Does the apparent death of Lethal Weapon 5 make you happy or sad?

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