Clayne Crawford feels 'guilty' taking Mel Gibson's role in Lethal Weapon remake
Rising star Clayne Crawford has said he feels "guilty" taking on Mel Gibson's famous role in the television adaptation of Lethal Weapon.
The actor plays police officer Martin Riggs in the US series, the same character portrayed by Gibson in all four Lethal Weapon movies.
He told Radio Times he initially thought it would be "disrespectful" to attempt a remake.
"Frankly, I wasn't interested in doing a show like this," said Crawford. "Without even reading [the script], I said I wasn't interested.
"I felt it was disrespectful to try and capture lightning in a bottle twice - that movie was so special, you couldn't duplicate it. I wished them well, said no... but, man, they were persistent..."
Asked whether he was worried about Gibson's reaction to the show, Crawford said: "Of course. I feel kinda guilty doing this.
"I feel like it should have been left alone.
"I'm not vain enough to think Mel Gibson knows who I am or cares what we're doing, but if he does come across us I hope I make him proud."
The buddy cop series - featuring Damon Wayans as Riggs's partner Roger Murtaugh, the part played by Danny Glover on the big screen - has been a ratings winner in America and will start airing on ITV in March.
Crawford, 38, said he has put "a ton of effort" into the action sequences, as he believes the stunts are vital.
He said: "Entertainment recently, it's been quite heavy, don't you think?
"It got to the point where if we as an audience didn't leave the TV miserable with some terrible images ingrained in our brains - the Red Wedding [in Game Of Thrones], Breaking Bad, Dexter - the producers thought they'd failed.
"These days, we want to escape more than ever.
"Our lives are miserable enough - whatever political side you're on in my bitterly divided country you feel like you're losing the battle."
He added: "This isn't heart surgery - this is television. We're making people forget their lives."