Clayne Crawford as Martin Riggs
“Lethal Weapon” executive producer Matt Miller shared why they were grateful when Clayne Crawford finally agreed to portray the role of Martin Riggs on the FOX series. Adam Taylor/FOX

“Lethal Weapon” executive producer Matt Miller said that they are “very lucky” to have Clayne Crawford play the role of Martin Riggs on the FOX buddy cop series.

In a recent interview with Screener, Miller said that the role of Riggs — famously played by Mel Gibson in the original film franchise — was extremely difficult to cast, so they were very grateful when Crawford agreed to portray the character.

“It was incredibly hard to cast this role because Mel Gibson played it so iconically,” Miller told the website. “We looked in Los Angeles, New York, Canada, England, Australia … We looked everywhere and most people came in … doing — whether it was conscious or not — a poor man’s Mel Gibson. They were doing a Mel Gibson imitation, even if they didn’t want to.”

“Then Clayne came in,” the exec producer continued. “He’s from Alabama so he’s got this light southern twang… He’s just got this different presence and a different way of approaching things.”

Miller and his fellow producers, however, needed the help of Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden to encourage Crawford reconsider the role after he initially declined to do the part. “I was not in a place to read anything new,” Crawford told The Hollywood Reporter in September of why he initially passed on the TV series. “I wasn’t interested in a remake.”

But after the executive producers assured him that they’re not doing a remake of the film franchise, Crawford ultimately said yes.

“It’s hard to find someone who has that kind of comedy, drama and sort of depth to their performance. We got very lucky with casting there,” Miller told Screener of casting Crawford in the role of Riggs.

“He’s a special find,” McG told The Hollywood Reporter of Crawford. “A very earnest actor.”

In an interview with Parade in September, Crawford’s co-star Jordana Brewster commended the show’s casting team for picking Crawford play the role of Riggs. “I love that they cast someone as good as Clayne because he’s so talented,” said Brewster, who portrays who plays Dr. Maureen Cahill on the show. “Everything he does is so grounded.”

What do you think of Crawford’s performance as Riggs so far? Sound off in the comments below!

“Lethal Weapon” Season 1, episode 10, titled “Homebodies,” airs on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. EST on FOX.