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Close Call for Mel

Don’t look for Warner Bros.’ now-filming “Lethal Weapon 2" to be too lethal: The script by Shane Black--who shot to industry notoriety at age 25 by penning the original--was rejected by the producers as too grim. Especially bumming: A climactic battle in which Mel Gibson’s character, Martin Riggs, is killed!

“I’m always infuriating producers by making people die,” Black told us. “I seem to specialize in grim.

About the death we won’t be seeing: It follows a climactic battle between Riggs and his arch-nemesis, “who is his worst nightmare.” Riggs winds up being stabbed, “and he takes a while to die.”

Black--who teamed with pulp novelist Warren Murphy (the Remo Williams books) on the sequel script--"wanted to say something about courage and heroics.” But “the producers wanted a lighter, more comedic approach.”

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Black bowed out of the project amicably, he said; Jeffrey Boam, who contributed some scenes to “Lethal I,” came in.

No hard feelings, either. Black gives Boam’s draft high marks: “I thought it was pretty terrific. I don’t want to give away any details, but I will tell you that the villains are gonna be great. You really hate these guys a lot.”


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