Danny Glover recalls the origins of his famous ‘Lethal Weapon’ line: ‘a phenomenon’

Murtaugh and Riggs (Danny Glover and Mel Gibson) team up for the first time in Lethal Weapon, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. (Photo: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Murtaugh and Riggs (Danny Glover and Mel Gibson) team up for the first time in Lethal Weapon, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. (Photo: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

It’s been 35 years since Lethal Weapon blasted into multiplexes, but Danny Glover still isn’t too old for this … well, you know. The Richard Donner-directed, Shane Black-written action favorite premiered on Mar. 6, 1987, and paired Glover’s world-weary L.A. homicide sergeant, Roger Murtaugh, with Mel Gibson’s live-wire narcotics cop, Martin Riggs. Besides making him one-half of one of the most famous action movie odd couples of all time, Lethal Weapon also gifted Glover with a signature piece of dialogue that he knows will outlive him: “I’m getting too old for this s***.”

“It’s one of those lines that’s become a phenomenon,” the actor told Yahoo Entertainment in a 2016 Role Recall interview, citing how fans frequently request that he incorporate it into autographs. “I say, ‘What do you want me to put on there?’ and they go: ‘I’m too old for this s***.’ Or they say: ‘It’s for my dad, so tell him, you’re not too old for this s***.'”

Watch our full Danny Glover interview below or jump to 1:42 for the Lethal Weapon section

Even though it’s hard to imagine Lethal Weapon without Murtaugh’s iconic line, Black has since revealed it was inserted into the movie as an afterthought. In a 2016 interview with Screen Crush, the screenwriter and director said the whole scene was a “last minute idea” that he and Donner had on set about how Riggs and Murtaugh should meet for the first time.

“There are two fun things in this scene,” Black said. “One is, Riggs takes out his gun and he’s looking around for the guy with the gun and then realizes, ‘Okay, that’s me they want.’ And then, of course, [Murtaugh’s] line, which became the trademark line from the [movie].” Like Glover, Black remains amazed by the longevity of that 35-year-old sentence. “So many of these things, you throw them away. ‘I’m too old for this shit’ — it just sort of rolls off and you don’t picture it becoming iconic in any way.”

It should be noted that Glover — who was a sprightly 41 when he shot the first Lethal Weapon — deserves a writing credit for his classic line. As the actor recalled during his Role Recall interview, it came out of his mouth on the spur of the moment. “I remember Dick Donner saying, ‘Give me something, give me something,’ Glover remembered. “And then the line comes out in that sense. Who would have thunk that a line like that would be so often used? I remember bypassing a group of construction workers in New York City and they go: ‘I’m too old for this s***!'”

Once he started saying it, Glover couldn’t stop; Murtaugh repeated his age-related complaint in all three Lethal Weapon sequels. It’s also popped up in a number of movies made since, from action features like Entrapment and Death Proof to such comedies as Undercover Brother and Anchorman.

And there’s a good chance that the now 75-year-old Glover will speak that line again if he returns for Lethal Weapon 5, which is currently in development at Warner Bros. After Donner’s death last year, Gibson is stepping into the director’s chair — despite the fact that he’s now a controversial figure in Hollywood. “I called Danny [Glover] up, of course, and said ‘Hey, dude, is it okay with you if I direct this?'” Gibson recently told Entertainment Tonight. “He said, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ I know Danny’s going to pull it off real well, too. He’s kind of like the show pony in this one.” Clearly, he’ll never be too old for this s***.

Lethal Weapon is currently streaming on HBO Max

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