Exclusive: Keesha Sharp Talks ‘Lethal Weapon’

The Knockturnal caught up with actress Keesha Sharp to discuss her role as Trish Murtaugh on the FOX remake of the classic buddy cop action film Lethal Weapon.

The FOX fall lineup is currently underway and as always there are plenty of new comers this season’s roster. One show that has been garnering a lot of buzz alongside the network’s TV series reboot of The Exorcist is it’s reinvention of the action comedy film series Lethal Weapon. Keesha Sharp stars alongside Damon Wayans Sr. and Clayne Crawford in what she hopes will be a proper homage to the films.

What are you most looking forward to from the show?

I’m a fanatical fan about the Lethal Weapon franchise, and so when some of the fans weren’t sure how this is going to work and they weren’t sure if it was a good idea, I couldn’t wait for them to see it. I did it because I knew it was. I’d read the script, Matt Miller’s script, and I knew that this was a hit. I knew that he had captured the heart of the Lethal Weapon franchise. The heart, the drama, the action, all of it was captured in such a new yet honorable way. I couldn’t wait for people to see it so that they can see that we honored the franchise. It has it’s own life now, a new life, and that’s okay.

That’s what I was most looking forward to. Now, since we premiered, I’m looking forward to doing more. I want people to see there’s more to come, and it’s even better. I can’t wait for Trish to get involved with the action. I can’t wait to see that, but I don’t want her to be the damsel in distress. I want her to be the one that’s saving Riggs and Roger.

Would you be able to describe your character and the role she plays in Murtaugh’s life?

How I would describe her is she’s a high-powered defense attorney, a woman who loves her husband, who loves her family, who also is able to hold her own. She’s a woman who stands by her man and is there to support him in every way she can, and she also has her own life, which I love. I think it’s a 2016 version of this character. Although, I always say this too, a stay at home mom is always modern, that’s always needed, and it’s never out of style. But I love that they’ve changed this character because a lot of parents have to work today, both parents. And that people have followed their dreams. This is one of her dreams, to help those who can’t help themselves. Her role is to balance him, to support him. She is also, between Riggs and Roger, she’s the glue that holds them together in the beginning. Then, she kind of adopts Riggs and I love that about their relationship, as well.

You speak a lot about balance. How is it playing against Damon? He’s known to inject his own patented delivery of every joke, so he brings a big energy to the table. How is that? 

I love Damon. What I did, because he does make you laugh on set … It’s just who he is, and he can’t help it. As Keesha, I’ve made my Trish fall in love with Damon because of his humor, so when he’s cracking jokes and she laughs, it’s okay. Or when he’s cracking jokes and she’s like, “I’m not laughing at that. I’m being serious,” as his wife would, it works. Working with him, it’s really a pleasure. I can’t say that enough. There’s so much chemistry between Trish and Roger, and half of that is because there’s humor.

Fascinating. You said you’re a fan of the franchise. What was your favorite movie?

It’s a cross between 1 and 2, but you can’t get past 1. That’s when we met these characters, and you see them bond. I love 1, but 2 is really close. Joe Pesci, I love that character, so 1 and 2 are my favorite. I love 3 and 4 now. It became heightened and different. But I love 1 and 2, in that order.

From television to film, film to television, there’s always some things that are taken, some things that are left out. How do you feel the television series differentiates itself from its storied and legendary source material?

That’s a great question. I do feel like our television series is different because it is 2016. We have modernized the franchise, not that anything’s wrong with what … I love the films. The films to me are … What’s the word? Nostalgic, that’s the word I’m looking for. We love that. Even to hear the word Lethal Weapon, we smile. That’s our movie. But I feel like 2016, it has to change some. We’re in a different world than we were, and if we had tried to make it the same as the franchise, people would be laughing. You’re like, “What are they doing?” I think they knew that. They had to change it. They had to change Trish a little. They had to change the kids, and you’ll see that. What we deal with with our children is not the same as what they dealt with the 1980s and ’90s. It’s a different time. We have technology, changes things. Women are in the workforce, and they do have powerful jobs. Women can do it all, and we can see that. That had to change a bit. I think the biggest thing that differentiates itself from the film is that it’s 2016. It had to change.

With the rest of the cast, how was it working with everybody? Did anybody surprise you?

Yeah. First of all, I didn’t work with everybody because my character really is with Riggs and Roger and my kids. But I can’t wait until that happens, when I can work with everybody. In terms of backstage, when I get to see everybody, I really love the cast. Everybody’s so talented and excited about the project. I think casting and producers did a really great job of putting great personalities together because that doesn’t always happen where everyone really is supportive, and we love what we’re doing. Even though for Riggs and Roger, they have a lot of work, I got to tell you, with all those stunts. A lot of them Riggs is doing on his own. Or I should say Clayne, which is Riggs, doing it on his own. It’s just been a great time, a great cast, and I can really say that. We’re at about two and a half months in, now. I’m trying to think how long we’ve been shooting. So you really know each other. It’s not like the first week when you many not know if everyone’s being themselves, but two months in, really great cast, great bunch of people.

Back to your character, she defies the role of the typical cop wife. She’s the breadwinner of the family. As you spoke on earlier, she has her own career. How does your character make you feel about the future of more diverse and deep female characters?

Oh, wow. I got to say, I’m really blessed to be a part of this kind of character being on television. We see a lot of strong women in television, but I don’t think we’ve seen a woman who is strong, yet loving, yet supportive of her husband, who’s fighting for something. Like I said, she’s fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, and so is her husband. We have both these characters who are fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, who are loving each other, who can be sexual and sexy together, and that’s okay to see, and successful. They just had a baby, which a lot of people are doing late in age. Surprise baby, but it happens, so we’re seeing that on television. We’re seeing this woman who is able to be a loving mother and there for her children, yet be out there fighting as a defense attorney in a world that can be very dangerous.

I love that we’re seeing this, and hopefully, it’s a trend. I do see a lot of strong women, now, on television, and diversity. Talk about diversity, our show … First of all, FOX is doing it big when we’re talking about diversity. It’s not a trend. It’s something that is a reality. They’re leading the MIP, and the entertainment world, and in television in diversity. They’re not doing it just because it’s “in.” They’re doing it because it’s right to do. We are a country, a world that’s diverse, and we can see that on television now.

I’m really big on hearing behind the scenes stories, if you can. What was your favorite moment onset while filming?

I have a lot, but I’ll be sentimental. The babies, oh gosh, they’re so cute and so some of my favorite moments involve them. They’re babies, so they don’t act. They don’t know what that is. They’re babies. They’re just reacting to whatever they’re seeing. It’s a beautiful, natural thing. One of the best things that I love to see is to see Damon with the babies or Clayne with the babies, and to see them have these really beautiful moments that they capture on film. One of them you saw in the premiere, when the baby, when he’s like, “I’m here,” and she laughs. Oh, my gosh. Those moments are precious, and they’re real, and I love every single one. Those really are my favorite moments on set.

Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8pm on FOX.

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