"Denzel Washington IS The Equalizer. "
This is the evocative promise from Columbia Pictures, which is spinning the crime-drama series from the 1980s into a Denzel Washington-fronted crime thriller that will hit theaters hard this September.
The Equalizer follows Robert McCall, a former black ops commando who has tried to leave behind his life of violence and the blood on his hands by retiring to Boston. There, this night owl forms an unexpected bond with a homeless teen (Chloë Grace Moretz) who has been forced into sex work. To save her, he'll have to come out retirement and take on a crew of merciless gangsters.
Last fall, Columbia Pictures invited Cinema Blend up to Boston, where production on The Equalizer was in full swing in a shuttered Home Depot that had been transformed into a knock-off "Home Mart," where McCall works by day. Between takes on a scene that had its hero kicking ass and demanding to know where hostages are held, we sat down with Denzel Washington, director Antoine Fuqua, and producer Todd Black to learn what makes The Equalizer tick.
Expect A Hard R For Mouth-Shattering ViolenceWith thrillers like Training Day, Brooklyn's Finest, and Olympus Has Fallen to his credit, it should come as little surprise that Antoine Fuqua's latest aims for a hard-R rating. As you can see from the trailer above, The Equalizer's hero (Denzel Washington), is a skilled and efficient fighter. I walked among the luxurious office where we see Washington get equal on a band of Russian thugs. Shattered glass littered the floor, and stage blood paltered the desk and the painting behind the cushy desk chair. Afterwards, Fuqua spoke with us about the movie's intense violence.
"I’m a product of older filmmakers of the past, where you get to make movies and scenes are what they are," Fuqua explained. "If you think about Scorsese back in the day when he was making Taxi Driver or (Francis Ford) Coppola, (John) Frankenheimer, Sidney Lumet, they got to make films where you witness violence in a real way. And sometimes violence in a very real way is much faster and more impactful because it feels real. You’re watching it happen, and you’re watching your star do these things. So it’s not like he’s doing superhero moves."
He went on, "The violence that you witness is Denzel doing it…When you see something happen, it’s happening in front of you, as opposed to cutting away or doing a bunch of tricks. It’s in front of you, so it’s hard not to make it a hard R, if you see a guy get punched and teeth wind up in somebody’s knuckles or something. You know what I mean? I don’t think we could get away with a PG on that one. There are some other things I could tell you. You’ll never look at corkscrews again. I’ll tell you that."