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Last summer, Denzel Washington took to the screen with Mark Wahlberg in the two-hander action-comedy 2 Guns. But next year, it's all about Washington when it comes to the gritty crime-thriller The Equalizer. As you can see in Columbia Pictures' first look--courtesy of Ropes of Silicon--he plays a grim gunman.
If the title seems familiar that's because The Equalizer is loosely based on a television drama from the 1980s. The series centered on Robert McCall, a former government agent who uses his detective skills to give help to the helpless in a vigilante good guy kind of way. His creedo was essentially, "Got a problem? Need help? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer"--or so read his yellow pages advert. Penned by The Mechanic's scribe Richard Wenk, it's unknown how closely this adaptation will hold to the original, but Washington's character--also called Robert McCall--is described as a loner with a no-nonsense attitude and a deep compassion for hopeless causes.
Washington signed on to the project in the summer of 2012 for $20 million, but prior to that, the part had been offered to Russell Crowe. Then came the tricky endeavor or selecting the right director. When Washington was first attached, directors like Taken's Pierre Morel, Warriors' Gavin O’Connor, Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn, and The Raid: Redemption's Gareth Evans were said to be in contention. That winter, it was announced Refn had been chosen, but a month later it had been revealed Refn had abandoned the project, which was once more on the search for a helmer.
By February of this year, Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Rupert Wyatt was in talks to take the directing chair on The Equalizer. But by March he too was out, and Antoine Fuqua, who'd previously worked with Washington on the Academy Award-winning crime drama Training Day, was attached. This hiring stuck, and meant Fuqua would follow up the success of Olympus Has Fallen with a venture from one of Hollywood's most reliably bankable stars.
Finally The Equalizer began to come together. It Girl Chloe Moretz (Carrie, Kick-Ass 2) joined the cast as its female lead Teri, a teenaged prostitute who seeks help from the titular detective. Next, The Lord of the Rings' Marton Csokas came on board to play an enforcer for the Russian mob that McCall crosses. Then Justified's David Meunier signed on to play Slavi, Teri's merciless pimp, and Melissa Leo committed to portray one of McCall's intelligence gathering allies. Production took place last fall, and The Equalizer is on track to open on September 16th, 2014.