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Nicolas Winding Refn Walks Away From The Equalizer

After the critical success of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was a “hot” filmmaker who had the pick of multiple projects. One, titled Only God Forgives, makes its way to theaters later this year with leading man Ryan Gosling collaborating once again. Other projects, however, are falling by the wayside… like this.

Collider reports that Refn has walked away from The Equalizer, a modernized adaptation of the cult 1980s television series that currently has Denzel Washington attached to star. The main character in The Equalizer is a retired intelligence agent who now assists the downtrodden as a private investigator.

But the project isn’t dead, according to the site, and Sony is still bullish about turning The Equalizer into a movie franchise. With Washington, who’s on the Oscar trail for Flight, still set to play the lead role, the studio would like to hire a replacement director in order to begin shooting the film in May.

Refn, meanwhile, has Only God Forgives in the can, and will begin screening it later this year. We’re guessing that his collaboration with Gosling – set in the bizarre world of Thailand kick-boxing – makes its debut at the Cannes Film Festival (just like Drive did) before heading to theaters later in the year. I’m not saying that Refn is the wrong guy for The Equalizer, and I’m sure he would have done something original with the material, but the project sounds like generic genre material (a la Broken City) and at this stage I think we’d rather see Refn challenging himself with more complicated material than a remake of a cult TV show.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.