Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua’s action sequel The Equalizer 2 has added Moonlight actor Ashton Sanders to the cast in a leading role. Based on the classic ’80s TV series starring Edward Woodward, The Equalizer concerned a former black ops commando named Robert McCall (Washington) leaving behind his quiet life to save a young girl from vicious Russian mobsters.
The Equalizer struck many of the same notes as Liam Neeson’s Taken series, with its plot about a man with a talent for killing and maiming being pitted against a collection of ruthless bad guys who never knew what hit them. The film scored at the box office to the tune of $101 million domestically against a reported budget of $55 million, making The Equalizer sequel an almost foregone conclusion.
Related: The Equalizer 2 Casts Pedro Pascal
Washington will be back for Equalizer 2, and he’ll be joined by Moonlight actor Ashton Sanders as a character who finds Washington’s Robert McCall becoming a father figure as reported by Deadline. Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman are also returning from the original film as McCall’s old contacts in the counter-terrorism world he tried to leave behind. Pedro Pascal has been cast as the movie’s main villain. Production is set to begin next month in Boston with Fuqua directing from a script by Richard Wenk.
Sanders played the teenage Chiron in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning coming-of-age tale Moonlight, garnering good reviews even though he didn’t ultimately come away with an Oscar nomination like co-stars Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris. Sanders also appeared in F. Gary Gray’s acclaimed Straight Outta Compton and had the lead in the Civil War-era drama The Retrieval. He has a role in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Captive State alongside Vera Farmiga and John Goodman.
Plot details about Equalizer 2 are being kept under wraps but if the movie follows the pattern established by the original Equalizer (and the Taken movies), Washington will find himself coming to the aid of a person in need – possibly Sanders’ character – and deploying his particular set of skills to brutally murder a large number of people who have it coming.
The revenge-thriller mechanics of The Equalizer are pretty straightforward, but Fuqua was able to bring a certain style to the original film, and the presence of Washington in the lead role gave the whole thing a certain gravitas. One assumes the team won’t change up the formula too much in The Equalizer 2, and why would they? A long-running formulaic action series is a great retirement plan for an older actor like Washington.
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