Director Rupert Wyatt Leaves ‘The Equalizer’ Movie Adaptation

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 6th, 2013 at 8:48 pm,

The Equalizer Rupert Wyatt Director Rupert Wyatt Leaves The Equalizer Movie Adaptation

The Denzel Washington-starring adaptation of the 1980s television hit The Equalizer just can’t catch a break. The film’s infamously troubled road to production was originally a project re-teaming Paul Haggis (Crash) and Russell Crowe (Les Miserables), but soon faced script rewrites and the departure of both its director and star. Nicolas Winding Refn (Only God Forgives) was briefly attached to direct, but soon bowed out and was replaced by Rupert Wyatt (fresh off his success with Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

Now, it appears that Wyatt himself has declined to direct The Equalizer. Citing scheduling conflicts, Wyatt has left an empty director’s chair for Sony Pictures to fill just two weeks after his initial consideration.

Deadline has shared that Rupert Wyatt has stepped down from directing duties on The Equalizer because of intervening projects to which he has already committed. One of these commitments is the pilot for the AMC Revolutionary War-era spy drama, Turn. He is also set to direct the movie adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel, Birdsong.

Wyatt’s departure leaves a massive gap in a production that was supposed to begin shortly. With an intended release date of April 2014 and a cast still in need of filling, Sony Pictures will need to move quickly and decisively to keep The Equalizer fully on track.

Airing from 1985 through 1989, The Equalizer originally told the story of an ex-CIA agent who became disillusioned with his work and quit to form a private detective agency. In a one-man reflection of The A-Team (which would in turn be riffed on by Burn Notice), agent Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) spent each episode lending his expertise to people in impossible situations. Just how the film adaptation will approach this material is unknown.

The Equalizer Edward Woodward Director Rupert Wyatt Leaves The Equalizer Movie Adaptation

Edward Woodward in the original ‘The Equalizer’ television series.

It’s difficult to guess who will next be approached to take up The Equalizer‘s reins. Refn and Wyatt have rather different directorial styles, so there’s no way to figure out what tone the production is shooting for. Will The Equalizer be a dark, pulp-influenced thriller or a slick action-adventure film? Denzel Washington has covered both sorts of films ably. What director, then, would be best-suited to steer the tale of a spy-turned-PI? And can Sony secure his or her services in time for an unrushed production?


The Equalizer was originally set to open in theaters on April 11th, 2014. If a new director can’t be locked down soon, it won’t be surprising if we see that date move forward.

Source: Deadline

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Too bad, this was a cool show back in the 80′s.

    Some how I just can’t see Denzel playing the character though. When think of the show and the character, I think of maybe a Liam Neeson type or a Tomas Jane or a William Patton, or even possible a Samuel Jackson or Lawrence Fishburn.

  2. Denzel is a good actor, and probably could pull this off. however, the original character was white, and while I am not biased in the least, I think they should stick with a white actor as was in the original concept. Oh, as a total reboot, it could probably work with a black actor, but frankly, would you want a white guy in a reboot playing Michael Jackson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Luke Cage (Power Man), or Black panther? No, I thought not. A black Electro? A black Heimdall? Black Nick Fury? No, no, and no. All actors of good caliber, excellent, in fact, but I am just saying, no matter which way it turns from which racial background, keep the whites white, the blacks black, quit trying to be “politically correct” (a contradiction in terms), ultra-liberal, integrated, or anything else. And again I reiterate, no, I am not racially biased in the least. And for those of you who think it matters–and I don’t think it does, yes, I am white.

    • I shouldn’t come to your defense, as you are not well stated, but I believe what you are attempting to convey is that, because Edward Woodward was the prototype, and he made such an impression in the role, we have come to associate the character with a refined and sophisticated Englishman, and therein, the character should stay. If this was your intent, then I would agree. I don’t know if Denzel could convince as being an Englishman, and he just doesn’t impress as being refined or sophisticated, either. Just too much of a stretch.

  3. I can’t blame the director for dropping out. Great TV show, and could be a great movie, but not with Denzel Washington. Yes, he’s a great actor, but not for this role, in my opinion. Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Gerard Butler, or Liam Neeson, among others, would all be better cast.

  4. I was quite looking forward to this but I’ve come to realise that Denzel has kind of done all he can do now as an actor, all his roles lately have been quite similar and he’s turned into bit of a parody of himself

    Denzel enters room, says something Denzel like, people respond, Denzel leaves room, Denzel cracks a Denzel smile and walks that Denzel walk, close scene

    He’s done every role, played every part, done the good guy, done the bad guy, done the innocent guy, done the guilty guy, I think it’s time he just retired and went out on a high before be becomes Bruce Willis/ Nic Cage / Robert De Niro et al

  5. How about Daniel Craig? He could pull it off.

    • for sure on that one. But wouldn’t we all just be thinking “Bond, James Bond”?

  6. After having seen Denzel’s last 2 movies I believe he could pull this off w/o a problem. The original series did not have over the top action scenes. He’s not an action star in the vein of Willis or Stallone. He relies on his acting abilities. That alone will forever separate him from anyone else.

  7. You have a greenlight and a proven box office/Academy Award winning star; and with this you STILL can’t get things going on the movie? This sort of impasse never fails to fascinate.

    Essentially, Denzel Washington has played various roles, if not in every genre of film; but to say he has now entered the winter of his career (like Sidney Potier, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, et al.) is a tad premature, to say the least.

    As for his race…while I would agree Superman, Tarzan, James Bond, and quite a few other comic/action-adventure icons should not change their skin color/ethnicity in the way they change their clothes, a modern black man is commonly British, French, German as well as American. Bias is to prefer a white actor in the role of THE EQUALIZER, but casting a black actor would not impugn the credibility of the character beyond one’s limited knowledge of the world, being a hardcore fan, or simply stuck in the 80′s.

    The real problem is Hollywood studios limiting their options to just those directors already accepted in their close-knit community — in finding no one (so far) interested/available to commit time/energy to such a project.

    There are non-white female directors and (non-South Korean) minority directors both inside and outside Hollywood: not unheard of for “first-time” directors to helm a major motion picture if they show competence, focus and enthusiasm (given that movies are a collaborative effort).

    If the film industry must always wait for a that familiar handful of writers/directors to get anything done, well, it’s not really an “industry” but a fraternity.

    NOTE: Whoever Sony might hired to direct THE EQUALIZER, Denzel must approve the choice and, no doubt, the script will have to be rewritten. A pre-packaged date for the movie will become the new problem.