After spending years in development hell, Sony's theatrical reboot of The Equalizer is finally poised to hit theaters this fall. Will it be worth the wait? Sony certainly seems to think so, as the studio is already prepping a sequel.
Sony's Equalizer reboot has traveled a long, winding road on its way to finally getting made. Russell Crowe was originally in talks to star, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis was floated as a possible director for the project. After Crowe and Haggis bowed out, Denzel Washington then came on board to play the titular character. Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn was then set to take over as director but that plan didn't work out either. Then Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) assumed the helmer's chair (only to bow out quickly).
That all leads The Equalizer to its present day status as an almost completed film, starring Denzel, and directed by his former collaborator Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). The Equalizer enters wide release in September, and according to The Wrap, the current cut of the film is testing through the roof with focus groups. As a result, Sony now thinks that it has a franchise-worthy success on its hands, and has wasted no time in locking in screenwriter Richard Wenk to pen another installment.
Washington is also expected to end up reprising his role in The Equalizer 2, although nothing has been agreed upon between he and Sony (at least not publicly). In an interesting side note, Washington has never before appeared in a direct sequel during his illustrious career. That's a distinction quite rare for an A-lister nowadays, and points to how famously choosy the actor can be when deciding what projects to work on. His entire filmography may not all be winners, but Washington has never felt pressured into films that he didn't personally believe in - or to work with directors he didn't respect.
For those unfamiliar, The Equalizer was a CBS drama that aired from 1985-1989. It starred English actor Edward Woodward as former covert intelligence officer Robert McCall. Eventually growing tired of a life of espionage and morally questionable deeds, McCall chose to begin using his unique set of skills for good, offering services free of charge to those in need. Potential clients located McCall through the following classified newspaper ad: "Odds against you? Need help? Call the Equalizer. 212 555 4200." No word on whether 2014's Equalizer will communicate through an ad on Craigslist.
While it's certainly not unheard of for an unreleased film to receive a green light for a sequel, the fact that Sony is this pleased with The Equalizer's progress is definitely a good sign for its box office prospects. Denzel is an inspired choice for the lead role as well, fully capable of playing both the pathos involved in McCall's quest for atonement, and the authoritative presence necessary for The Equalizer to strike fear in those who threaten his clients. Not to mention the fact that Mr. Washington is a proven box-office draw, with 2013's action/comedy 2 Guns coming out of seemingly nowhere to claim #1 at the box office, and more than double its production budget in ticket sales.
The all-star supporting cast of The Equalizer also includes names like Chloe Grace Moretz, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo, as well as emerging talent like Haley Bennett and Marton Csokas. Between Denzel and his back-up, it's easy to see why Sony has such high hopes for the film. For their sake, let's hope they aren't misplaced.
The Equalizer hits theaters on September 26, 2014.
Source: The Wrap