'Drive' Director Nicolas Winding Refn Eyes 'The Equalizer' with Denzel Washington

Nicolas Winding Refn may direct The Equalizer with Denzel Washington

We've been expecting to hear that director Nicolas Winding Renf has dropped the Logan's Run remake, ever since his Drive leading man Ryan Gosling officially stepped away. There's not yet been a concrete update on whether Refn has indeed left the sci-fi project; however, it might be safe to assume as much, given that he's now in talks to direct The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington.

Sony heads are reported to be quite pleased with the most recent Equalizer script draft penned by Richard Wenk (co-writer of The Mechanic and Expendables 2). Hence, the studio has fast-tracked the project for a Spring 2014 release date - meaning this is going to be the next film Refn makes, following the release of Only God Forgives (which reunites him with Gosling).

Equalizer is based (or, rather, 'inspired by') the 1980s television series, which was co-created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim and starred Edward Woodward from 1985-89. However, Wenk's screenplay is described as more standalone in nature; that is, it retains the basic premise of a longer protagonist who devotes his time to helping victimized people - but refashions the main character to play to Washington's knack for portraying "solitary, monastic" types.

Coming Soon is reporting that Refn has just started "early talks" to sign on and director Equalizer, so there remains a reasonable chance that someone else could end up walking away with the job. Such a 'replacement' candidate could come from Sony's previous shortlist of filmmakers, which includes Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption), Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) and Pierre Morel (Taken), among others. We should have a more definite answer soon enough, seeing how the project is deadlocked to begin principal photography by April next year.

Denzel Washington in Robert Zemeckis' Flight

Washington is generating Oscar-buzz for his turn as a troubled pilot in Flight (read our review). He could end up appearing in multiple Equalizer installments down the line, should the first film prove a sufficient box office success. In fact, there are a number of parallels between Equalizer and this month's Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher - not just in terms of franchise potential, but the respective tone and archetypal protagonists featured in the dual action-thrillers.

However, having an auteur with pronounced artistic sensibilities at the helm (like Refn) could result in Equalizer being much better than Jack Reacher. That also goes for having Washington in the lead, even though Cruise remains the bigger box office draw. Lastly, the Equalizer budget is 'only' going to be around $50 million (even with Washington's salary), so that should allow Refn more creative freedom than a higher-investment project would. In other words: if Refn signs on, it would be a good harbinger for the final film result.

The Equalizer is scheduled to reach theaters on April 11th, 2014.


Source: Coming Soon

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