EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of the opening of his latest film Olympus Has Fallen, director Antoine Fuqua is in early talks to re-team with his Training Day star Denzel Washington on The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. That is the film that has had a lot of helmers chasing after the script by Richard Wenk prompted the studio to expedite Washington’s deal and set a late spring start date, likely in Boston. The film is a smartly budgeted thriller based on the TV series that will come in around $50 million and is designed to launch the first franchise for Washington, who’s coming off an Oscar-nominated turn in Flight.
Fuqua directed Washington to an Academy Award for Best Actor in Training Day for his portrayal of a crooked cop who creates havoc for a recruit (Ethan Hawke) he’s supposed to be training to join an elite undercover force. It was a full out badass performance, and Fuqua and Washington have been looking to work together ever since. This certainly seems like a strong fit for the helmer whose recent films have included Brooklyn’s Finest and Shooter. The Equalizer is loosely based on the TV series that starred Edward Woodward as a mysterious former covert operations officer who helps people in trouble, and was created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. The film has that basic premise but takes off in its own way, tailored to Washington’s skills. He’ll play a solitary, monastic figure who hates injustice and devotes himself to helping people who are being victimized. The film is being produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Michael Sloan, and Tony Eldridge. David Bloomfield is exec producer.
The FilmDistrict release Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart in a drama about a terrorist attack on Capitol Hill. Fuqua is repped by CAA.