EXCLUSIVE: A couple of intriguing developments have happened on The Equalizer. After a strong reading with Denzel Washington, Chloe Moretz is getting the offer from Sony Pictures to play the female lead in the drama that will re-team Training Day tandem Washington and Antoine Fuqua. At the same time, Michael Sloan, creator of the 1980s TV series, has made a deal to write an original novel for Thomas Dunne Books that will continue the adventures of Robert McCall, the shadowy character originated by Edward Woodward who’ll be played on the big screen by Washington.
Moretz is a surprise choice to play the role of Teri, in that the role was originally drawn for a twentysomething. After Moretz did a chemistry reading with Washington, he was very impressed as was everybody else, and the role will be redrawn for Moretz to play a young prostitute, reminiscent of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. Deal has to be made, but between this and the upcoming Kimberly Peirce-directed Carrie, that little girl from Kick-Ass is turning into a young woman who’s taking on some of the edgiest roles in town.
As for the the new book: It was acquired for the St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan Publishers imprint Thomas Dunne Books by editor Brendan Deneen, a movie-centric editor who also runs Macmillan Films and who also edits a line of bestsellers set in The Walking Dead universe. The novel will be published in early 2014 and focuses on the mysterious McCall, a former covert intelligence officer who helps desperate people who are in need of his unique and deadly set of skills. This sounds a bit like the terrific Luther prequel novel written by Neil Cross, creator of that BBC cop series that stars Idris Elba as the existentially tortured detective. Sloan’s book will be an original adventure for the Equalizer character, and not a novelization of the movie which Sony has set for an April 11, 2014 release of what the studio hopes will be the start of a franchise. Richard Wenk wrote the script and Escape Artists partners Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are producing along with Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Sloan and Tony Eldridge, with David Bloomfield exec producing. WME and 3 Arts rep Moretz. Sloan’s repped by Meyer Management.