While Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington team often, Equalizer 2 marks the first sequel for each. “He’s a mysterious character,” Fuqua said of Washington’s problem solver Robert McCall. “You don’t really get to see these types of films where you have an amazing actor like Denzel Washington playing a role like this; where he is a superhero but very grounded and very real.” Fuqua and producer Jason Blumenthal spent a few moments with Deadline before presenting the film to the CinemaCon crowd.
On the possibility of further expanding the Equalizer universe, Blumenthal told Deadline: “We hope it keeps going. We hope that the character has an audience that keeps wanting to see him. And then it becomes ‘how long does Denzel feel like playing that guy.'” McCall also hinted at potential spinoffs saying there might be a moment for Denzel to pass the baton further down the line. “We need more Robert McCalls,” said Blumenthal. “If we have the fortune to have a successful sequel — which I think Antoine and Denzel made a better film than the first — we’ll have the audience hopefully wanting more from these guys and more from that character.”
Exhibitors were treated to an extended clip on which reintroduced Washington’s character McCall, on a train in Turkey confronting a mob boss who “kidnapped his own daughter and took her away from her American mother.” McCall, in one of his Equalizer signature moves, sets his timer and begins to take out the thugs in quick succession.
“You’re going to see Denzel the way you want to see him,” Fuqua told Deadline.
Speaking about the theme of this new chapter, Blumenthal deemed it stresses the concept of justice and pointed out that women, in particular, would connect to this film. “Women aren’t as keen to really hardcore violence unless there is a purpose and a reason behind it. When we tested [the new] movie — and the action is even more extreme than the first one — what we found is that women are off the charts in terms of their recommendations and how much they love [the movie].
He added: “The reason is because of what Robert McCall is doing and who he’s doing it to…people that truly deserve that form of justice. I think women understand, especially the time we’re living in now, that justice is something that everyone is fighting for but women are standing up really strong and really saying it’s our time for justice.”
Fuqua said in choreographing the depiction of violence, “we try to be careful about it but it’s an action movie, an entertainment, so we stay in our lane there. But we’re responsible, we all have children. We do try to be conscious of that. In the movie, there is a powerful moment where Denzel delivers something that deals with gun violence.”
The Equalizer 2 opens in theaters July 20.