Denzel Washington To Revive “The Equalizer”

The title sequence from the original TV series.

One of my favorite shows as a teenager was The Equalizer, a crime drama about a retired government operative named Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) who starts his own business helping people for whom the justice system has failed. While that sounds like typical Hollywood tripe, the strong scripts and Woodward’s superb portrayal of the titular character turned it into a gripping and very successful show that lasted for four seasons. The famous theme song, a highly percussive electronic composition, was composed by Police drummer Stewart Copeland, whose father had reportedly worked in the intelligence community.

Now, according to Deadline, Sony Pictures is planning to revive The Equalizer in a feature film starring Denzel Washington that is slated to start shooting next April. “Washington’s deal is being closed right now and I’m told he’ll be getting his customary $20 million price,” reported Deadline editor/contributor Mike Fleming, “but that this is a smartly budgeted thriller that will come in around $50 million and is designed to launch the first franchise for the actor. Now, directors are lining up for the job. I’ve heard names on the studio’s list that include Pierre Morel, Nicolas Winding Refn, Gavin O’Connor and Gareth Evans. Insiders tell me that the studio is just now setting meetings and that there will be a bunch of them before a director is set.”

Is Washington (left) ready to follow in Woodward’s footsteps?

Further, the film will be “loosely based” on the TV series but will be “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.”

I generally detest TV remakes and reboots as I feel people should leave well enough alone. Part of the charm of the original series was that it spotlighted a smart, sophisticated middle aged man kicking ass and taking names on a regular basis (while still staying on the good side of the law). The angry middle aged man dispensing his own justice has become a popular movie trend in recent years, so it’s not quite as ballsy an idea as it was back in the vigilante days of Death Wish and Dirty Harry, but the Equalizer concept does tap into the current zeitgeist. Washington will be only three years older when this film comes out than when Woodward first took on the role, and the actor has been successful in mid-range action thrillers like Safe House, The Book Of Eli and Inside Man. He certainly possesses the swagger and attitude required for the role.

Let’s just hope that, beyond the filmmakers not screwing it up, the new version inspires people to watch the original series again. It’s still classic.

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