There’s a lot of interest in “The Equalizer,” not just for it being an adaptation of the famed CBS 1980s TV show but because it could well be the launching pad for a franchise led by Denzel Washington – something the actor has studiously avoided over the years.
Producer Todd Black, who was a key element in getting the project made, tells Screenrant that the movie won’t be watered down:
“You’re going to see a very hard R movie. It’s called The Equalizer and it’s about a guy who takes care of people who either can’t or don’t know how to take care of themselves because they’ve been done wrong by really bad people.
And he takes care of those people that have such a wrong doings it done to them. And he gives the bad people a chance to rectify it at every turn. And when they don’t take him up on his chance he violently, violently takes care of them in a way that they will never breathe again.”
Black says they had debates about how much of the backstory of Denzel’s character Robert McCall they should give away in this first film and ultimately left a bit of a mystery around certain elements such as McCall’s late wife. He does confirm that McCall has OCD, something that served him well in his former job but proves a bit of a struggle in everyday life.
One surprise, McCall apparently never uses a gun in the movie as he’s strictly anti-gun – as a result he has to use whatever is around him. Asked if Denzel is committed to the idea of a second movie at this point, he says:
“You know, we’re all committed to do a second movie until there isn’t a second movie. I mean if it works and the audiences like it and it works critically and financially, I’m sure Sony and Denzel and all of us will want to do a second movie, but you never go into these thinking that because you never know. So you do have to satisfy certain questions that are necessary to answer in case there isn’t a second one, but you hope for a second one.”
The writers worked for eight months on the script, tailor making it for Denzel. The resulting script was handed to Denzel. Within three days he was onboard, within two more Sony was as well and had given the project the official green light.
Finally there’s the original 1980s series. Black confirms they went after the rights to it for two things – the title and the basic concept. As a result, they weren’t “hung up on what the show was and all the machinations of what Robert McCall did or didn’t do and what his backstory was.”