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Refn for The Equalizer film?

TheEqualizer.jpgA film version of The Equalizer has been on the cards for some time, in fact I first started writing about it in 2006 and it was soon after that it received a director and a writer, but through spits and starts we waited until a new writer in 2012 and now the eyes are turning to a director.

According to comments it sounds like there is a strong contender to direct the film version of the story that sounds like he could deliver something rather amazing.

Now I have to warn you that the name in question is in "early talks" and that does mean that things could change, remember that there isn't a deal ironed out, the guy has plenty of projects on the go and he could have his pick of projects so don't get too excited.

I also think that he could well view this film as being very close to one of his previous films, and that might be a negative for it in his final decision, but that's a way off yet.

The person in question, according to The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian is Nicolas Winding Refn, and the project I think he might consider this relatively similar to is Drive (Filmstalker review).

"Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer."

Thinking about the character from The Equalizer television show you could easily look to the character in Drive. We have a man who has retired from his life as an agent for some secret government organisation, an agent who was at the front end of operations and has turned his skills towards helping those who are in trouble as some way to make up for the things he has done in his past as part of his previous life.

It was way back in March 2006 that I first wrote about the intended film version of The Equalizer and it was only a few months later we heard that the director of Lucky Number Slevin, Wicker Park, Gangster No. 1 and The Acid House, Paul McGuigan was signed up to direct The Equalizer film.

Then in January 2007 it was stated that Michael Connelly, the famous crime writer, and Terrill Lee Lankford who is a collaborator of Connelly's, were going to be writing the script, a good combination.

It was a long wait until March 2008 to hear that Jason Statham had been approached by Harvey Weinstein to play the leading character, a younger version of the agent looking for self-redemption played by Edward Woodward.

It was sad to hear in November of 2009 that the great Edward Woodward had died, one small mercy was that he wasn't going to see his character turned into a standard action hero and delivered in a formulaic film plot.

September 2010 changed the game. Russell Crowe was rumoured as playing the leading role and the new scriptwriter on the scene, or rather all the scenes, was the excellent Paul Haggis.

All quiet again until January 2012 and we hear that the script and lead have changed hands again, Richard Wenk, who previously wrote The Mechanic (Filmstalker review), 16 Blocks (Filmstalker review), is writing the script and the lead is being taken by Denzel Washington.

Now that's all changed again as we hear that Nicolas Winding Refn is looking to take on the directing duties and Denzel Washington is still the man for the leading role.

I like this for a number of reasons, the first one is that Washington is spot on the money for the age of the role, the retired agent who wants to redeem himself for all the terrible things he's done in the past. Tired, weary, but just in control of an anger and power ready to explode, never having to resort to going over the top and doing just enough to do the job.

That and the style and restrained pace and action that Refn delivered to Drive just seems perfect for The Equalizer and you could almost interchange the two stories around the same character, just aging him somewhat. Now would that be a bonus or would Refn see it as something he's already done?



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