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Denzel Washington Eyed For Big Screen Adaptation Of 'The Equalizer'; Paul Haggis & Russell Crowe Move On

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 13, 2011 at 3:59PM

Well, here's an update to a project we sort of totally forgot about. As you might remember, over a year ago it was announced that Sony were looking to bring the hit 1980s series "The Equalizer" to the big screen with Paul Haggis in talks to write the project for his pal Russell Crowe (they had just wrapped up "The Next Three Days"). Well, that iteration won't come to pass, as in Sony's announcement today about their extended first look deal with the production shingle Escape Artists, they reveal another actor may take the part.
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Denzel Washington The Equalizer

Well, here's an update to a project we sort of totally forgot about. As you might remember, over a year ago it was announced that Sony were looking to bring the hit 1980s series "The Equalizer" to the big screen with Paul Haggis in talks to write the project for his pal Russell Crowe (they had just wrapped up "The Next Three Days"). Well, that iteration won't come to pass, as in Sony's announcement today about their extended first look deal with the production shingle Escape Artists, they reveal another actor may take the part.

No stranger to the Escape Artists offices, having starred in their remake of "The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3," Denzel Washington is now "in mind" to star. The television series combined elements of the spy and private investigator genres, and followed an aging man (played by Edward Woodward) who offers his services as a 'fixer' free of charge in an attempt to atone for a mysterious past working for an agency referred to only as The Company. It was noted for the guest stars (Macaulay Culkin, Kevin Spacey, Christian Slater and John Goodman among them) who went on to later fame, as well as a killer theme song by The Police's Stewart Copeland. Unfortuantely, the thoroughly uninspired choice of with Richard Wenk ("16 Blocks," "The Mechanic") to write the script pretty much dooms any chance of this being anything above a dumb action movie. Oh well.

But the project fits in Escape Artists' wheelhouse where they balance out big dumb blockbusters ('Pelham') with lower key dramatic stuff ("The Pursuit Of Happyness," "Seven Pounds"). The project is likely one of many on the actor's plate as he usually has a few options on the go at any minute, but he's certainly been no stranger to B-movie fluff. So we could see this happening. Anyway, here are the rest of the projects the production company has in the works from the press release. [via ComingSoon]

Escape Artists has several other projects currently in development with Sony Pictures, including:

- "Sex Tape," with Nicholas Stoller attached to direct and Jason Segel attached to star

- A feature film adaptation of the hit 1980s television series "The Equalizer," to be written by Richard Wenk. The project is being developed with Denzel Washington in mind to star and Alex Siskind is partnered with Escape Artists to produce. Washington previously starred in Escape Artists' "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" and starred in and directed "Antwone Fisher" and "The Great Debaters" for producer Todd Black.

- "Masters of the Universe," based on the popular Mattel toyline, which the company is developing for Columbia Pictures.

- "How To Disappear Completely," written by Ed Solomon and based on the Swedish film "Vitus."

The company also has projects set up at other studios, including:

- "I Want to _ Your Sister," a comedy written by Melissa Stack which is set up at Paramount Pictures.

- "Rumspringa," a comedy written by Shauna Cross set up at Fox 2000.

- "Gospel for Teens," based on a "60 Minutes" segment that will be produced with Chris Meledrandi and Illumination Entertainment at Universal.

This article is related to: Denzel Washington, The Equalizer


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