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Nicolas Winding Refn Teams With Denzel Washington For 'The Equalizer,' 'Only God Forgives' Hits May 23rd

by Oliver Lyttelton
December 7, 2012 3:42 PM
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Nicolas Winding Refn, Equalizer

We can't quite say we saw this coming. As Nicolas Winding Refn puts the finishing touches to his "Drive" follow-up, "Only God Forgives," many had assumed that he would move on to his "Logan's Run" remake with BFF Ryan Gosling. But the actor recently departed the project, and one perhaps suspects that Refn's lost his taste for the film as a result, as word's been very quiet on it late. But it looks like the director's next film will be a studio movie after all, rather than "I Walk With The Dead" with Carey Mulligan. But it won't be "The Button Man," a thriller set up at DreamWorks, and it won't be "Logan's Run."

Instead, Refn's teaming up with a major A-lister, taking the helm on Sony's remake of 1980s TV series "The Equalizer," which will star Denzel Washington. Back in the summer, he was one of a number of directors mentioned in connection with the project, along with Pierre Morel, Gavin O'Connor and Gareth Evans, and Refn beat them all, along with F. Gary Gray, to the gig.

The series, which starred Edward Woodward, focused on a man who works as freelance "fixer" in order to make up for his dark past, and the film started out as a possible team up for Paul Haggis and Russell Crowe, before moving on to a script written by "The Expendables 2" writer by Richard Wenk (ruh-roh...). It's been a priority at the studio for a while, having been set for a 2014 release for a while now.

With his most frequent collaborator, Tony Scott, passing away in the summer, Washington might well be on the lookout for a new director to team up with, and while they might seem like an odd pairing at first, we can imagine Refn's brutal and beautiful stylization fitting in right at home with the kind of film that Washington -- riding high on the success of "Flight," and heading for an Oscar nod -- makes. We can't say it's the kind of film that would usually get our pulses going, but with Refn in charge, we're certainly a lot more interested than we were before, particularly if the director gets to take a run at the script first.

Oh, and "Only God Forgives" seemingly now has a May 23rd release date, so we could well be looking at a Cannes premiere for the film. "The Equalizer" hits theaters on April 11, 2014. [THR]

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  • KT | December 8, 2012 12:43 PMReply


  • BEF | December 8, 2012 10:37 AMReply

    Here's to a burgeoning 2013 Refn - Washington man crush; what a great pair.

  • Uzzi | December 7, 2012 5:07 PMReply

    great pair!

  • jon | December 7, 2012 4:58 PMReply

    I have high hopes for this pairing. Heard the script is good.

  • Christian | December 7, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    So, Refn's first studio gig... Can't wait, Denzel is great.

  • Brandon | December 7, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    Actually the version of the script that I read was pretty fantastic already.

  • Ken | December 7, 2012 5:00 PM

    I would love to get a hold of that.

  • Lou | December 7, 2012 4:05 PMReply

    This might be the greatest news I've ever heard.

  • d | December 7, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    Actually seems like a good pairing.

  • hank | December 7, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    can't wait for the set pictures showing a confused denzel trying to take direction from a dude with a shower curtain wrapped around his waist.

  • tyrannosaurus max | December 10, 2012 7:42 AM

    YES. I second that.

  • Ken | December 7, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    Weird. That's all I have to say.

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