Collider reports that Sony wasn't able to close the deal with Refn to have him direct "The Equalizer" starring Denzel Washington. Based on the 1980s TV series which starred Edward Woodward, the story focuses on a man who works as a freelance "fixer," as he tries to atone for his dark and mysterious past when he worked for an outfit known as The Company. The project has been brewing for a while now, with Paul Haggis and Russell Crowe once set as director and star.
There's no word yet on who will step in, but we'd wager a decision will have to come soon if Sony wants to keep things on track for a 2014 release. Plans are still afoot to begin lensing in May, and as for Refn's exit? No specific reason was given, but that spring start date seems like it could have been a scheduling crunch, but he'll likely clear things up soon enough.