Nicolas Winding Refn Suggests You Should Lower Your Expectations For 'The Equalizer,' Plus NSFW New 'Only God Forgives' Clip

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by Cain Rodriguez
May 22, 2013 1:20 PM
14 Comments
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With "Only God Forgives" screening this morning at Cannes (read our review), it's clearly Nicolas Winding Refn day here at The Playlist. In the shadow of the success of the new film's predecessor, 2011’s “Drive,” one of the more surprising moves the director made was signing up for an adaptation of the TV show “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington set to star, before just as suddenly bailing on the project. While no specific reason was given for his exit at the time -- Sony was unable to close the deal with Refn -- the director has hinted at the reason for his departure.

In an interview with the LA Times, Refn said that he’d “rather make a good movie that breaks even than a bad movie that makes money.” Coyly, Refn elaborated “Let’s put it like this: There’s a reason why I pulled out.” Yikes. And it doesn’t look like the studio has gotten the hint with Rupert Wyatt similarly joining and promptly exiting the project in under a month total. Script problems? An interfering star? Who knows?

With Antoine Fuqua now at the helm and already casting, what are the odds that he’s able to avoid the same pitfalls that scared his two predecessors away? Considering this would be his follow-up to “Olympus Has Fallen,” we don’t have high hopes. Meanwhile, off the back of this morning's screening and press conference, a new clip's arrived from "Only God Forgives" over at Crave. It's actually an extended version of a scene we've already seen a glimpse of, in which Kristin Scott Thomas (who seems to be the highlight of the film, if the buzz is to be believed) chews up both her son (Ryan Gosling) and his girlfriend (Yayaying). It's pretty entertaining; watch it below.


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14 Comments

  • Donella | May 24, 2013 5:22 PMReply

    I maintain that the Equalizer should have a woman cast as the title character.

  • Tom | May 24, 2013 1:19 PMReply

    Nice try, but eventually the truth will come out about why Refn was not signed to direct "The Equalizer" and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the script or the star.
    Just look at the team now involved with Equalzier then take a look at OGF.

  • Carol Olson Coote | May 23, 2013 5:59 PMReply

    Wait, wait, wait! My antennae just popped out. "The Equalizer" is one of the best scripts I have read in a long time. And I have no connection to this project, but this kind of story is maddening. I can imagine exactly why Nicholas Refn signed on to direct "The Equalizer." As a film adaptation it shares much of what must have been attractive about the script for "Drive." It is intelligent, unexpected, and "shows rather than tells" every single time. I don't think he would have signed on if it were otherwise so why publish his unfortunate and immature hints? And why follow that up with conjecture about Rupert Wyatt, which you turn into a curse against Antoine Fuqua's chances of success? We all know that scheduling conflicts with stars and directors are responsible for most changes. Why not go after the mindless tent pole scripts? Why take on a script that will make audiences thrilled to spend $12 once, twice, three times? This project, this script is good for Hollywood.

  • Chris | May 24, 2013 12:07 PM

    Because the great script you're referring to - as is so often the case - is likely being changed, streamlined and dumbed-down to make it more palatable or marketable. This happens all the time to great scripts.

  • Washington | May 23, 2013 5:40 AMReply

    Did you guys even read the article or just the the clickbait headline before running off toe make absurdly over the top comments

  • Alan B | May 23, 2013 7:06 AM

    Well, I read the original article and I don't understand how learning that Refn "wanted to kill God” should change anything.

  • Sven | May 23, 2013 12:50 AMReply

    Just saw OGF yesterday and I regret having seen so many clips from the movie before, it ruined the experenience (a bit). Still great but I wish marketing people would stop spoiling all the fun.

  • Northern Star | May 23, 2013 12:00 AMReply

    This is just Refn being a jerk and badmouthing a project he's no longer involved in... really bad form Nicholas! And as for 'The Equalizer' supposedly not being good, it's screenplay made the Black List of the best (at that date) unproduced scripts, so maybe he's totally wrong...

  • Alan B | May 22, 2013 8:23 PMReply

    That's an incredibly selfish thing that he did. He really threw his colleagues under the bus well before the film has been shot, let alone released. He's a grade-A asshole.

  • Daniel | May 23, 2013 1:08 AM

    Maybe. Personally I don't think it's selfish of him to give his opinion when asked. Does he think the movie is going to be shitty, based on his experience dealing with the players involved? Yes. Why shouldn't he say so? Because Antoine Fuqua will be annoyed? I guess it would be classier if he evaded the question, but myself, I think he gains points back for honesty. At the very least it's more truthful than citing nebulous "creative differences."

  • Alan B | May 22, 2013 9:54 PM

    I didn't say he COULDN'T say what he did, but merely - by doing so - it makes him a douchebag. You can make clucking noises on a train, you can scream at stranger, you can roll your eyes at other people - you can do all those things, but they are selfish things to do. He could have waited until the film was released until he gave the world insight into his interpretation. Instead, he shoots his mouth off with adolescent clichés about how he's THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO WANTS A FILM TO BE GOOD, "hey what they wanted to do was STUPID and bad and I wanted it to be GOOD, but they wanted it to be REALLY, REALLY BAD."

  • Daniel | May 22, 2013 9:15 PM

    Fuck that noise. He's not on Sony's payroll any more and can say whatever he damn well pleases about the project.

  • yer | May 22, 2013 1:45 PMReply

    "I just dropped a dud at Cannes everyone, lower your expectations." - Refn

  • Chris | May 22, 2013 2:05 PM

    If you had actually read the article, you'd have known that the lowered expectations for "The Equalizer" has nothing to do with Refn, because he pulled out of the project. But nice try.

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