Denzel Washington's Got Your Back As 'The Equalizer'

Sep 12, 2014
Two-time Academy Award®-winning actor Denzel Washington is a man constantly on the move. Never comfortable repeating himself or his successes, Washington always searches for new challenges through his numerous and varied film and stage portrayals. From “Glory” to “Cry Freedom”; from Shakespeare's “Richard III,” to “Training Day,” to his most recent critically acclaimed performance in “Flight,” Washington has amazed and entertained audiences with a rich array of characters distinctly his own.

Now, Washington stars in Columbia Pictures' action-thriller “The Equalizer” as the mysterious Robert McCall whose driving force is an innate sense of justice.

“Robert McCall has done a lot of bad things in his past, and he’s trying to get beyond that – he’s not proud of his past, and he’s trying to do better,” Washington explains. After leaving that past behind to lead a quiet life, he finds that desire for justice reawakened when a young girl – abandoned by the rest of the world – needs his help. “He didn’t like himself – he never lost his skills, he made a conscious decision to put that behind him. It’s when he meets an innocent young girl who is being abused, that he decides to do something about it.”

“McCall’s motivation is simple,” says Todd Black, a producer of the film. “When there is an injustice to an ordinary person, someone who can’t defend themselves, because they’re not capable or they don’t even know where to start, he will take care of it – violently or nonviolently.”

“We’d all like to believe that there’s a guy out there who could help us, if only we could find him,” says producer Jason Blumenthal. “If somehow we could reply to an ad on the Internet, desperately pleading for help when no one else would take that call. I’d like to believe that in my hour of need, somebody out there would listen to me – somebody would drop everything and help me, just because. And that’s the Equalizer.”
In his role as a producer, Washington worked with screenwriter Richard Wenk to realize the role he wanted to play. He says they kept asking the basic questions – “Who is he? What makes him tick? What are his flaws? What is he trying to get over? I think that long ago, he started out as a man who wanted to help people, and it turned into something else. He had to put that all behind him, to shut the door. And this young innocent opens that door again.”

Similarly, Washington felt great confidence in his director, Antoine Fuqua. “He’s very talented,” says the actor. “We sent him the material and he responded – we sat down and he had tons of ideas – and it was a done deal.” Later, on set, that confidence paid off. “Antoine had the vision for the film – he was doing close work with specialized cameras, all of that stuff. But I never worried about any of that. The camera is Antoine’s area of expertise – I don’t have to worry about that. I just worry about the acting,” he smiles.

Since “Training Day,” Fuqua and Washington have had several opportunities to re-team, but “The Equalizer” is the first that actually brought them back together. “We didn’t force it,” says Blumenthal. “It wasn’t ‘Let’s get the guys that did Training Day together.’ That’s not a reason to make a movie. I think Antoine was looking to make a movie where he could get back into character and really understand what makes a person tick. You can only build a great character if you’ve got an unbelievable actor, and of course, we had Denzel. So the challenge then became finding a character that Denzel could sink into and a world that Antoine could bring to life.”
Opening across the Philippines in October 01, 2014, “The Equalizer” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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