Would replace Refn to helm Denzel Washington pic

Though Rupert Wyatt wasn’t ready to rush into “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the helmer has his eye on his next gig, joining early talks to direct Sony’s “Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington.

Nicolas Winding Refn was in talks to direct but a deal could not be worked out, forcing Sony to act fast to pull off a spring start. Richard Wenk penned the script, which follows a former covert operations officer who hates injustice and fights for those who can’t. Created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim, the original TV series starred Edward Woodward.

Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch will produce for Escape Artists along with Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge, Michael Sloan and Washington. David Bloomfield will serve as an exec producer.

Sony has long been high on the potential franchise, which would be the first for Washington, whose films have consistently performed well at the box office. Par’s “Flight” has already grossed $82 million domestically on a budget of $31 million.

Wyatt is repped by WME.

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