‘Equalizer’ Director Antoine Fuqua on Denzel Washington’s Work Ethic, ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake

It’s been 13 years since Antoine Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to an Academy Award playing a cop gone bad in “Training Day.”

Now the two collaborators are back in business together with “The Equalizer,” a blood-drenched vigilante thriller that received an enthusiastic reception at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday night.

“He directed a couple of movies and it takes a couple years to make a movie,” said Fuqua. “I’ve directed a couple of things. Before you know it, the years go by. We kept looking for the right thing. He called about this one, it happened to be the right thing.”

Their next teaming won’t be as long in coming. Fuqua confirmed that he will be partnering with Washington on a remake of “The Magnificent Seven.” Fuqua said part of his attraction to working together is Washington’s aversion to the trappings of stardom.

“Denzel’s all about the work,” he said. “He’s all about the acting. He’s an actor. He’ll tell you himself, ‘I’m not a movie star, celebrity, something else, I’m an actor.’

“He steps on a set that’s what he is and that’s what he gives you,” he added. “He gives his heart.”

In “The Equalizer,” Washington plays a former special operative who is dragged back into his killing and bad guys disposing ways when the Russian mafia sends a young prostitute to the ICU. The audience inside the Roy Thomson Hall cheered loudly as Washington cooked up grisly ways to dispatch his adversaries using kitchenware, household appliances and power tools. A scene where a corkscrew becomes a particularly memorable instrument of death received some of the loudest applause.

“It’s better than the Harry Potter ride in Orlando,” producer Steve Tisch joked to Variety before the premiere.

His fellow producer Jason Blumenthal said the film is a form of wish fulfillment.

“In a world where a lot of injustice gets all the attention, it’s nice to see a movie where someone is doing something about it,” he said.

Sony Pictures, which is distributing the film, reportedly wants “The Equalizer” to kick off a franchise, but the filmmakers are taking a more cautious approach.

“We just want to see this one work,” said producer Todd Black.

“The audience will tell us,” added Blumenthal.

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