Hot off the barrel of the smoking gun that is Antoine Fuqua‘s The Magnificent Seven–which opens this Friday with Denzel Washington in the lead–is news that the director/actor duo will be reuniting for The Equalizer 2. Producer Todd Black confirmed the news during a Q&A, moderated by our own Steve Weintraub, after Collider’s recent IMAX screening of The Magnificent Seven.
While we knew that Washington would be returning for his first sequel and hopeful franchise role with The Equalizer 2, Fuqua’s confirmation as a returning director is welcome news. Additionally, the film’s current release date of September 29, 2017 is clearly going to have to be pushed back since it looks like the sequel will begin shooting around that time. In between now and then, expect a new nemesis to be cast for Washington’s heroic character to tangle with.
Here’s the status of The Equalizer 2‘s pre-production schedule, according to Black:
BLACK: The script is done. We start shooting right after Labor Day, maybe right before Labor Day depending on Denzel’s schedule. So Equalizer 2 will start shooting in September of next year, maybe earlier depending on another movie that we’re shooting with Denzel before that. We’re going to do a little bit more work and we’re going to go into casting right after that for his nemesis.
Is Antoine coming back?
BLACK: Yeah! He better!
Who wrote the script?
BLACK: Same writer, Richard Wenk.
Black followed up with a behind-the-scenes story about how Washington came to be taking on his first franchise role:
BLACK: It helps when you know him really well and you tell him at a nice expensive lunch that this could be his franchise. He’s always wanted to do a franchise, and he liked the Bourne movies, the earlier ones. I’ve had a friendship with him for 27 years and we’ve talked about him doing a franchise character, so when my partners and I got the rights to Equalizer, we were like, “Let’s get Denzel to finally do one. This could be the one.” It was never made as a movie and a lot of people didn’t know it was a TV show … but you’ve probably heard the title. He liked the title and I said to him, “Let us write it for you and if you like the script, great; if you don’t, we’ll go get another actor.” So he signed up for that and it worked.
And here’s a bit about the difficulties of shooting in IMAX and whether or not an IMAX release for Equalizer 2 is in the works:
BLACK: We talked a lot about the IMAX format for [The Magnificent Seven]. It’s expensive. Antoine wasn’t quite comfortable with that, nor were the studios. We did talk about it a lot. We continue to talk about it for Equalizer 2. He has a whole thing that he’s planning on Equalizer 2 with this new effect that he’s doing, which I can’t talk about, but it’s frickin’ so cool you won’t believe it.
You can see Fuqua and Washington’s work in this weekend’s The Magnificent Seven, and be sure to keep an eye out for Washington’s latest directorial effort Fences this Christmas. Look for the full IMAX post-screening Q&A with Todd Black on Collider soon.