After making waves with his sophomore feature, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Rupert Wyatt may now have found his follow-up project in The Equalizer.
After exiting Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel film currently slated for a 2014 release, Deadline report that Wyatt is now in early talks to take the helm for The Equalizer, which will see Denzel Washington take front and centre in the big budget version of the original TV series.
Washington came on board the adaptation back in December 2011. And we had heard back in December last year that Nicolas Winding Refn was in talks to take the helm. But when he ultimately decided not to come on board, the search continued at Sony, and reports suggest it’s been a hotly-contested job.
And now Sony and Escape Artists could well have found their director, if talks proceed well with Wyatt.
Wyatt would be directing from a script penned by Richard Wenk (The Expendables 2, 16 Blocks).
The film is said to be loosely based on the original TV series, in which Edward Woodward starred as a former covert operations officer who helps people in trouble.
“The film has that basic premise but takes off in its own way, tailored to Washington’s skills. He’ll play a solitary, monastic figure who hates injustice and devotes himself to helping people who are being victimized.”
Sony are looking to get this one started sooner rather than later, with a start date set for June, likely in Boston. There’s a potential here for a clash with Wyatt’s schedule, which currently includes directing Turn, a period pilot for AMC, and the Sebastian Faulks adaptation, Birdsong, starring Nicholas Hoult.
If all does go well, however, we should be able to look forward to seeing Wyatt team up with Washington for a theatrical release in 2014. And given Washington’s status, you can probably bet it’ll be Summer 2014.
The plan is to stick to a $50m. budget ($20m. of which is earmarked for Washington), and that sounds like a very solid figure for Sony to see handsome returns on. And if all goes well, the plan is set this up as a franchise-starter for Washington.
Wyatt’s talks are still early yet, and it sounds like there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out before anything gets signed. But the prospect is certainly an interesting one, to see him take the helm for The Equalizer. With a June start date set, we’ll hopefully have a concrete decision soon. More as we get it.