There were three TV shows that defined my experience of the 1980s more than all others: Knight Rider, Airwolf, and THE EQUALIZER. But there was something about the sophisticated style of THE EQUALIZER, together with the solitary and monastic character Robert McCall (played by Edward Woodward) that distinguished it from the others.
THE EQUALIZER ran on CBS from 1985 to 1989, and although I was only 10-14 years-old I can remember thinking to myself: “That is the coolest fucking guy in the entire universe.” For months now, the producers of the film version have been carefully narrowing down the list of potential directors, and yesterday it was announced that Nicolas Winding Refn is the man for the job. Nicolas, of course, is the genius behind DRIVE, and if that’s not enough to give you the tingles then consider the fact that none other than Denzel Washington himself will be taking on the role of McCall, the former covert operations officer of the unnamed U.S. Government intelligence organization known as “The Agency”. As fellow fans of the series remember, “The Agency” is heavily implied to be the CIA, and McCall is the remorseful figure who tries to atone for past sins by offering, free of charge, his services as a troubleshooter (often literally), a protector, and an investigator. People in need find him through a newspaper ad which famously reads: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer. 212 555 4200”.
Earlier this year Denzel lost his close friend and long-time collaborator Tony Scott, and as Oliver Lyttelton The Playlist wrote yesterday, “Washington might well be on the lookout for a new director to team up with, and while they might seem like an odd pairing at first, we can imagine Refn’s brutal and beautiful stylization fitting in right at home with the kind of film that Washington — riding high on the success of ‘Flight,’ and heading for an Oscar nod — makes.” You can read the full story by visiting The Playlist. Nicolas Winding Refn’s THE EQUALIZER is slated for release on April 11, 2014.