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YOUR FAVORITE VIGILANTE IS BACK! THE EQUALIZER 3 WITH DENZEL WASHINGTON

Senior Guide Staff

It’s true that older moviegoers have often preferred to avoid crowds and wait to see a film later, even before the pandemic. The rise of streaming services has only made the this trend more pronounced among adults aged 55 and older. They now have more options to enjoy content from the comfort of their homes. Therefore, it was impressive that The Equalizer 3 opened so well at the box office especially during the Labor Day weekend. Denzel Washington’s star power and his collaboration with filmmaker Antoine Fuqua seem to have drawn a strong audience, demonstrating that certain films and actors can still attract older moviegoers to theaters.
The Hollywood Reporter reported “The Equalizer 3 opened to a better-than-expected $42.8 million domestically at the Labor Day weekend box office. That’s a near record for the four-day holiday behind Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($94.7 million), released two years go.” So what’s the attraction to The Equalizer 3 for audiences?
Since giving up his life as a government assassin, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has struggled to reconcile the horrific things he’s done in the past and finds a strange solace in serving justice on behalf of the oppressed. Finding himself surprisingly at home in Southern Italy, he discovers his new friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends’ protector by taking on the mafia.
Columbia Pictures presents in association with Eagle Pictures, an Escape Artists / Zhiv production, a film by Antoine Fuqua, The Equalizer 3. Starring Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, and David Denman. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington, Antoine Fuqua, Steve Tisch, Clayton Townsend, Alex Siskin, Tony Eldridge, and Michael Sloan. Written by Richard Wenk. Based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. The executive producers are David Bloomfield, Tarak Ben Ammar, and Andy Mitchell. The director of photography is Robert Richardson, ASC AÄŒK. The production designer is Naomi Shohan. The editor is Conrad Buff, ACE. Music by Marcelo Zarvos. Richard Wenk is the co-producer.

ABOUT THE FILM
Robert McCall has done some very bad things in his life as a government operative, and ever since giving up that life, he has sought to balance his moral books. Using his skills on behalf of the dispossessed, abused, beaten, exploited, and oppressed, he has become the last ” and only ” hope for justice for many people who cannot help themselves.
In The Equalizer 3, the story reaches a conclusion. In the third and final film of the trilogy, it becomes clear that while working on behalf of the people who need him has provided Robert McCall with some solace, it still means that he is a man whose life is defined by violence ” and that cannot last. “He’s dealing with his demons,” says Denzel Washington, who reprises one of his signature roles. “It’s very different than the first two films; I think it’s much more personal. This movie is about his salvation and letting go of his past.”
“He’s going through an internal battle,” says Antoine Fuqua, who returns to direct the third film in the trilogy and fifth overall with Washington. “He’s helping those who can’t help themselves, handing out justice his way to evil people. But he’s questioning himself. Has he gone too far? Is he enjoying it too much? Is he still doing it for the right reasons?”
Producers Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal say that the reason that The Equalizer franchise has resonated so strongly with audiences is that it echoes with who Washington is in real life ” minus the violence. “Robert McCall is able to take care of good people who can’t take care of themselves,” they say. “Denzel, as a human being, really believes in mission-oriented goals; look at his work with Boys and Girls Club. I think it’s the same thing here with Robert McCall ” he uses his powers to serve good. He, as both Denzel and as Robert McCall, is going to make sure that the good people are protected. The fun of it is tracking them down ” he gives them all an opportunity to stop what they’re doing, and they don’t, and so he has to become the Equalizer.”
The trouble for McCall, says Washington, is that he’s become a little too enamored by that idea ” to his peril. “He has gotten addicted to this so-called ‘justice’ and crossed the line into unnecessary violence,” adds Washington. “He pays a price. And he has to deal with himself, and rely on others, and break out of his patterns, or he will die. Through that, hopefully, he finds peace.”
“What I wanted to explore was a man on the verge,” Fuqua continues. “McCall is on the verge of a question ” what else does he have to live for? His wife is gone; Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is gone. It seems like he does the right thing, but he’s constantly punished. And so I think he’s on the verge, and he has to think about what he’s going to do with his life.”
The Equalizer 3 brings Robert McCall abroad for the first time. “The plan was always that the third film would go overseas,” says screenwriter Richard Wenk. “I had never been to Italy, but I knew that Denzel spends a lot of time there. So, during the pandemic, I did a lot of research. I thought that Italy would be the place that McCall might end up finding a place for himself.”
“He comes to this little Italian village in Amalfi to find peace, and he does,” explain producers Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal. “He loves the people and he loves the tranquility, and then he sees things are awry because of the mafia.”
The idea of Robert McCall taking on the Mafia began with Wenk. As Black and Blumenthal explain, the way the mafia works in small towns in southern Italy was a perfect fit for a reluctant hero who knows he must sacrifice his own peace for the sake of the people he cares about. “Americans know all about the mafia through movies. But the mafia in Italy is not like the crime families we see in the movies. They are in small groups, taking over little villages,” say Black and Blumenthal. “When Richard came up with the idea of the mafia invading this small town, it really fit the story of Robert McCall. He is not going to have his peace and his people’s peace disturbed. And so, unfortunately, he has to go back to being the Equalizer.”
With Equalizer 3, Antoine Fuqua ties with the late Tony Scott as Washington’s most frequent collaborator with five films each. Washington says there are many reasons why he looks forward to reteaming with Fuqua: “His spiritual maturity, his collaboration, his humility, his eye,” says the actor. “There was never a question about his talent, his experience. We’re brothers ” I trust him completely, he trusts me, and I’m excited about our future together. The deeper he goes, the higher he’ll go, and I’m not talking about movies.”
Fuqua returns the compliment: “Denzel constantly surprises me because the environment changes. He’s like an athlete,” he says. “If Michael Jordan is playing against the Celtics, it’s one game. If he’s playing against the Lakers, it’s another game. Each situation Denzel is in, he’s so much in the moment of the character, that there’s times I’m discovering constantly, ‘What’s he going to do?'”
Watching Washington be “in the moment” of his character, in Fuqua’s words, is a unique experience. “I’ll go to Denzel to give him a note about something he did, and he’ll literally ask, ‘What did I do? What did I say?’ He’s so in the moment. So I tell other actors that they have to be in the moment with Denzel. Your instinct has to be heightened and you have to really listen. You can’t come in with preconceived ideas, because that won’t work. It’s just like a dance ” Denzel will stick to the intention of the scene, but you must move with him.”

ABOUT DENZEL WASHINGTON
Denzel Washington (Robert McCall / Producer) is a native of Mt. Vernon, NY, and graduated from Fordham University, where he majored in drama. He is 68 years old, born December 28, 1954. He spent a year at San Francisco’s prestigious American Conservatory Theatre before beginning his professional acting career. Since then, Washington’s unforgettable performances have garnered him two Academy Awards®, three Golden Globes, and countless other awards.
Washington received his first Academy Award® for the historical war drama Glory (1987) and his second for his portrayal of the corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001). Washington won a Tony Award for his performance in “Fences” during his return to Broadway in 2010.
Washington’s professional acting career began in New York, where he performed in theatre productions such as “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” and “Othello.” He rose to fame when he landed the role as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the NBC long-running hit television series “St. Elsewhere.” His other television credits include “The George McKenna Story,” “License to Kill,” and “Wilma.”
As Washington crossed over into the world of film, he garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of real life figures. He earned his first Oscar® nomination for Cry Freedom (1987) as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. From there, he went on to portray Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane (1999), football coach Herman Boone in in Remember the Titans (2000), poet and educator Melvin B. Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007), and drug kingpin Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007). A few of his other beloved credits include Much Ado About Nothing (1993), A Soldier’s Story (1984), Crimson Tide (1995), Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), and Inside Man (2006).
In 2016, Washington starred in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences. In addition to producing and directing the adaptation, Washington reprised his original Tony Award-winning role alongside Viola Davis. The film received four Academy Award® nominations, including Washington for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. His other latest films include Unstoppable (2010), where he reunited with director Tony Scott for the fifth time, 2 Guns (2013), where he starred alongside Mark Wahlberg, and The Equalizer (2014), an action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua; he reprised his role in 2018 for The Equalizer 2, marking the first time Washington had ever done a sequel. In 2016, Washington teamed up with Antoine Fuqua again for an exciting remake of The Magnificent Seven, which also starred Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.
Washington returned to the stage in 2018 when he starred in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh,” which was directed by George C. Wolfe. His performance garnered him a Tony award nomination.
He also recently starred in Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq., for which he received multiple Best Actor nominations.
In 2016, he was selected as the recipient for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, cementing his legacy in Hollywood. He most recently was honored with the AFI Life Achievement award, one of the highest honors for a career in film.
Washington recently produced Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix, directed by George C. Wolfe, with cast including Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, and Colman Domingo. The Warner Bros. thriller The Little Things recently starred Washington alongside Rami Malek and Jared Leto.
Most recently, Washington directed A Journal for Jordan starring Michael B. Jordan and headed the Joel Coen-directed The Tragedy of Macbeth alongside Frances McDormand, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination for Male Actor in a Leading Role.
Next up, Washington is producing The Piano Lesson.

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