Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Photo: Dave M. Benett/WireImage)The big-screen treatment of "The Equalizer" just got a hundred times cooler (and probably a hundred times more violent).
We pretty much shrugged off the news from around this time last year that Denzel Washington was going to star in the screen adaptation of the '80 television series. The show was okay and all, but it seemed beneath the two-time Oscar-winning actor, even though there seems to be a write-off like "Safe House" for every critics' darling like "Flight" in his filmography.
However, "The Equalizer" is now officially on our must-see this, as Nicolas Winding Refn has signed on to direct the film, according to Deadline.
In case you've forgotten (and you probably have), "The Equalizer" starred Edward Woodward (also perhaps a bit too good for the material) as a retired CIA operative who served as something of a one-man "A-Team" for people in trouble, utilizing a bunch of really cool weapons and gadgets as he battled terrorists, stalkers, rapists, hit men, corrupt cops, mean landlords, you name it. The series ran for four seasons on CBS from 1985 to 1989.
It's probably safe to assume that Refn got the job by someone at Sony seeing "Drive," the director's ultra-hip cult crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling which at least aesthetically has been compared to music-heavy, neon-soaked '80s-era action hours such as "Miami Vice" and "Hill Street Blues." Hey, why not see what he can do with an adaptation of an actual '80s show, right?
Refn will probably be bringing a lot more than just pretty retro images and sounds to "The Equalizer," though. The director has a knack for conjuring a sense of dreamlike mystery and danger (and often a lot of blood) in his films, which also include the Viking tale "Valhalla Rising" and the hard-hitting prison drama "Bronson." He's got a definitive vibe and style that turn what would otherwise be straightforward genre flicks into striking pieces of pop art.
Washington himself must be thrilled with Refn signing on to "The Equalizer," as the "Unstoppable" star is probably hoping to start a lucrative working relationship with another action director with a strong sense of style upon the death of his frequent collaborator, Tony Scott. We'll see if Refn-Washington ends up being as good a team as both Scott-Washington and Refn-Gosling.
And speaking of Refn-Gosling, their latest collaboration, "Only God Forgives," will hit theaters sometime in 2013. Production on "The Equalizer" will commence in April.
See the trailer to 'Drive':