Movie bosses at Sony Pictures are so confident Denzel Washington's new action thriller The Equalizer will be a big hit, they are forging ahead with plans for a sequel, months before the film hits theatres.
The trailer for Training Day director Antoine Fuqua's latest project debuted online over the weekend (24-25May14) and studio executives at Sony were so charged by the fan feedback, they've commissioned writer Richard Wenk to start work on a follow-up. The Equalizer stars Washington as a former intelligence officer who clashes with Russian mobsters as he helps to save Chloe Grace Moretz's distressed character.
The film is based on the hit 1980s TV series of the same name, featuring Edward Woodward. Washington's film is scheduled to hit cinemas in September (14).
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Denzel Washington has signed up to star in an upcoming big-screen adaptation of the 1980s series The Equalizer.
The Oscar winner will play the lead role in the film, about a secret agent looking to make amends for his sinful past.
No director has been confirmed yet, but Richard Wenk -- who recently wrote the scripts for The Mechanic and the soon-to-be-released Expendables 2 -- will pen the screenplay.
Click on the image below to see more photos of Denzel Washington!
CBS Films, to date, has been unsuccessful in crafting a hit. The relatively new studio, headed by President and CEO Amy Baer, released a pair of duds this year (Extraordinary Measures and The Back-Up Plan) and have the Dwayne Johnson-topped Faster and the Vanessa Hudgens fantasy romance Beastly scheduled for an October 2010 and March 2011 bow, respectively.
Today, the studio adds another picture to it's 2011 slate as it announced the acquisition of Millennium Films' The Mechanic. The movie is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson flick, which centers on a hitman teaching the trade to an apprentice who has a connection to one of his mentor's victims. Jason Statham and Ben Foster star in the violent thriller, which is now planned for a Spring 2011 release. Simon West (Con Air) directed the film from a screenplay by Richard Wenk and John Lewis Carlino. Irwin and David Winkler and Robert and William Chartoff produced.
"We look forward to working with the CBS Films team on releasing this movie," stated the elder Winkler and Chartoff, who also produced the original film. "CBS Films possesses a refreshing, constructive energy and we are excited with their game plan to bring this exhilarating film to audiences." CEO Baer added: “The right acquisitions have always been a part of our plan and in The Mechanic we have a strong intelligent action thriller.”
It's a smart move on behalf of CBS Films, which desperately needs a hit. Both of it's 2010 releases were rather unimpressive, with The Back-Up Plan barely recouping it's production budget and turning just a slight profit after global grosses factored in. Extraordinary Measures was a true flop - bringing in just $15 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. That kind of track record doesn't ensure that the company will be around for too long, but with The Mechanic, it has an opportunity to potentially garner a solid return on it's investment, which should be relatively small as it did not produce the picture. We'll see if Statham still has what it takes to open a picture on his own, since Foster - though easily the better actor - is hardly a box-office draw and director West hasn't been relevant since the 1990s.
Source: CBS Films