Nicolas Winding Refn Exits Denzel Washington-Starring ‘Equalizer’ Adaptation

Nicolas Winding Refn

Looks like fans of 1980’s crime television series The EqualizerDenzel Washington, and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn are going to have to recalibrate their expectations, as the helmer has just dropped out of the Washington-starring feature adaptation of the show. Collider exclusively reports that “the deal fell apart at the last minute due to unknown reasons,” though it seems fair to suspect that scheduling could be an issue – Sony still wants to shoot the film in May, and Refn will surely be busy promoting his Only God Forgives around that time (the film opens on May 23) and gearing up for both his Logan’s Run remake and Button Man adaptation.

Washington signed up for the part way back in July, with Refn coming on board just last month. Washington remains attached to the project, and Sony is reportedly looking for a new helmer to get the project in front of cameras this spring. Like the show, the film will focus on Robert McCall (Washington), a retired intelligence agent who dabbles in private eye work, with a special flair for “equalizing” the odds for clients who come to him with complicated problems.

The film features a script by Richard Wenk, who is currently working on that Grayskull script and most recently penned The Expendables 2. Wenk also, amusingly enough, co-produced The Girl Next Door and directed one episode of the Sweet Valley High television show back in the ’90s. Suddenly, we’re insanely excited about his Equalizer.

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for,,, Vulture,,, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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