The Equalizer | EW.com

Movies

The Equalizer

THE EQUALIZER Denzel Washington

THE EQUALIZER Denzel Washington (Scott Garfield)

Fans of the ’80s TV series The Equalizer probably won’t even recognize Denzel Washington’s take on vigilante justice-seeker Robert McCall. Remove the slick Jaguar and add a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, for starters. The movie version of McCall — a mysteriously agile home-store employee who takes it upon himself to rescue a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) from Russian mobsters — was tailored to suit Washington. Director Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen), who first worked with Washington in his Oscar-winning turn as LAPD Det. Alonzo Harris in 2001’s Training Day, knows the actor well. ”It’s always character, character, character [with him]. Then you build your action and drama around that.” Discussing this film, Fuqua says, ”Denzel had mentioned something about OCD — it was personal to him, a relative or something — and we started riffing off of that.”

The actor and director, now friends, share a boxing coach, which came in handy for the intensely violent hand-to-hand combat scenes. Washington’s McCall favors table legs and corkscrews over guns and knives. ”He hasn’t missed a beat,” says Fuqua of his 59-year-old star. ”He’s still in there training every day, going six or seven rounds.”