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Nicolas Winding Refn Teams With Denzel Washington For ‘The Equalizer,’ ‘Only God Forgives’ Hits May 23rd

Nicolas Winding Refn Teams With Denzel Washington For 'The Equalizer,' 'Only God Forgives' Hits May 23rd

We can’t quite say we saw this coming. As Nicolas Winding Refn puts the finishing touches to his “Drive” follow-up, “Only God Forgives,” many had assumed that he would move on to his “Logan’s Run” remake with BFF Ryan Gosling. But the actor recently departed the project, and one perhaps suspects that Refn’s lost his taste for the film as a result, as word’s been very quiet on it late. But it looks like the director’s next film will be a studio movie after all, rather than I Walk With The Dead with Carey Mulligan. But it won’t be The Button Man,” a thriller set up at DreamWorks, and it won’t be “Logan’s Run.”

Instead, Refn’s teaming up with a major A-lister, taking the helm on Sony‘s remake of 1980s TV series “The Equalizer,” which will star Denzel Washington. Back in the summer, he was one of a number of directors mentioned in connection with the project, along with Pierre Morel, Gavin O’Connor and Gareth Evans, and Refn beat them all, along with F. Gary Gray, to the gig.

The series, which starred Edward Woodward, focused on a man who works as freelance “fixer” in order to make up for his dark past, and the film started out as a possible team up for Paul Haggis and Russell Crowe, before moving on to a script written by “The Expendables 2” writer by Richard Wenk (ruh-roh…). It’s been a priority at the studio for a while, having been set for a 2014 release for a while now.

With his most frequent collaborator, Tony Scott, passing away in the summer, Washington might well be on the lookout for a new director to team up with, and while they might seem like an odd pairing at first, we can imagine Refn’s brutal and beautiful stylization fitting in right at home with the kind of film that Washington — riding high on the success of “Flight,” and heading for an Oscar nod — makes. We can’t say it’s the kind of film that would usually get our pulses going, but with Refn in charge, we’re certainly a lot more interested than we were before, particularly if the director gets to take a run at the script first.

Oh, and “Only God Forgives” seemingly now has a May 23rd release date, so we could well be looking at a Cannes premiere for the film. “The Equalizer” hits theaters on April 11, 2014. [THR]

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