Director Antoine Fuqua expresses that he’s “going to miss” Robert McCall portrayed by Denzel Washington.
The third installment of the big-screen action franchise was a success, earning the second-highest box office of all time for Labor Day weekend releases. Washington reprises his titular role as retired government assassin Robert McCall, this time starring alongside Dakota Fanning, his co-star from 2004’s Man on Fire.
@footballguy82 shared two photos of the pair 19 years apart, remarking how great it is that Washington hired Fanning to co-star with him in Equalizer 3:
Thats awesome. Denzel hired Dakota Fanning for Equalizer 3. 19 years later after doing Man on Fire. 💯 pic.twitter.com/6xN8warM41
— Mr. Wholesomething (@footballguy82) August 27, 2023
According to director Antoine Fuqua, who also directed the 2014 and 2018 versions, tells PEOPLE this latest installment is slated to be the finale of a trilogy. (Washington, 68, previously hinted that this is the “end” of his Equalizer stint).
“Never say never. I’m going to miss Robert McCall. I think it was a great character, my hero,” says 57-year-old Fuqua. “But it feels like it’s the last one.”
Could there be a spinoff or prequel in the works someday for audiences? “That will be up to the studio,” he remarks. “But that would be very cool, I think.”
From all of Fuqua’s films, he frequently hears about Equalizer the most from fans.
“People come up to me all the time. They love Robert McCall. I think it has to do with justice. People want justice, and obviously in a movie you get to see that happen,” says Fuqua. “He’s a everyday-person hero.”
Fuqua claims that he and Washington have had a great working relationship since 2001’s Training Day, which also garnered Washington an Oscar.
“We have our rhythm and our process,” he continues, saying, “That doesn’t really change. It gets better along the way, I think. Easier in a sense that we have a shorthand. We do a lot of work beforehand, just getting together and talking over some dinner or lunch. By the time we get to the set, me and Denzel, we already know where we’re going, at least the basic intention, and then we develop it from there.”
“We leave room for creativity,” says Fuqua, “but that’s been our relationship since the beginning.”
In Equalizer 3, Robert McCall is recuperating from an injury in a little town in Italy, where he quickly settles in. His peaceful new life there is jeopardized, though, when a mafia family attempts to take over. McCall, the vigilante, fights back to protect the locals.
According to Fuqua, Washington was yet again up for the challenge and expectations of an explosive action film.
“Denzel boxes every day, and he’s always in great shape,” says the director. “He was ready for almost anything. Both of our knees were killing us though, because of all the cobblestone. I would come down, he’d be like, ‘You got some ice? I got some Advil here.’ It was like two athletes almost, older athletes sitting on the sideline with ice on their knees.”
“But, you adjust, obviously, because we all age,” Fuqua adds, “but there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do that I asked him to do.”
@ComplexPop shared a short clip featuring Fuqua expressing how Denzel Washington said “What? I love Dakota.” upon finding out Fanning “was interested” in working on the movie. “It really was really one of my favorite things to do”:
Antoine Fuqua says it was “miracle” reuniting Denzel Washington & Dakota Fanning for the first time in nearly 20 years for ‘THE EQUALIZER 3.’ pic.twitter.com/m77gWyFOzM
— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) August 31, 2023
The Equalizer 3 is now in cinemas.
Watch the official 3-minute Red Band trailer for The Equalizer 3 to get a glimpse of all the gore and action-packed sequences you can expect from the movie: