Director Antoine Fuqua wants you to know that The Equalizer 3, the franchise's final installment, is indeed its swan song. “This is it,” Fuqua told EBONY during our sit-down interview. "Someone else has to take the reigns.”
But since it is the final iteration for Denzal Washing as Robert McCall, the retired CIA operative who is always ready to right a wrong with his unique set of deadly skills, he's making sure the final installment will leave a lasting impression by shooting in Italy and the Mediterranean.
I wanted to capture the texture and pacing, the grittiness of Naples, the beauty of the Amalfi coast and Rome, things like that,” Fuqua shared, adding that in this space, we witness McCall “going through his internal battles and seeing him discover a place that he feels like it could be home and a sense of peace, but he has to go through hell to get there.”
That trip to hell and back means the final chapter is bigger and bloodier than ever. "I enjoy the opening quite a bit. That was one of my favorites; some payback there," Fugua exclaimed over one of the most memorable scenes. "The ante is normally raised by the level of the bad guy. Their punishment, what they get for their behavior, has to be brutal. The wages of sin is death.”
There's also a character development shift in the third Equalizer. “It’s nice to see people surround [McCall] and embrace and help him in this one because in the other two movies, it was more about him helping everyone else,” he shared. “We wanted to make sure that we gave the people who are victims, if you will, their opportunity to be heroic as well.”
While it’s almost a given that Washington and Fuqua will work on more movies together in the future—they've done five movies together, including Washington's Oscar-winning turn in the 2001 feature Training Day—there is one genre you probably won’t see them tackle. “I don’t think either of us would be funny,” Fuqua chuckled when asked if their next film collab would be a comedy. “He might be. I’m certainly not.”
This dream team will hopefully resume work on a Michael Jackson biopic once the actors’ and writers’ strikes end. Until then, Fuqua has a contingency plan.
“I need to go to the Mediterranean and actually enjoy Italy this time. Maybe I'll do that: sit on a yacht with some vino and pasta in Positano. I’d be very happy with that.”
The Equalizer 3 opens in theaters on September 1.