Equalizer 3 Director Reveals How Denzel Washington Watches And Gives Notes On His Movies

 Denzel Washington as Robert McCall in The Equalizer 3
Denzel Washington as Robert McCall in The Equalizer 3

Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua have maintained a strong working relationship for over 20 years at this point. The actor and filmmaker first had the chance to collaborate in the making of the Oscar-winning crime thriller Training Day back in 2001, and in the 22 years since then they have worked together to make a full Equalizer trilogy and the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven. It’s clear that both men feel they are part of a productive partnership, and Fuqua recently explained that their conversations about their projects together don’t stop on the final day of production.

Interviewing the filmmaker last month during the virtual press day for The Equalizer 3, I asked about the influence that Denzel Washington had on the movie in post-production – given the fact that he is not only plays the lead but is also one of the film’s producers. The director told me that Washington doesn’t make a habit of being personally involved and present when one of their collaborations is being cut together, but they do arrange a private preview screening for him so that he can offer his thoughts. Said Fuqua,

He doesn't with me; he's never coming to the editing bay or anything like that. We discuss the film once I get a cut that I think is good enough to show him. I'll show him, and we discuss whatever comments and things like that, and I go back into the lab and do my work and that's it. We've had that relationship since Training Day.

Denzel Washington, of course, is not just one of the most acclaimed and well-regarded actors of his generation (if not all time). He is also an experienced filmmaker, having made his directorial debut with Antoine Fisher the year after he first worked with Antoine Fuqua on Training Day. He surely has more thoughts to give on any of his films beyond his own personal contributions, so it’s understandable that Fuqua would value his input.

Expanding on how Washington watches the movies that they’ve made together, the director noted that he gets a proper big screen experience, and his screening is followed by a conversation where he offers his opinions. Fuqua explained that it’s valuable in part just because the actor comes to the feature with fresher eyes than his own:

He'll watch it, you know. He'll watch it in the theater normally by himself and he'll sit and watch it, and then afterwards, we'll meet and we just talk it through. You know, we just discuss it. But it's very focused and always fun – and it's great because I need it. Because I'm in it so deep and then it'd be great to see his eyes on it and get his thoughts, you know?

Featuring a cast that also includes Dakota Fanning (a special Man on Fire reunion), David Denman, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Remo Girone, Gaia Scodellaro, Andrea Scarduzio, and Andrea Dodero, The Equalizer 3 is now playing in theaters everywhere – with many critics calling it the best in the trilogy.