Oh no, say it isn’t so: Omnimystery News reports that Denzel Washington has been cast as covert agent-turned-urban vigilante Robert McCall in a big-screen adaptation of the 1985-1989 CBS-TV series The Equalizer. That role was originated by former Shakespearean actor Edward Woodward (who died in 2009). The blog adds that “Sony [Pictures] is moving forward with production, looking to start on-location filming in Boston next April.”
Now, I have nothing against Washington as a performer; I liked him a lot in Glory (1989), Philadelphia (1993), and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), and I even remember him fondly from television’s St. Elsewhere (1982-1988). But he’s dead wrong to play Robert McCall. One of the most compelling things about Woodward’s portrayal of that sophisticated and quietly menacing New York justice-seeker was that he didn’t immediately come off as a tough guy. However, Washington has spent a good portion of his movie career playing tough guys, whether in Training Day or Man on Fire or American Gangster. It won’t be so easy for him to make theater audiences believe he doesn’t relish the opportunity to crack a few heads now and then.