Equalizer 3 – Behind the Scenes With Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, and Antoine Fuqua

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By Iron Man

Equalizer 3 reunites Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua, explores McCall’s inner conflicts, Italy’s beauty, and bids farewell to an iconic character.

The much-anticipated action thriller, Equalizer 3, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring the iconic Denzel Washington, has already hit theaters on September 1st. This film marks a significant milestone as it reunites Washington and Dakota Fanning on screen, who previously starred together in the 2004 hit Man on Fire. In Equalizer 3, Robert McCall relocates to Southern Italy, hoping to escape his troubled past. However, he soon discovers that his new friends are being terrorized by the Sicilian Mafia, leading him to unleash his formidable skills to protect them.

The journey of bringing Equalizer 3 to the big screen was no small feat. Let’s dive into the behind-the-scenes details that brought this action-packed thriller to life.

McCall’s Internal Battle

Antoine Fuqua, the director, sheds light on McCall’s internal struggle in Equalizer 3. He emphasizes the character’s quest for love and a sense of belonging in a new town. McCall’s battles are not just against external threats but also within himself. Fuqua describes it as a journey of self-redemption, where McCall grapples with the idea of doing what’s right, delivering justice to evil individuals, and helping those who can’t help themselves.

Fuqua states,

There’s an opportunity for him to possibly find love, find a home, what he’s missing is love and a home, um, not just with one person but with a town of people, so the opportunity for him to redeem himself if you will, and it’s not for anyone else but himself. He’s going through an internal battle, you know, doing the right thing, helping those who can’t help themselves, handing out Justice his way, to evil people.

Interestingly, the concept of The Equalizer series originated from a crime drama series that dates back to 1985. In this installment, Denzel Washington portrays Robert McCall, a retired intelligence officer with OCD tendencies, using his skills to save lives as a private detective.

Denzel Washington shares his thoughts on working with Dakota Fanning again, remarking on how they both grew since their first collaboration. He recalls watching her transition from a young actress to a grown woman, creating a unique dynamic on set.

Denzel Washington adds,

Now she and my daughter went to school together, you know, they were both at NYU, so I stayed in touch vicariously, that’s the right way of saying it, but um, um, it was weird, you know, because I’m like she’s a grown woman, she’s looking at me, I’m going, she was like a grown woman then.

Dakota Fanning, too, reflects on the experience of reuniting with Denzel after nearly two decades. She describes the sense of familiarity and excitement of working together once again.

Fanning states,

After all of these years, it has been almost 20 years, and I was quite young, but that’s not an experience that um, one forgets, and it was very interesting working with him again the second time. I felt the same like my body felt the same feeling that I remember feeling all of those years ago.

From Concept to Reality

The journey to bring Equalizer 3 to life began in 2018 when Antoine Fuqua announced plans to continue the franchise. Principal photography commenced on October 10th, 2022, in the picturesque Amalfi Coast of Italy. Fuqua shares a special bond with Denzel, where they understand each other’s creative instincts, making the filmmaking process seamless.

Fuqua adds,

Me and Bob, I don’t have to tell him what I’m thinking, I literally just happened to stay today I’m thinking something and I’ll hey Pop, you know he goes, you want to shoot the bag over here, and I was like yeah exactly, goes look at the camera he already moved it over there, you know, so things like that happen, he’s my brother man.

Filming extended through November 20th on the Amalfi Coast before moving to Naples in early December. The crew wrapped production in January 2023 in Rome. Denzel Washington expresses his appreciation for the unique Italian locations used in the film, from small towns to the bustling city of Naples.

Dakota Fanning cherishes her moments on set with Denzel, describing it as a dream come true for most actors to work with him not just once, but twice, in different stages of her life.

The Sequel to Man on Fire

Antoine Fuqua reveals why Equalizer 3 can also be considered a sequel to Man on Fire. He explains that Denzel Washington’s ability to adapt to different environments and situations makes each of his performances unique. The director reminisces about a conversation with Denzel where they realized that Dakota Fanning was the right age for her role in Equalizer 3, leading to her casting.

Denzel Washington emphasizes that this film is different from the first two in the series. It delves deeper into McCall’s personal struggles and the consequences of his actions.

Washington adds,

I think it’s very different for me, it’s very different than the first two films, I think it’s really much more personal.

A Grueling Climb

Equalizer 3 - Behind the Scenes

Dakota Fanning shares a challenging filming experience during a scene set in Atroni, which required climbing hundreds of stairs to reach a church. She commends the crew for their dedication in carrying heavy equipment up those steep steps, while she, fortunately, only had to carry herself.

Antoine Fuqua describes the awe-inspiring location, where simply walking up the steps to the church demanded slowing down to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

Fuqua states,

Immediately when we got there when I was scouting my whole body just sort of you just have to slow down and as you’re walking up the steps the steps to the church just like I don’t know 700 steps or something like that you have to slow down.

Farewell to McHall and What Lies Ahead

Equalizer 3 comes with mixed emotions as it marks Denzel Washington’s final portrayal of Robert McCall. The character has a complex past, but as Washington puts it, “every sinner has a future, every saint has a past.” The film explores themes of redemption and salvation, highlighting McCall’s journey towards opening his heart.

While Denzel Washington bids farewell to Robert McCall, he’s not slowing down in the film industry. He’s currently involved in two more projects: Gladiator 2 and The Piano Lesson, where he serves as a producer.

Antoine Fuqua emphasizes that Equalizer 3 is a deeply personal installment in the series, exploring McCall’s internal battles alongside his fight against the bad guys.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video on Filmonger’s YouTube channel to get an even closer look at the making of Equalizer 3 and the dynamic between the cast and crew.