Post Magazine

July/August 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 39

irector Antoine Fuqua has a gift for making highly charged emotional dramas and action films, and when he first collaborated with Denzel Washington on the acclaimed 2001 crime thriller Training Day, the result was a commercial and critical hit that won Washington an Oscar. They reteamed for the 2014 vigilante action thriller The Equalizer, which be- came a $200 million global box office hit. And now the pair have reteamed for the fifth time, on The Equalizer 3, following the 2016 reboot The Magnificent Seven and 2018's The Equalizer 2. The set up? Since giving up his life as a government assassin, re- tired CIA black ops operative Robert McCall (Washington) has struggled to reconcile the horrific things he's done in the past and finds a strange solace in serving justice on behalf of the oppressed. Now living a quiet life in Southern Italy, he discovers his new friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: be- come his friends' protector by taking on the mafia. Naturally the latest installment in the blockbuster fran- chise promises plenty of hyper-kinetic action and extreme mayhem — Fuqua specialties. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Fuqua, who was still deep in post production on the eve of its release, talked about making the film and his love of post. Successful sequels to hit films are notoriously difficult to make. What sort of film did you set out to make? "I tried to make the best story I could tell, that's very grounded, very real, and I wasn't thinking about the other two films. I just take it one movie at a time, and that's always been the way we ap- proach it. You don't want to make the mistake of repeating the same thing again, or just trying to top the last one. I think each movie should be able to stand on its own merits, and I wanted to give some more insight into McCall and his psyche, and where he is in the world today. He's feeling a bit lost and alone in the world, and looking for his place in the world." This is your fifth film with Denzel Washington. What does he bring to the mix? "He's the man! He brings intensity, hon- esty and a very high level of profession- alism. He also brings this deep sense of character in just who he is — a substance and a weight that only he can bring. And each time he always surprises me with the commitment and insight he brings to every scene. I think of the Equalizer character as like a dark angel and as someone with special skills who can help people get some justice, and Denzel makes you believe in him. I can't imagine anyone else in the role." What were the main technical challenges in pulling it all together? "Even though we were on-location in Italy, there weren't really a lot of technical challenges, except that where we were, in Amalfi, the roads are very narrow — and I don't speak Italian. So that leads to a whole lot of layering going on when I say things like 'Action!' You have to wait for the translator to tell you, 'We're ready to go.' All that takes a lot of time on-set. The other problem was that everywhere you go, there are so many steps. You're in these beautiful little seaside towns, but they're all steps. It was a big workout every day, especially when you're having to move all the equipment up 700 steps. When we arrived I asked how they were going to do it, and they said 'We use don- keys.' That turned out to be the crew." I assume you started integrating post and all the VFX on day one? "Yes, you have to, but there's not a whole lot of VFX going on in this movie. As usual, I storyboarded it all out first, and I really like real locations, and shooting as much in-camera as possible. Of course, when you're doing a big film like this on-location, there are VFX, but it was more about set extensions and fixing stuff in post rather than dealing with huge VFX set pieces. And the real loca- tions we used in Amalfi are so beautiful and stunning in real life that if you have to use VFX to enhance all that, you know you're doing something wrong." Did you do a lot of previs and postvis? "Not as much as I usually do, as far as the action goes, as this film is more charac- ter driven than the other ones. There's definitely a lot of action, so I did all the storyboarding and shot lists, but it didn't need much previs. The one big previs sequence I did was the big ending, and even that had more sketches and story- boards, as well as the animation that we did, but not the usual amount of previs." You reunited with three-time Oscar- winning DP Bob Richardson, who shot Emancipation for you. What did he bring to the mix and what was your approach to the look? "He's such a great artist and our process is finding the texture and look of the film based on the locations we're in. A big in- ANTOINE FUQUA — THE EQUALIZER 3 THIS DIRECTOR HEADS TO ITALY FOR HIS LATEST ACTION/DRAMA D DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 12 POST JULY/AUG 2023 BY IAIN BLAIR (L-R) Washington and Fuqua on-set during production.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - July/August 2023