2 Guns

One of the many projects that David O. Russell’s attached himself to and then detached himself from over the past several years is 2 Guns, an adaptation of a graphic novel by Steven Grant. He originally had Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in mind for the lead roles, as two undercover federal agents who don’t realize the other is a lawman.

The picture fell into Baltasar Kormákur‘s hands after Russell left, with Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington starring. While Kormákur’s version doesn’t look quite as hilarious as Russell’s sounded, it’s retained an appealing streak of buddy-comedy humor that sets it apart from the other grim, gritty thrillers at the multiplex.

The film opens later this week, and Universal is making one last push with a final red-band trailer. Watch it after the jump.

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Denzel Washington Safe House Header

Briefly: Having Denzel Washington attached to star in the movie version of your yet to be published first novel isn’t a bad place to be. The actor could end up starring in Shovel Ready, a sci-fi thriller based on the forthcoming 2014 novel by Adam Sternbergh, who is culture editor at the New York Times Magazine.

There might be a similarity to Man on Fire; while the book takes place in a dystopian sci-fi future, it centers on “a garbageman-turned-hitman who opts to protect a young woman instead of killing her.” (Deadline also says part of the background includes people using “a virtual reality program to escape the catastrophic destruction of New York City.” So is there a little Virtuosity in this, too?) Regardless, there’s obviously some good potential here. And details on the book are pretty thin, since it doesn’t drop for six months, so there could well be a lot to separate it from the aforementioned Denzel films.

Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloë Grace Moretz has never been one to shy away from edgy roles, starting with her breakthrough turn as violent, foul-mouthed Hit-Girl in 2010’s Kick-Ass. Even so, her latest gig is bound to raise some eyebrows.

The 16-year-old actress will play a young prostitute in The Equalizer, Antoine Fuqua‘s big-screen adaptation of the ’80s TV series. Moretz joins Denzel Washington, who leads as a retired secret agent with a dark past. Hit the jump to find out how Moretz wound up with the part.

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2-guns-trailer-header

2 Guns obviously isn’t a thriller, because it gives up the basic mystery right off the bat: apparent bank robbers Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Marcus (Mark Wahlberg) are really undercover agents, each of which doesn’t realize the other is also a lawman. Forced to team up after being disavowed in the wake of a messy operation, the two get into the sort of comedic action shenanigans that powered the mid-’80s career of Mel Gibson.

Director Baltasar Kormakur worked with Wahlberg on Contraband. (Which remade Reykjavik-Rotterdam, in which Kormakur starred.) This trailer suggests something a bit more fun, as it displays what seems like a deep love (or an abiding envy) for the films of Shane Black. It also suggests real silliness, as evidenced by what could be a very entertaining appearance from Bill Paxton, who drawls lines like “have I properly incentivized you?”

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Antoine Fuqua

Paul Haggis, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Rupert Wyatt have all been attached to Sony’s The Equalizer at one point or other over the last few years. Now it’s Antoine Fuqua‘s turn to try and take the helm. The filmmaker has entered early talks to reunite with his Training Day star Denzel Washington for the action thriller, which is still hoping to shoot later this spring.

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Briefly: Sony and Denzel Washington want to make a new/updated version of the classic ’80s TV series The Equalizer. It’s pretty easy to see why, as the role of a former intelligence agent who offers his skills pro bono to people in need seems like something that could very easily blend Washington’s appeal with modern economic concerns to achieve some of the same popularity of a film like Taken.

But getting someone to direct the film hasn’t been a quick process. The project has been in development for a while, but since Denzel came on it has seen the director’s chair occupied for a while by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson). He moved on earlier this year. More recently, it looked like Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) would make the film. But schedules didn’t work out, and Wyatt moved on. That leaves Sony looking for someone new.

Wyatt has a couple other big projects to do: he’s directing some TV (the pilot of Turn, for AMC) and just landed Nicholas Hoult to play the lead in his film adaptation of the novel Birdsong. [Deadline]

Three Universal Pictures comic book adaptations are getting shifted around the release schedule.

  • R.I.P.D. will still be released on July 19, but now it’s officially in 3D.
  • Kick-Ass 2 moves back from June 28 to August 16
  • 2 Guns moves up from August 16 to August 2.

Read the latest plot descriptions for each below. Read More »

Rupert Wyatt‘s plans to return for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes didn’t quite work out, but thanks to the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes he’s had plenty of other options to choose from. Now, he may finally have found his next film.

Wyatt has entered early talks to helm The Equalizer, Sony’s action thriller based on the ’80s TV series. Denzel Washington has been on board for some time now to play the lead, a retired secret agent who tries to redeem himself from an ugly past by helping people in need. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington have each done their fair share of action thrillers, but they’re only now teaming up for the first time in 2 Guns. Directed by Baltasar Kormakur based on the graphic novel by Steven Grant, the film follows a DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence agent who are investigating each other.

An earlier incarnation of the project had David O. Russell looking to direct with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the lead roles, but now that the more comedic trio has been replaced by Kormakur, Wahlberg, and Washington, the movie looks like a straightforwardly gritty affair. Check out the first image after the jump.

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That didn’t last long. Right at the end of last year word hit that Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson) had taken up interest in directing Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. The film is meant to reinvent the ’80s TV show that starred Edward Woodward as a former black ops agent who begins to work pro bono for people in need. He creates a classified ad: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.” The script is by Richard Wenk and an April 11, 2014 release date is already penciled in.

If the idea of Refn making this sort of big, broad action thriller seemed a bit strange, you could look at it this way: a Denzel movie is pretty much guaranteed to sell, and we’ve known that Refn had ambitions to make studio pictures, if only on his own terms. If he and the actor (who would certainly have a lot of input on the film) could see eye to eye, then it might be a scenario that worked out for everyone.

But things didn’t work out, and Refn has reportedly already exited the project. Read More »