Equalizer 3: Dakota Fanning Reunites With Denzel Washington for Sequel
Actress Dakota Fanning will be joining Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3 – reuniting the pair of stars for the first time since they did Tony Scott's Man of Fire back in 2004. The Equalizer 3 will also see Washington re-team with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua for a third time in this franchise, although the plot is being kept under wraps for now. The Equalizer has been a hit action B-movie series for Denzel, with the first Equalizer (2014) earning $192.3 million worldwide and The Equalizer 2 holding strong with $190.4 million. Both films were made on modest budgets of $60-80 million, making them good earners for Sony / Columbia Pictures.
As stated, Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning worked together on Tony Scott's Man on Fire, which hit movie theaters back in 2004. That film was something of a milestone in terms of establishing Dakota Fanning as a major young acting talent – it was also instrumental in helping transform Denzel Washington from dramatic actor into an action-genre star. The film was largely carried by the endearing interactions between Washington and the young Fanning, as the former played a hardened bodyguard who develops a soft spot for his young charge (Fanning), while working for her family in Mexico. When Fanning's character got taken, Washington got to showcase a violent Charles Bronson-style side of himself that fans largely had not seen at that point.
The first Equalizer movie was similarly built on the premise of Denzel's character – former Marine and DIA operative Robert McCall – having fatherly interactions with a young girl named Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), who was working as a prostitute for the Russian mob. The Equalizer 2 also had a younger character McCall bonds with, so it's kind of a staple of the franchise, at this point.
That all said: it's seems like specious reasoning to assume that Fuqua and Washington are interested in simply recreating the dynamic of Man on Fire, with Washington playing protector to Fanning's character. Fanning is much older now (age 28), and has had much greater variety in her roles since Man on Fire; it would almost be more fun to see Dakota Fanning play an antagonist to Washington's Equalizer – especially if they play on the memory and association of Man on Fire's legacy.
The Equalizer 3 is headed into production.