The Equalizer 3 Director Antoine Fuqua Considers De-Aging Denzel Washington for Origin Movie

Antoine Fuqua has "thought about" digitally de-aging his Equalizer star Denzel Washington.

Denzel Washington could be the next veteran movie star to get the de-aging treatment in a potential prequel to The Equalizer. In a new interview, franchise director Antoine Fuqua says he considered using the de-aging technology in The Equalizer 3 (in theaters September 1st) to flashback to a younger Robert McCall (Washington), an ex-government assassin-turned-vigilante who comes out of retirement to protect his friends from the Sicilian Mafia with the help of CIA analyst Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning). Speaking to NME, Fuqua explained how the controversial AI tech could be used to shave years off the 68-year-old Washington:

"I definitely thought about it a lot. Especially now with the new technology and the AI and all of that kind of stuff… Is there a story to be told about how [McCall] became this person – the younger version. I've had that conversation with [trilogy writer] Richard Wenk quite a bit," the Training Day director said. "I haven't talked to Denzel about that yet. It's all so fresh and new. I'm still watching [the technology]."

Disney's Lucasfilm de-aged an 80-year-old Harrison Ford for an extended sequence in this summer's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny after Martin Scorsese's Netflix film The Irishman used similar technology to digitally de-age stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci — with mixed results.

"I've watched Harrison Ford's film and I know there's other movies coming out. I think Sony has one coming out with Tom Hanks soon [Robert Zemeckis' Here]. And I'm hearing the technology is getting better and better and better. So I'm kind of watching it to see where it goes," Fuqua explained.

In the new movie, coming five years after The Equalizer 2, McCall 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. Finding himself surprisingly at home 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: become his friends' protector by taking on the mafia.

"The first film was about [McCall] finding a purpose. And it's very external, right? He's helping people," Fuqua said. "The second one is more about making peace with his past. He's betrayed by his friends and [his colleague] dies and his wife has passed away… And then this one is more of a moral dilemma because he's a darker character… he's struggling with the violence and the brutality [of his actions]."

The Equalizer opens only in theaters September 1st.