Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt might well have found his next film after stepping out of the Apes sequel. I’m told that he’s in early talks to helm The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. That is the film that has had a lot of helmers chasing after the script by Richard Wenk prompted the studio to expedite Denzel Washington’s deal and set a June start date, likely in Boston. The film is a smartly budgeted thriller based on the TV series that will come in around $50 million and is designed to launch the first franchise for Washington, who’ll be paid his customary $20 million.

The film is loosely based on the TV series that starred Edward Woodward as a mysterious former covert operations officer who helps people in trouble, and was created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. The film has that basic premise but takes off in its own way, tailored to Washington’s skills. He’ll play a solitary, monastic figure who hates injustice and devotes himself to helping people who are being victimized. The film is being produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Michael Sloan, and Tony Eldridge. David Bloomfield is exec producer. Wyatt’s repped by WME and Independent Talent Group.

A few things have to happen before Wyatt is locked. Though he stepped out of the Apes sequel, he has an option at Fox that has to be worked out with Sony. Wyatt is also booked to direct Turn, the period pilot for AMC, and is attached to helm Nicholas Hoult in Birdsong, an adaptation he scripted based on the Sebastian Faulks novel.

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