Equalizer 2: Not a Sequel for Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington again plays vigilante Robert McCall in The Equalizer 2, but he doesn’t consider the movie to be a sequel.

“You know, everybody keeps using that word — sequel,” the Oscar winner said at the film’s premiere last night at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Instead of thinking of it as a sequel, Washington explained, “It’s a story without an ending and it’s open-ended, so here we are.”

The action-packed drama finds McCall working as a Lyft driver (more on that in a second) whose life is uprooted when his longtime colleague (Melissa Leo) is killed while investigating a political hit job in Brussels.

Washington breaks plenty of bones, slashes throats and more to avenge his colleague’s horrific murder.

“He’s great at it,” director Antoine Fuqua of Washington’s action skills. “He boxes every day. He could still move and do his thing.”

Writer Richard Wenk said there were times that he was nervous watching Washington on set, especially during a scene that takes place in a hurricane. “It was pretty harried to film it,” he told THR. “But he loves it.”

Moonlight star Ashton Sanders joins The Equalizer franchise as a young man Washington tries to save from gang life.

“He is on his way,” Fuqua gushed about Sanders. “I saw him in Moonlight and he was great. Denzel reminded me about him after they met on the SAG Awards red carpet. Ashton was excited to meet Denzel and said, ‘I’m going to work with Denzel Washington one day’ and Denzel said, ‘Yup, I’ll see you on set.'”

“I think Ashton got a part for Roman Israel, Esq., but he got hurt so he couldn’t be in it,” Fuqua said. “So when this part came up, Denzel said “You should check him out.'”

Sanders recalled his first day on set. “I’m a bit nervous, man, but I was ready to work,” he said. “Obviously he’s a master at what he does. It’s every actor’s dream to work with Denzel so it’s bit nerve-racking, but you kind of shake that off after a while because you start doing what you’re there to do.

“Denzel made me feel very comfortable,” Sanders continued. “Our friendship off camera is an extension of what you see onscreen. He’s kind of a mentor to me in the film.”

The cast and crew already have plans for a third Equalizer. While Washington said whether they make another movie is “up to the people,” Wenk said, “I have the third film all in my head. It starts right from the end of this one.”