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After doing a terrific job reinvigorating a dying franchise with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, director Rupert Wyatt made the ballsy decision to step down from directing the sequel because he didn't feel like he could meet Fox's hasty release date. (Cloverfield helmer Matt Reeves eventually took over.) We've been anxious to see what Wyatt will do next, and though he's had a few projects percolating since then, it seems like he may have finally found his next gig. Deadline reports that he's in talks to direct The Equalizer, the Denzel Washington action movie that Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn vacated last month.

Once set to be a reunion piece for Russell Crowe and Paul Haggis, The Equalizer gained Denzel as its leading man in late 2011 and has been sputtering through development ever since. The film is a riff on the 80s television show of the same name, featuring a solitary former special ops badass who helps people in need. Refn was attached for just over a month before he bailed, but with a June start date looming, the search for a director is obviously a key priority for Sony Pictures. Deadline says that Wyatt has "an option with Fox that has to be worked out with Sony" before he this deal can officially go through, so I guess these negotiations will reveal if there's any bad blood between the studio and its previous Apes director.

While Wyatt's hiring doesn't bring quite the same excitement as we'd have if Refn stayed in the director's chair, we're still looking forward to whatever he does next since he made such a great impression with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Teaming with Washington for a modest thriller could be a solid next step in his career, but to be frank, I wouldn't be disappointed if this entire project fell apart completely and everyone moved on to other things. The premise just doesn't sound very compelling, but if we're being optimistic, maybe Wyatt can add some style to the proceedings and give it some flair. As it stands now, The Equalizer is set to hit theaters on April 11th, 2014.


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Denzel Washington wouldn't be my first choice for an special ops badass who helps people in need.

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