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With 'The Equalizer,' Russell Crowe will look to set things right

June 15, 2010 |  4:14 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe has been on the business end of some rough news lately, first some mixed response to, and results for, his "Robin Hood," and then that scurrilous Web rumor that he'd, um, died. (The report had him falling off an Austrian mountaintop -- it was the usual hoax.) He could use a man like Edward Woodward's character from "The Equalizer" to help him out.

Now Crowe will have the chance to call on just such a man. Actually, he'll do one better:  he'll have the chance be that man.

The actor has attached himself to play Robert McCall, the mysterious agent made famous by Woodward in the 1980s CBS crime series. Fans of the series will remember that McCall's background was murky -- he once worked for a top-secret agency, where he did some pretty horrible things -- and we watched him every week in his new, repentance-minded guise, righting wrongs for the persecuted by settling scores with their persecutors (and assorted miscreants).

Crowe will be seen in another character-driven thriller -- the kind of role in which he excels -- when he unites with Paul Haggis in the thriller "The Next Three Days," in which he plays the husband whose wife is wrongly accused of murder. Crowe is also loosely attached to some other films, but does not have a new movie lined up.

Mired for years in development at the Weinstein Co., the cinematic reimagining of "The Equalizer" now is with a group of high-level producers: industry veteran Mace Neufeld ("Hunt for Red October" and a slew of action hits), who's actually been involved for a while; Adam Sandler collaborator Alex Siskin; and Escape Artists, the company that produced action movies like "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" and darker films like "Seven Pounds." There's no studio on board yet, but it's been making the rounds to a number of Hollywood studios for several weeks, some of which have shown interest.

There's good reason for that. The 1980s have shown some box-office life with "The Karate Kid," which became an unqualified hit last weekend. Of course, that was a family-oriented crowd-pleaser. Going gritty didn't work, on any level, with another '80s revival in "The A-Team." And there's no shooting script, so don't expect to see this at the multiplex anytime soon.

But a man with a mysterious past and a dark edgy side would certainly be a juicy role for Crowe. We're already salivating over the media interviews that might come with it.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Russell Crowe promoting 'Robin Hood' in Italy. Credit: Claudio Peri/European Pressphoto Agency

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Comments () | Archives (6)

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I think now is a good time to call "ground zero" for a major backlash against Hollywood remakes. It feels like this year has been saturation and while it may take time for the mainstream to get on board, I think now is the time where we're going to be seeing more major failures of big summer movie remakes. Before, people were content to bitch about remakes, but pay to see them anyway. I think this news, combined with the lackluster summer boxoffice, is the tcalm before the storm. Just guessing, but I got a gut feeling.

Adam Ant wins, sorry.


The only good thing about this news, is that upon the movie's release, the original TV series may get the DVD remastering and re-release treatment.

Crowe is completely mis-cast, couldn't think of a worse choice. Well, maybe The Hoff, then again maybe he'd be better !!

More original movies fer Chrissakes. What's a matta? "Avatar" and "Up" take the wind out of your sails, Hollywood?

Talented, LONG rich CROWE lurching
cluelessly from one stale project
to another.

And as we're treated to STILL MORE
pointless, Boomer era cultural incest like this
---the staggeringly important, urgently relevant
KOREAN WAR is, once again, 'mysteriously overlooked'
by one and all...

You've got be kidding me? Crowe as the Equalizer? Hey I like Russell Crowe but not in this part. I would rather see Ralph Fiennes, Linus Roache, David Tennant, and better yet how about Liam Neeson? or even discover McCall has a son and cast Daniel Radcliffe. Cast someone not as well known as McCall for Christ sake. This is one film I won't be going to see.
I do wish Russell luck with it though and he might just pull it off, but he'll never beat the way Edward Woodward played the character.


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