Nicolas Winding Refn to Direct 'The Equalizer' Starring Denzel Washington

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The "Drive" helmer beats out a number of contenders for the Sony thriller based on the 1980s TV series.

Nicolas Winding Refn is in early talks to helm Sony's big-screen remake of 1980s TV series The Equalizer.

The project, scheduled to go into production in late spring, will star Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a veteran covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts a classified advertisement in the paper that reads simply: "Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer."

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Richard Wenk (The Expendables 2) penned the screenplay.

Refn became a hot commodity following his breakout Drive, for which he won top directing honors at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. For the Equalizer gig, the New York-born Denmark-reared helmer beat out a number of contenders. Sony began meeting with directors back in August but took its time before making an offer to Refn.

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Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are producing through their Sony-based Escape Artists banner. Washington, Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge, Michael Sloan and David Bloomfield also will serve in a producing capacity. Andrea Giannetti and Hannah Minghella are overseeing for Sony.

The TV show, starring Edward Woodward and created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim, ran from 1985-89 on CBS.

The studio has set an April 11, 2014, release date for the film adaptation.

Refn followed up the Ryan Gosling-toplined Drive with another film starring the actor, Only God Forgives, which will bow May 23.

Refn is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and attorney Peter Nelson.