By Anthony Frajman and Gill Pringle

Can you discuss the conversation that took place between you and Denzel when you decided to do this?

We didn’t think about doing 2 when we did 1, we just take them one movie at a time, and we found ourselves enjoying the character. He had a lot of mystery and intrigue. We didn’t reveal a lot about him in the first one, and when they sent us the script for the second one, we sat down and talked about it, and it was like, ‘Why not?’ It was fun doing it, he was an interesting character, it seemed like there was more to him, and it felt like we could essentially make him international; we would take him overseas and do a whole movie overseas, and that was intriguing for me as well.

What makes your relationship with Denzel so strong. You’ve worked together four times?

We have a great friendship. We trust and respect each other. Denzel is a great actor. We talk about story, we spend a lot of time discussing the character and story, and we know that by the time we get to Day 1 of filming, I don’t have to worry about Mr. Washington showing up and delivering the goods; he doesn’t have to worry about me doing the same. And every day we challenge each other, questioning the scene and making sure it’s the best material, and we have fun doing it respectfully with each other. It’s really all about getting the best work, and all about the work. And when we’re not on the set, we’re just spending time together watching sports or just hanging out. We talk about a lot of different things, mainly about family and about God, and about helping other people, what our responsibility is to help other people.

You are a religious person, you’re also a family man. How do you reconcile that working in such a violent genre?

We’re always trying to find our reason. What’s our reason? What are we trying to say? And when you look at a movie like Training Day, it’s always been about justice, and it’s always been about the wages of sin is death. You can’t behave that way without being punished. That guy [in Training Day] was so bad, he had to die that way. That was a cautionary tale of behaviour, and corruption, and the ultimate end is not pretty. With The Equalizer, this is about justice, it’s not about violence. The violence is there to serve as justice, but our character always tries to give people a chance to do the right thing. He says, “I’m giving you a chance to do the right thing”. So, we always give them a chance, and the point is sometimes there are bad people in the world, sometimes those people you just can’t talk to. But it’s not about glorifying the violence, it’s just part of the justice he gives out. But also, there’s a character in a movie where he just spent time with an older man, he lives in a retirement home (by himself), and Denzel just spends time with the guy. He picks him up, sits on the beach with him, talks to him. Because sometimes, people are lonely, and they need someone to listen to them or feel like someone still cares about them in the world. In the film there’s a character who needed somebody to believe in him. People need that kind of help. It’s not just violence. Maybe just being a good ear.

Where are you at with Scarface?

We’re working on the script to see if it’s something they want to greenlight, and something I want to do. This time the character comes from Mexico. And what’s happening in the United States right now, I think it’s relevant. That idea of the American Dream…

And you’re working with the Coen brothers?

No, they did a draft, now I’m working with another writer. He’s from Mexico. He has a real perspective on it, obviously.

Have you talked with Oliver Stone?

Oliver’s a good friend of mine. In my office at home, years ago when Oliver and I became friends, he gave me a poster that I have framed in my office, and he wrote ‘Antoine, go for it’. This was long before they even talked to me about doing Scarface.

Equalizer 2 is in cinemas July 19, 2018

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