It’s amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in “the Equalizer,” in which Denzel Washington’s retired special ops mystery man takes on a team of Russian mobsters in a Home Depot-like store using just what’s available on the shelves, director Antoine Fuqua learned quite a bit about what makes a handy weapon.
“Now in my brain, everything’s a weapon. You can do some interesting things, if you think of it that way,” Fuqua tells Metro. “I went through the store with some stunt guys and a friend of mine who is a … special individual, let’s say, who knows how to do these things. And the things they think about… They gave me a list. I was like, I need to cut this down. First of all, I have no time to shoot all of this.”
When it comes to a topic like this, there’s really nothing better than a hands-on demonstration, which Fuqua happily provided using a butter knife just lying around the hotel suite where we met up. “A butter knife is still sharp, so you could still do damage with a butter knife if you cut across somebody’s skin,” he says, brandishing the blade. “We’re fragile, so it’s going to cut you. Or a blunt force. But also even they took away that kind of thing, this [butt of it] right here, this alone, is a nasty environment. Guys who know how to do this just puncture you to death, you’ll be bleeding on the inside and you don’t even know it.” To drive the point home, he pretends to jab me several times with the butt of the knife.
“Cut off the blade and you’ve still got a weapon. It doesn’t make a difference, if somebody knows how to do it, they know how to do it,” he says. “They’re going to use your festival badge lanyard and choke you with it. ‘You got a gun? Oh, nice. I’ve got a butter knife and a corkscrew.'”
“Let’s kill something”
In “the Equalizer,” Denzel Washington’s character fills his retirement from government work at a massive hardware store that looks an awful lot like Home Depot, only in the film it’s Home Mart. So did Fuqua and company try to get the real deal involved? “I’m sure they did [reach out to Home Depot], I’m sure the producers did. I’m not a part of that,” Fuqua tells Metro. “I’m sure they did, but I knew Home Depot wouldn’t. They should have, though. It would’ve been cool for them, but there’s other stockholders involved probably who said, ‘Hell no!'”
They’re slogan now is, “Let’s Build Something,” but Fuqua sees a missed opportunity by not tying in with “the Equalizer,” as they could be using, “Let’s blow some s— up!” instead, Fuqua points out.