“I’ve known Denzel for a big part of my life,” says Fanning. “One of his daughters is one of my closest friends, so I’ve always been in the loop on what he’s up to.”
Fanning is reuniting with Washington in The Equalizer 3, where she plays a CIA analyst that Washington’s Robert McCall reaches out to for help as he begins his fight against the mafia.
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On the film’s set, Fanning and Washington fell into the natural rhythms of their long relationship. “Denzel is very protective of Dakota,” says producer Todd Black. “On set, you could see them laughing and talking and whispering to each other. To watch them act together was magical, because both have a very naturalistic style of acting. She’s already so good to begin with, and to watch her play off of this genius actor just raises everybody’s game. All of their scenes together are so honest – entertaining and honest.”
Washington says that Fanning had all of the talent, skill and preparation of a grown woman when she was nine years old – and that now, as an adult, her talent is in full bloom. “She knew how to bring it,” he recalls. “Now, she’s really a grown woman, and obviously a great talent. The sky’s the limit for her.”
“Putting Dakota and Denzel together again was a special thing to see,” says director Antoine Fuqua. “Dakota has been doing this since she was five years old, and she’s such a pro – she’s on the money every time. I’d give her one note, she’d come in, and – boom. She’s like a samurai.”
As he recovers from a gunshot wound that threatens to take him out of action, McCall places a call to the CIA, where he reaches Emma, played by Fanning, who is just beginning her career at the agency. “She has great intuition and the instincts to pick up on little details, so she senses a familiarity with McCall but can’t put a finger on it,” Fanning explains. “As someone who is just starting out at her job at the CIA, she seizes that opportunity to make this her way to level up in her field. She’s ambitious and driven and wants to take this opportunity to not only advance her own professional position, but also to help people. And as the mission becomes bigger and she realizes how much is at stake, her mind is going a mile a minute to put all the pieces together, with McCall’s help.”
The relationship between McCall and Emma is shrouded in cryptic phone calls and enigmatic messages. “We talked a lot about the cat and mouse game between Emma and McCall, and how they sort of challenge one another,” says Fanning. “McCall moves through the world with a lot of mystery, and Emma is trying to get down to the bottom of who he is, why he’s there, how he has her number, and how they’re connected.”
The Equalizer 3 opens in Philippine cinemas September 13.
Since giving up his life as a government assassin, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has struggled to reconcile the horrific things he’s done in the past and finds a strange solace in serving justice on behalf of the oppressed. Finding himself surprisingly at home in Southern Italy, he discovers his new friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends’ protector by taking on the mafia.