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May 23, 2013

Hollywood in Haverhill; Denzel to film in empty Lowe's building

Columbia Pictures has rented the property off Route 97 through August

HAVERHILL — Denzel Washington is coming to Haverhill.

Columbia Pictures is leasing the former Lowe’s building off Route 97 to film the “The Equalizer,” a big-screen adaption of the popular 1980s television series that starred Edward Woodward as a private detective with a mysterious past who doled out vigilante justice.

Mayor James Fiorentini said production crews are already on scene setting up for filming, which he said will take place inside the building this summer.

David Van Dam, the mayor’s aide, said the movie company has rented the property through August and that filming is expected to take place over a four-week period.

“We are expecting this to be a boon for the local economy,” Van Dam said. “They are going to be using local restaurants, caterers and other businesses for gas and supplies.”

Van Dam said the city is hoping to get Washington, an Oscar-winning actor, to participate in a local fundraiser for city schools or some other worthwhile cause while he is here.

“The goal would be to get him to do something or to get the film company to donate time or money to our schools or another great cause,” Van Dam said.

According to published reports, “The Equalizer” has a $50 million budget, including Washington’s $20 million salary, and has an April 2014 release date.

The plot centers on Robert McCall (Washington), a retired intelligence officer, who turns into a vigilante for the helpless. When he decides to help a young hooker (Chloe Moretz), he gets heat from the Russian mafia, and in particular a brutal fixer played by Marton Csokas, (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) who has signed on to the play the movie’s villain.

Antoine Fuqua is directing the movie from a screenplay by Richard Wenk, which is based on the CBS TV series, which wrapped in 1989.

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