Ahead Of The Equalizer 3’s Release, Director Antoine Fuqua Has Been Hit With A Lawsuit

Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

The five-year wait for the next Equalizer movie is almost over, with The Equalizer 3 being among 2023 new movie releases to hit theaters this weekend. However, the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, has just been hit by a lawsuit from an alleged collaborator on the action thriller. Paul Lozada, who previously served as a police consultant on four of Fuqua’s previous films, claims that the filmmaker refused to pay or credit him for his contributions on The Equalizer 3

Per a lawsuit that was filed to the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (via The Hollywood Reporter), Paul Lozada alleges that his expertise offered a “treasure trove of information” to the action film starring Denzel Washington, yet he was not credited, following being blown off by Fuqua regarding being paid for his contributions. Lozada is a former San Francisco Police Department officer who worked with the filmmaker on Training Day, Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn’s Finest and the first Equalizer film. 

The Equalizer

Denzel Washington bends a man's wrist with a menacing face in The Equalizer 3.

(Image credit: Stefano Montesi / CTMG)

Release Date: September 1, 2023
Directed By:
 Antoine Fuqua
Written By: Richard Wenk
Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, David Denman, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Remo Girone, Gaia Scodellaro, Andrea Scarduzio, and Andrea Dodero
R for strong bloody violence and some language
 109 minutes

In the lawsuit filing, Lozada detailed that he offered up information about European organized crime, weapons and fight choreography that therein improved the authenticity of The Equalizer 3. Lozada provided this information after Fuqua reportedly reached out to Lozada to gather some information, which the former police officer gave to the filmmaker. 

Lozada alleges that Fuqua used many of his ideas in The Equalizer 3, but when the time came to receive credit and compensation for his contributions, the director denied he helped the production, writing in an email that “not one thing in Equalizer had anything to do with you,” along with Fuqua alleging, “I wanted you involved somehow. To help you. Not me.”

Lozada made the filing with a series of text message exchanges between himself and Fuqua, along with one instance where the former police officer claims that the filmmaker at one point responded to Lozada’s request by sharing that The Equalizer 3's production had been shut down due to COVID-19 protocols within its first week of filming, and it was costing the movie $1 million. During the exchange, Fuqua apparently was not open to discussing Lozada’s consulting position, perhaps due to the setbacks on the movie. 

Following the filing being made known, we don’t currently know how Sony or Fuqua will respond to these claims, as they have not made statements in response just yet. As the lawsuit moves through the Los Angeles Superior Court, The Equalizer 3 is set to hit theaters this weekend following its time being filmed across Italy in late 2022 and early 2023. 

The Equalizer 3 cast list reunites Denzel Washington with Dakota Fanning, who first worked with each other on 2003’s Man On Fire, and have apparently remained friends for years ever since. According to Washington, the movie will mark the ending of The Equalizer franchise. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more coverage.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.