A former collaborator of Antoine Fuqua is suing the director for refusing to pay or credit him for his alleged work as a consultant on The Equalizer 3.
In a complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Paul Lozada says he provided the production with a “treasure trove of information” about European organized crime, weapons and fight choreography to heighten the film’s authenticity. Fuqua allegedly told Lozada, who lists credits as a consultant or adviser on Fuqua titles Training Day, Tears of the Sun and 2014’s The Equalizer, that he’d have a position on the movie but never followed through.
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In May 2022, Fuqua allegedly reached out to Lozada about collaborating on a possible TV project before asking for his input on The Equalizer 3, which opens in theaters Friday. Fuqua allegedly said he wasn’t satisfied with the script and “needed some real Italian Mafia inner workings,” specifically about activity of gang members in Italy, where the film was shot. He requested Lozada “gather all the information [he] could about this Italian Mafia Crime Group (Camorra),” the complaint claims.
When asked if the script was ready for review, Fuqua responded that it was going through rewrites, according to the complaint, which cites dozens of text messages between the two. Lozada, a former San Francisco Police Department officer, says he immediately started to research the organization and weapons Denzel Washington’s character would use in the movie.
The next month, Lozada sent Fuqua multiple reports relating to Italian organized crime, after which Fuqua allegedly asked for more material. They had multiple conversations about the director’s “misgivings about the script in its current form,” particularly with respect to the authenticity of certain issues. Fuqua asked Lozada to review the script “with a fine-toothed comb and to get back with his observations/thoughts,” the suit says.
“Clearly, Fuqua, with shooting starting in weeks, was on a quest for authenticity and realism, particularly with respect to the all-important opening scene, and, Plaintiff is informed and believes, Fuqua did not appear to be ready with some critical details,” the complaint states. “Especially during August 2022, Fuqua was calling upon a familiar, solid resource — Lozada — and Fuqua did so many times.”
Lozada points to the movie packaging drugs in wine bottles from Afghanistan, which he suggested, as proof that Fuqua used his ideas.
When asked about compensation, Fuqua allegedly responded that production manager Clayton Townsend would call, though he never did, the complaint claims. He asked again a month later, at which point Fuqua reiterated that Townsend would reach out. Lozada then flew to Rome, where the movie was shooting in 2022, believing he was on the production team. When they met to clarify Lozada’s consultant position, Fuqua responded that the production was shutting down because of COVID-19 protocols and refused to discuss further.
“It’s already costing a mil,” Fuqua allegedly wrote in a text message answering why Lozada couldn’t visit the set. “And this is first week.”
The director then stopped communicating with Lozada, according to the complaint. After Lozada confronted him about payment, Fuqua denied that he contributed to the movie. Fuqua allegedly wrote in an email, “Not one thing in Equalizer had anything to do with you. Not one thing. You came to Rome, and I wanted you involved somehow. To help you. Not me.”
The complaint alleges breach of oral contract, among other claims.
Fuqua and Sony didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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