NEWARK, NJ - North Jersey locations are being used for the CBS television series The Equalizer, a new take on the 1980s drama series of the same name. This reboot casts famed New Jersey native Queen Latifah as the latest Equalizer, an enigmatic figure who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. The character has previously been played by Edward Woodward in the original series and Denzel Washington in movies released in 2014 and 2018. Showrunners and writers Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller are producing the new series with Latifah and original co-creator Richard Lindheim. Filming will continue through Spring 2021, in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson and other towns.
Latifah was born in Newark, grew up in East Orange and came to fame as a rap artist. Now a film and TV veteran, she has starred in Chicago, Living Single, Hairspray, Girls Trip and Bessie. In 2019, Latifah headlined a Jersey-themed performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in Newark. In The Equalizer, she stars alongside Adam Goldberg, Chris Noth, Laya DeLeon Hayes, Lorraine Toussaint, Tory Kittles and Liza Lapira. The show is being produced by Universal Television.
“This is great news and is exactly the type of activity we envisioned when we reinstated the film and television tax credit two years ago,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “A network series filming in New Jersey can generate millions of dollars in economic activity and create hundreds of local jobs for our residents, not to mention showcasing New Jersey’s diverse landscape. This one has the added benefit of showcasing New Jersey’s own Queen Latifah.”
The Equalizer is one of many projects recently attracted to the state by the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit Program, which offers a tax credit for qualified productions filming here.
Other recent New Jersey projects include the Netflix action movie Army of the Dead, the HBO miniseries The Plot Against America, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story.
“We are pleased to welcome the cast and crew of The Equalizer and delighted that Essex County’s own Queen Latifah is starring in the series,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
Queen Latifah has appeared in three other feature films made in New Jersey, according to Michael Uslan, Chairman of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission. The Cookout, a 2004 comedy co-starring Ja Rule, Tim Meadows, Jonathan Silverman and Farrah Fawcett, was shot in Bernards Twp., Bernardsville, East Orange and Jersey City. Latifah appeared in the 2007 family film The Perfect Holiday with Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union, made in Jersey City, Newark, Englewood, Bergenfield, Ho-Ho-Kus, Clifton, Elizabeth, Warren and Westfield. Just Wright, a romantic comedy released in 2010, had her appearing opposite Common and utilized the Izod Center in East Rutherford, which is currently serving as a studio for The Equalizer.
About the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission
The NJMPTC, which falls under the New Jersey Department of State’s Business Action Center, is staffed by industry professionals and serves as a resource for production companies. The Commission promotes film and television production in New Jersey.