First of all, Antoine Fuqua – who directed ‘The Equalizer’ (which premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival) and directed Washington in his Oscar-winning performance in ‘Training Day’ – is the definition of the word “character.” When you enter a hotel room to interview Fuqua, personality is just bouncing off of the walls.

Here’s an example: I asked Fuqua about the battle of the White House movies last year, with his ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ going up against the big budget extravaganza (and box office disappointment) ‘White House Down.’ Fuqua painted himself as the underdog, then said this:

It fuels me. I’m an athlete. I’m a boxer. I’m a fighter. I think it’s OK to be an underdog. If you give me a challenge and that I can’t do something, that’s the first mistake. And if you go up against me and brag about it, that’s your second mistake. There won’t be a third because I’m going to come with some heat.

(Note: You’ll read this quote again below in the Q&A, but whatever, it’s a fun quote,)

Fuqua’s ‘The Equalizer’ ups the ante with each kill that Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall makes in the name of “justice” – a far cry from the television show that Rob Reiner’s character loved in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.' (‘The Equalizer’ seemed to be popular among middle-aged men in 1985.) Fuqua makes it clear his equalizer is here to entertain … and, well, it certainly does that.

When I first heard there was going to be an ‘Equalizer’ movie, you were not the first person I thought of.

I don’t think they did either.

When I think of ‘The Equalizer,’ I think of a stuffy British man.

[In a British accent] “Oh, we’re going to blow something up today.”

Rob Reiner in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ loved ‘The Equalizer.’

[Laughs] ‘You’re making me miss ‘The Equalizer!’”

That was the demographic.

Archie Bunker would love ‘The Equalizer.’ I never watched it, I was watching ‘Miami Vice’ and stuff like that.

He seemed smug.

He was a dude that leaned against a Jaguar, that’s all I remember.

He never took a drill to anyone’s head.

[Laughs] No! Not at all. Oh my God. It’s weird, I heard about it … and I had to think about it. And then I said, “Well, OK, cool.” Then I dismissed it, I didn’t think about it anymore. Denzel actually called me and said that he was going to do it and I said, “Really?” But if Denzel was interested in it, that changes everything for me. Immediately.

You guys have had some success in the past.

Yeah! So that’s the title, the heart of it is a guy helping those who can’t help themselves.

It’s surprised me that Denzel Washington is four years older than Edward Woodward was when he played the role.

Really?

Edward Woodward was 55.

Wow. There you go. In my mind, he had to be like 70. Who’s this grandpa in a suit?

Was there a conscious effort to up the ante with each kill in this movie?

You know what it is? It was like, how do you keep it interesting and organic to the story? So Slavi’s kill in the office is vicious, right? Then you go, OK, now what? What else you got?

Who knew there were so many ways to kill someone in a Home Depot?

The Home Mart! The Home Mart is my jungle and I always wanted to make a Vietnam movie, so I was like, you’re in the jungle and that’s your world and you’ve got all of this access to all of these things. No matter how badass these guys are with their weapons coming in there, you have actually more weapons, but no one would think of it. They think they have you trapped, but they're stepping into a place with nail guns – the pressure from a nail gun is like a bullet. Garden tools are sharp and nasty and vicious.

You also killed someone with a microwave.

And a microwave with nails in there! That stuff is nasty.

These are like horror movie deaths.

Yeah, it’s fun.

There’s already a sequel that’s been green-lit. Is there a story?

It’s being worked on.

Do you want to take him out of Boston?

Yep. International.

Where do you want him to go?

Anywhere. I mean, I could see him in Italy. I could see him in Brazil. I could see him in Berlin. In this one, he’s at a Home Mart and he’s working like a normal guy, you may meet him again and he might be a guy in a beautiful suit somewhere living in Italy and he’s there doing something to help somebody.

How much pride do you take in winning the battle of the White House movies? ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ got a sequel; ‘White House Down’ was considered a failure.

[Laughs] Well, I’ve always been an underdog.

Do you like that?

It fuels me. I’m an athlete. I’m a boxer. I’m a fighter. I think it’s OK to be an underdog. If you give me a challenge and that I can’t do something, that’s the first mistake. And if you go up against me and brag about it, that’s your second mistake. There won’t be a third because I’m going to come with some heat.

And now you’re making a boxing movie.

Yeah, ‘Southpaw.’ It’s done shooting.

Jake Gyllenhaal is on a nice streak right now.

Did you see ‘Nightcrawler’?

It’s great.

It’s great, yeah. Wait until you see him in ‘Southpaw.’ Because from ‘Nightcrawler’ as a 160 pound guy to a boxer – 185 pounds as a solid boxer, ripped to shreds. You will look at him and be like, “That’s not Jake Gyllenhaal.” I promise you.

Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.