Warner Bros. has tapped Black List scribe Nick Yarborough to write a prequel to the 2001 crime drama Training Day that starred Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, Collider has exclusively learned.
Sources tell Collider that the prequel will be set nearly a decade earlier in late April of 1992 — two days before the Rodney King verdict was delivered. Los Angeles was already a powder keg just waiting to explode that week, and the verdict led to the L.A. riots.
The Training Day prequel will follow a younger version of Alonzo Harris, a career-defining role that brought Washington his second Oscar, and his first as a lead. The original film also saw Hawke nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as rookie narcotics detective Jake Hoyt. Antoine Fuqua directed from a script by David Ayer, and the film went on to gross more than $100 million worldwide.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. If Denzel was 46 when Training Day hit theaters, and the prequel is set roughly a decade earlier, that means Warners is looking for an actor around 37 years old. Denzel’s son, John David Washington, is currently 35 years old and he sounds just like his father, plus he’s currently filming the lead in Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet… which is also being made by Warner Bros. Should studio brass take to Yarborough’s script and greenlight a Training Day prequel, it’s safe to assume they’d go to the younger Washington first, but to be clear, he is not attached at this time, and may not even want to take over the character, knowing the giant shoes he’d have to fill. Make no mistake, that would be a daunting challenge for any actor.
The project is still in the very early stages, so there’s no director attached yet, and I’m not even sure who would produce the prequel at this point, since original producer Bobby Newmyer died in 2005. It remains to be seen whether Fuqua, Ayer or surviving producer Jeffrey Silver would be involved in the prequel, but it’s possible that all three could return as executive producers. A representative for Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for comment.
Yarborough is the up-and-coming screenwriter whose script Letters from Rosemary Kennedy was voted to the 2016 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. Elisabeth Moss is currently attached to star in that film, which is slated to be directed by Ritesh Batra. Yarborough also adapted The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry: Victorian England’s Most Eminent Surgeon for Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray‘s Maven Pictures. He’s represented by WME, Epicenter and attorney Adam G. Cooper.