Denzel Washington’s Best Movie Is Becoming A Netflix Series

Denzel Washington's 2004 hit Man on Fire is becoming a Netflix series with an eight-episode first season.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Dakota Fanning and Denzel Washington in Man on Fire

A Denzel Washington thriller adapted from a best-selling book franchise is going from the movie theaters to the small screen again, as Netflix is making a series out of Man on Fire. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the 2004 film will get an eight-episode first season brought to life by former Halo showrunner Kyle Killen. Washington will not be reprising his role for the series, which will cover the first two novels in the franchise.

Man on Fire will follow ex-mercenary John Creasy on a quest for revenge following the murder of his only friend while protecting his comrade’s daughter. The novel was first published in 1980 and was set in Italy with Creasy, an ex-soldier in the French Foreign Legion, embarking on a suicide mission to take down the mafia following the kidnapping of his client’s daughter. Along the way, he falls in love with Nadia, an Italian woman, and rediscovers his purpose in life.

Denzel Washington’s Creasy followed the broad outline of Man on Fire, with a former CIA operative taking the advice of his only friend, Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken), to accept a job as a bodyguard. Bonding with his new charge, Lupita “Pita” Ramos (Dakota Fanning), Creasy finds a new purpose in life, which turns into a path of revenge when Pita is abducted. As the best line in the film explains, delivered by Christopher Walken, Creasy is an “artist of death” that is about to “paint his masterpiece.”

The film, which earned $120 million against a budget of $60 million, doubled its box office haul upon being released on DVD and, in 2004, VHS. The book’s author, A.J. Quinnel, was a fan of the adaptation compared to the earlier 1987 version, which followed the novel’s plot more closely, but didn’t include most of the author’s lines. That first version, starring Scott Glenn and Joe Pesci, was a disaster, with critics pointing out that Glenn’s Creasy wasn’t believable as an action hero.

No matter who is cast as the lead in the Netflix series will face comparisons to Denzel Washington’s Man on Fire, even if, as with The Equalizer, the role is gender-flipped. Yet despite concerns over finding someone to fill his shoes, Netflix has been on a roll with their original series lately, from You, Outer Banks, and Shadow and Bone starting 2023 with one record-setting debut after another. The Night Agent, a thriller about a spy in the White House, recently set a new record for the service, likely appealing to the same audience excited over the thought of Man on Fire.

No Denzel Washington, no problem; Man on Fire is primed for success, and we can’t wait for more information. Sadly, it’s going to be a while, as a release date and cast have yet to be announced, and right now, all we know is that it’s happening and it’ll be on Netflix. Those interested can catch Washington’s movie for free on Tubi or through Hulu.