'We’re Really Excited About Putting Hundreds Of People Back To Work,' She Tells Cindy HsuBy Cindy Hsu

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Starting this Sunday right after the Super Bowl, Queen Latifah takes on the role of The Equalizer.

She plays a former CIA agent who gets justice for everyday people.

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The show originated in the 1980s, and the Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated actor is the first woman to play this role.

Queen Latifah, born Dana Elaine Owens, is back home in Newark, New Jersey.

“We’re shooting in the Newark library. I was here as a child.  We’re in front of the Newark museum, and I was there as a child. Here’s the school that I went to growing up,” she told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.

She’s now starring in The Equalizer as Robyn McCall, using many of the skills her parents passed along. Her mom was a teacher at Irvington High School, and her dad was a police officer.

“From my father teaching me how to shoot at a young age, to watching my mother master teaching high school,” she said, “and dealing with so many different personalities of so many different kids from so many different backgrounds.”

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“The Equalizer” originally aired more than 35 years ago on CBS with British actor Edward Woodward as a retired intelligence agent. 

In 2014, Denzel Washington starred in “The Equalizer” movie and made a sequel three years later. 

Now, it’s Queen Latifah, and her co-stars love her.

“What an interesting idea to rethink this show with a woman as a powerful, interesting, funny, strong, Black woman,” said actor Lorraine Toussaint.

“I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with Queen Latifah? And her playing the first ever Black woman to be The Equalizer is something that I found so exciting,” actor Laya DeLeon Hayes said.

She said the best thing about shooting in her hometown is being able to help the community.

“Most importantly, that we’re able to help keep everyone healthy and safe and employ people, make sure everybody’s working. We’re really excited about putting hundreds of people back to work,” she said. 

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“The Equalizer” debuts right after the Super Bowl this Sunday on CBS2.

Cindy Hsu