Dakota Fanning Says Reuniting with Denzel Washington in 'Equalizer 3' Was a 'Dream Come True' (Exclusive)

The costars shared the screen nearly 20 years ago in 2004's "Man on Fire"

Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning got a kick out of their big-screen reunion.

In a behind-the-scenes clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE, Washington, 68, Fanning, 29, and The Equalizer 3 director Antoine Fuqua discuss what it was like to have the costars team up again nearly 20 years after 2004's Man on Fire.

“It’s amazing having Dakota. Made my life easier," Fuqua, 57, says in the clip. “Put Denzel and Dakota together… it’s fun for me to just watch."

Man on Fire, directed by Tony Scott, saw Washington play an ex-CIA bodyguard tasked with rescuing kidnapped 9-year-old Lupita Ramos (Fanning). Here, in this Equalizer sequel, the pair are reuniting as Washington's character Robert McCall finds a home in an Italian village and begins taking on mafia members.

Fanning plays CIA analyst Emma, an agent who begins a correspondence with McCall as he begins his fight against the village's organized crime leaders.

Related: See Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning Reunite in 'The Equalizer 3' Trailer

<p>Stefano Montesi</p> Dakota Fanning in "The Equalizer 3"

Stefano Montesi

Dakota Fanning in "The Equalizer 3"

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“I would have done anything to be a part of this and work with Denzel again," Fanning says in the clip. "It’s just a dream come true.”

“Dakota has that ‘I’m in charge, I’ll kick your behind' gene." Washington adds of his costar's charisma. "Don’t let the smooth taste fool you. She ain’t fooling me.”

<p>Stefano Montesi</p> Denzel Washington in "The Equalizer 3"

Stefano Montesi

Denzel Washington in "The Equalizer 3"

Fuqua tells PEOPLE that Fanning expressed interest in the movie early in its development. He recalled that when he told Washington she was available, Washington simply said: "Get her."

"Dakota is very competitive and obviously, as a child, her first [acting] experience with Denzel Washington is very powerful, emotional," the director says. "But you can see how she has grown quite a bit and I think it was more fascinating for Denzel than anyone else."

<p>Ethan Miller/Getty</p> Antoine Fuqua, Dakota Fanning and Denzel Washington in April

Ethan Miller/Getty

Antoine Fuqua, Dakota Fanning and Denzel Washington in April

He adds, "Every once in a while, when I would yell cut, he would just look over and be like, 'I can't believe she's like a grown woman now!' "

The Equalizer 3 is in theaters Sept. 1.

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