Rap’s reigning wizard, The RZA may not be planning any new Wu-Tang albums anytime soon, but he’s still exercising his creative genius. He moves further into movies this fall by directing, acting in and co-writing the new film “The Man With The Iron Fists.” The Wu was formed partly because of the crew’s love for kung fu and karate films so this is a natural stretch for the producer many consider to be one of hip-hop’s all time greatest. Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu (who many remember for her star turn as an assassin in Kill Bill Vol. 2) star in the movie, which is out Thursday. Set in China in the 19th century, the movie centers on a village which attracts both warriors and assassins in search of gold. RZA plays the village blacksmith, who ends up having to defend the town.
Now 43, RZA, who was born Robert Diggs, said making the movie and wearing so many hats was challenging but rewarding.
"It was hard work. It was 18 hour days. It was cold,” he told Reuters. “The food was terrible sometimes and the language was an issue. But I kept it fun. I didn't let nothing deter me from this path. I'm grateful and happy I had a chance to learn this craft and express it. I feel that out of everything I do as an artist – I make music, I write lyrics, I'm into fashion and clothing – filmmaking is the perfect medium and accumulates it all. I found what I should be doing. I matured into being this kind of person."
Of course, any conversation with the RZA is bound to bring up questions about the Wu, who haven’ t released a CD since their disappointing “ 8 Diagrams” in 2007. They do appear with new music on the soundtrack for “The Man With the Iron Fists,” but RZA told fans not to expect any significant comebacks from the Wu anytime soon.
“To me, film is the medium that Wu-Tang needs to be at,” he told Reuters. “I don't think Wu-Tang needs to be in clubs while we gettin' drunk and dancing. We need to be in theaters now where we sitting with our families and really appreciating our childhood in a different way.”
Watch the official trailer for “The Man With The Iron Fists” below.