Wu-Tang Clan’s The RZA first made the leap from rapper and producer to actor in the 1999 film “Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai” and since then has gone on to appear in a half dozen movies and made his directorial debut in 2012′s “The Man With The Iron Fists.”
His appearance in “Iron Fists” as the titular blacksmith caught the attention some big names in Hollywood, so now The Abbot is back on the screen in “Brick Mansions,” a dystopian tale of an inner city warlord who holds the city of Detroit hostage.
“‘Brick Mansions’ is a remake of a French film called ‘B-13′ or ‘District 13′ depending on which DVD you have,” RZA tells TheUrbaDaily.com. “It was done by Luc Besson and I’m a big fan of his work. I read the character of Tremaine Alexander and I was impressed by him. At the time ‘Iron Fist’ was in theaters and Luc had seen it and agreed to meet me. And when this movie got green lit they called me for the part.”
RZA drew inspiration for the golden-gun toting Alexander from a real life street pharmacist he grew up around named Dusty, hence balancing his ruthlessness with a little humanity.
“He’s a guy who is a product of his environment,” says RZA. “Brick Mansions is the name of a place in futuristic Detroit where all the poor and outcasts live. It’s every man for himself and he’s taking advantage of a messed up situation by selling drugs. He explains it away by saying people are in pain and he’s providing them a way to ease that pain.”
“Brick Mansions” is also the last full movie that the late Paul Walker filmed before his ultimately death on November 20, 2013. His character Damien is a cop who is hell bent on stopping RZA’s Alexander before he commits mass murder.
“I think we just immediately hit it off,” RZA says of their working relationship. “In a short amount of time I got to find out what kind of man he was. He was a good man. Real good dude. There is a certain kind of energy certain men have. We had some great conversations because of what we had in common.”
For any of you watching the trailer and wondering if this reminds you a little of “New Jack City” we asked RZA if his character Tremaine could hang with the legendary Nino Brown.
“Wesley [Snipes] is my big brother so I can’t take nothing from Nino Brown,” RZA says. “He was definitely an influence. But Nino didn’t have his pull with the police.”
Watch to hear RZA make the case for why you should go and see “Brick Mansions”!