With the guidance of Quentin Tarantino, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame studied the art of filmmaking for years until he believed he was ready to make his directorial debut. The result, the action-adventure The Man With the Iron Fists, will hit theaters on Nov. 2.
RZA impressed audiences with his acting chops playing rapper-turned-actor Samurai Apocalypse on Showtime’s Californication last season, opposite David Duchovny. He was in Comic-Con on Thursday to talk about Iron Fists, a story of warriors, assassins and a lone hero who descend on one fabled village in China for a winner-take-all battle for a fortune in gold.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at Comic Con, he said he caught the film bug while working as a composer on Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Tarantino encouraged him to sit down and start writing his own movie.
“He [Tarantino] is a genius, but he’s also an encyclopedia when it comes to films,” RZA said. “He gave me a lot of advice but he allowed me to watch him make his movies.”
RZA, also known as Bobby Fitzgerald Diggs, put together a stellar cast, including Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu and Pam Grier. He said his wife was particularly excited when he told her he had gotten Pam Grier.
RZA said the process of making movies is not dissimilar from making music.
“They’re separate, but they’re also interchangeable,” he said. “Music is also painting pictures. With music, you want the sound to make the pictures. The lyrics, the words give the image in your head. With film, a picture can say a thousand words. You got 30 frames per second, so imagine how many words can come into the audience’s mind.”
RZA said his directing style was inspired by the quirkiness of Jim Jarmusch, mixed with some Tarantino and then his own sensibilities.