Hip-hop artist turned filmmaker RZA and Hostel director Eli Roth made a special appearance at the House of Blues off the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to discuss their movie The Man with the Iron Fists.
The film marks the directorial debut of RZA, who spent years working on the screenplay with Roth as they developed the characters fully, reworked certain story points and created a mythology that they hope might continue into future projects.
It is meant as an homage to all those Kung Fu classics and martial arts movies they both grew up watching, and it should be a treat for fans of those genres.
Seeing RZA and Roth together at the House of Blues was proof of how much these two enjoy each other’s company, as they engaged the press in an informative chat on The Man With The Iron Fists.
Check out the interview below.
We Got This Covered: We heard that you were hoping to get Yuen Wo Ping to do the fight choreography for this movie. Did you ask him to do it, and how did you end up with Corey Yuen?
RZA: I actually did ask Wo Ping to help out but he had a tight schedule. Corey was able to adjust his schedule for us and he really came through and worked really hard for us.
Eli Roth: Wo Ping’s daughter worked on the movie though, so we did have a little bit of family. But Corey Yuen was really amazing. He really went above and beyond and he really felt inspired. He wanted to top himself with every fight and move. The movie wouldn’t be what it is without him.
We Got This Covered: I know you two have been working on The Man With The Iron Fists for a long time. How does this all feel? Is it the end of something amazing or the beginning of something amazing for you?
RZA: If things go properly it will be the beginning. It’s like giving birth to a child because a movie is an entity of its own, and when it’s done you want everybody to like it like you want everybody to like your children. I’m still nervous because I got to wait for the public to see it and absorb it, and hopefully it will have commercial success. But personally I’m fulfilled because it’s not every day that you have a thought in your mind come to fruition, and it’s not every day you get a lot of good people supporting an idea that’s totally artistic. Bringing something like this genre to the American screen is a great thing for me.
Eli Roth: We also talked about continuing the story while we were shooting it. We really wanted to write the foundation of something that could continue if we decided to. It was such a great fun, creative collaboration and obviously it depends on how the public likes it, but it is something we’d love to continue.
We Got This Covered: How hard was it to convince Russell Crowe to play an alcoholic soldier who has his way with women in the brothel, and how was it directing the actors as compared to doing rap music?
RZA: I do think that being a part of Wu-Tang Clan and having such strong personalities in my life unknowingly prepared me for the job of director. When things got out of hand on set, I don’t think I ever once lost my cool.
As far as Russell Crowe joining us, I talked to him about it for a long time. He said that he trusts me as an artist and I think that’s the most driving force that convinced him to come on board. He sees a young man that has a lot of artistic vision and he appreciates it, and he’d like the world to appreciate it as well. He comes with a validation of what I can do.
Eli Roth: When we were writing the script, we thought we really needed to give Russell’s character of Jack Knife a reason to go to China. When he first got to the set and RZA was busy directing the movie, I sat with Russell for 24 hours in a hotel room and we talked about the character. I then realized how willing Russell Crowe was to go crazy, and we’re like alright let’s do Marlon Brando in The Missouri Breaks, let’s do Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, let’s do something that’s so completely f**king nuts that no one else could have done it. Compared to what you’re used to seeing him in, this seems completely out of character for him. I think he gave one of the most fun, alive performances he’s ever given since Romper Stomper.
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