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Wu-Tang Clan's RZA punches his way to the big screen

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012

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We know RZA mostly as a rapper, producer and ringleader of the iconic Wu-Tang Clan.

But as "The Man With the Iron Fists" opens in movie theaters this weekend, he's adding director and screenwriter to his resume.

"It's not for the weak, man. Directing has been the most challenging job to date for me, but I really had some good energy all around me," says RZA (real name Robert Diggs), 43, who co-stars with Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu in the martial arts adventure film that's presented by his Quentin Tarantino. "Quentin mentored me for about five or six years. I used him as my school of filmmaking, 'cause he's the godfather, I say, of the whole situation.

"We already had a movie deal and everything when I asked him to come on board. I wanted him to just give me that extra professor guidance, shall we say. So he came to China and spent some time on the set. This is something that came from his tutelage, and he's presenting it to the world for me."

RZA was also, not surprisingly involved in the music for "The Man With the Iron Fists," working on the score as well as assembling songs from an all-star collective that includes Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Corrine Baily Rae and others, as well as RZA's own collaborations with the Black Keys and Wu-Tang Clan.

"The film is a great watch, and I think we really have a piece of eclectic music for the film that's a great listen," says RZA, who's already lined up directing gigs for a biopic about Genghis Khan and a thriller called "No Man's Land." "I just love the way you could take an idea and imagination and bring it to fruition. Being a musical director, a guy who has music and film knowledge, it's like peanut butter and jelly; peanut butter's a good sandwich, jelly's a good sandwich, and you put them together it's a great sandwich.

"I'm really enjoying the process. I feel we all found something new and original, and when the world accepts it and absorbs it and shows it some love, I'll keep moving on and building hip-hop in this direction."

"The Man With the Iron Fists" opens Friday, Nov. 2. Check listings for theaters and showtimes.

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