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RZA on Quentin Tarantino: "He is an encyclopedia and a genius of film."

by Jo Ching. Published Sun 02 Sep 2012 17:10, last updated: 03/09/12
The Man With the Iron Fists
The Man With the Iron Fists

RZA's affinity for martial arts films has been well known since Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) changed hip-hop in 1993.

RZA described Quentin Tarantino's mentorship over his budding movie-directing career in kung-fu terms.

The Wu-Tang Clan mastermind said: "When I met Quentin Tarantino, I kind of met my, as we say in martial arts, my Sifu. (the Chinese word for master) I asked him if I could become a student of his."

The Bobby Digital hero co-wrote, directed and starred in this Autumn's highly anticipated The Man With the Iron Fists, which also stars Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu and boasts a killer soundtrack featuring Kanye West and the Black Keys.

He made a cameo in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog in the late 90s and worked on music for action maestro John Woo too. But befriending the Pulp Fiction writer/director took things to a new level.

RZA, whose hip-hop aliases include the Scientist and the Abbot said: "My fans look up to me as a teacher, but [Quentin] is such an encyclopedia and such a genius of film, I couldn't find a better teacher. I always tell people: I've been taught by the master."

RZA came up with the action-packed story of a blacksmith in feudal China, which he polished with fellow Tarantino buddy Eli Roth.

He took some time to study the art of film-making before approaching Quentin. RZA said: "After some years of hanging around and picking up the knowledge shall we say, I felt I was ready.

"I went to him and asked him. Me and Eli Roth had a screenplay we wrote and Quentin gave me the blessing: 'Yeah, I think you're ready. You guys can go ahead and live it out.'"

RZA took inspiration from Quentin's strong leading ladies, working with Lucy Lui and blaxploitation legend Pam Grier.

The cast soon expanded to include Russell Crowe (as Jackknife), Lucy Liu (Madam Blossom) and blaxploitation legend Pam Grier, who famously starred as the title character in Tarantino's Jackie Brown.

RZA himself appears, but the character named The Abbott is actually played by Chia Hui Liu, who had roles in both Kill Bill movies as well as the 1978 kung-fu classic The 36 Chambers of Shaolin.

The Wu Tang producer credited Universal Pictures for taking a chance on his directorial debut, which is due out in the UK on 16th November.

He added: "Fortunately and luckily, the new regime at Universal is a really good group of people. "This isn't the typical Hollywood thing where you've got guys who've already proven themselves.

"But I think this regime felt compelled to give an artist that shot. And I was that artist. And here we are with 'The Man With the Iron Fists.'"


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