Hip-hop producer, actor, and author RZA (aka Robert Fitzgerald Diggs) talked to EXTRA about his new film “The Man with the Iron Fists,” which he co-wrote, directed and stars in as a kung fu-fighting blacksmith.
EXTRA: Are you the man with the Iron Fists?
RZA: What, me personally? Well, I play The Blacksmith, a character who’s making weapons for everybody. Basically, without being the cause of death, he’s a source of death. And he knows better, but because he’s trying to help somebody else, he’s actually hurting others. Eventually, The Blacksmith gets forced into a position where he has to enter the violence himself. But, there’s no one “Man with the Iron Fist.” It’s a metaphor, so when you read the credits it says I play The Blacksmith.
How would you describe the story to someone who doesn’t know what to expect?
There are seven clans, a shipment of gold and they all want to get their hands on it. That’s the driving thread of the film. You know, when money comes things get funny, kid.
As an actor, it must be fun to write a great role for yourself.
[Laughs] Well, I’m happy the producers wanted me to play this role. Originally, I wrote it with myself in mind, but it was a little different. Originally, The Blacksmith did not appear until late in the film. He was shrouded in mystery.
You and Kanye West collaborated on a song called “White Dress” for this movie. How was that?
It’s for a beautiful scene with Lucy Liu. I took a bite off a scene I saw [director Quentin Tarantino] do in Kill Bill, when Lucy Liu first enters the House of Blue Leaves before the showdown with the Crazy 88. I gave her a shot like that in my movie. Except instead of coming into a restaurant with all these killers behind her, she’s coming into a bathhouse, full of beautiful girls. So I showed Kanye the scene, and he was like, ‘Oh man, this is cool.’ Then I gave him the music and I said, ‘You can add to it if you want,’ because people love when me and him collaborate.
Thinking about making a movie and all that collaboration, whether it’s with Kanye or the actors, do you feel like your background with the Wu Tang Clan prepared you for that?
I know it did. That totally prepared me. Dave Bautista, Russell Crowe, those dudes are Wu Tang fans, and I would tell them the stories. Russell Crowe took ODB as someone to study for the character and he went crazy. You’ll see his great performance and you’ll know what I’m talking about.