RZA Details the Making of ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’

A toast to the God. Rza, the musical mastermind that created the Wu-Tang sound and inspired the majority of today’s rappers/producers, has etched another unprecedented notch on his black belt. How ill is it that after being inspired by countless kung fu flicks (viewed mostly in grimy Times Square theaters), Bobby Digital gets to direct and co-star in his own vehicle, The Man With The Iron Fists. Rza being Rza though, he also had the audacity to score the film. And your favorite rapper is bragging about doing shit at the same damn time? –J. Pablo

What’s good Bobby? What’s the reaction been like from your peers in Hollywood? What about film critics?
Ridiculous. Everyone seems to be loving the film. I actually got sent some quotes from different periodicals and websites. I’d love to read the quotes because they’re very positive but I know you don’t have that much time. But yeah, the critics have loved it. Russell Crowe just saw the movie with me. He said it was very, very entertaining. He really doubled up like “very, very.”

Speaking of Russell Crowe, how did you deal with the pressure of acting?
Well the great cast around me took a lot of pressure off. People haven’t really seen my acting range. The past characters aren’t me. If you know me like you come to my house type of relationship you would know I’m acting. Like my role in Californication. I said I’d never play a rapper type but I took that role because the character is so much unlike me. I think people see me in Funny People and assume I’m just playing me to a certain extent. But that’s not the case.

Now that you got your feet wet, will you be directing again?
Oh, definitely. Even if I gotta do it with an iPhone I’ll be filming again. It’s something that I truly love. I do music everyday. I play my guitar, I play my piano. Even if the world doesn’t ever hear it i make music daily. Music is in my DNA. Film on the other hand is something I have to work at. More importantly it’s a craft I’m willing to work at. I like working 12 hours a day towards something.

That’s admirable. Most people don’t want to work hard at learning something new, especially after they’re a master at something else.
Well, I study a lot and the Bible says “By the sweat of your brow you will have food to eat…” To me, the food tastes better and the water is colder and more refreshing after a hard days work.

What was the most important thing you learned during the making of TMWTIF?
Preparation is everything. There’s always going to be obstacles that obstruct your path but if you’re prepared you can deal with them and keep on your path. Like I said I study a lot and Buddhism teaches that exact [mindset]. There’s a saying something to the effect of, Many men embark on the path but few are prepared for the path and thus fall to the wayside.” You’ve got to be ready, mentally and physically for whatever your path will bring.

So how did you prep for such an immense undertaking?
Well I spent a lot of time on the Kill Bill set and I saw the hard work Quentin Tarantino was putting in. All we, as moviegoers, see is the final product. We don’t know how many broken arms the stunt crew suffered or the malfunctions the explosives had or how many takes it took to get Denzel to have that perfect smile. It’s not easy. I love doing it though because I love a challenge.

What was one of the bigger challenges you faced?
I did all this with an Asian crew so the language barrier was a big obstacle. What I learned though is that directing is like composing. There’s an ebb and flow to it. Once I figured that out it got better. Russell came out after we were 40 days in and he told me that I was doing a great job. Usually by then the entire cast and crew is in shambles but he said I was running things pretty smoothly.

Do you like acting or directing better?
I like directing because you get to control the vision. Acting is more helping bring someone else’s vision to life.

So you’re so busy directing, scoring, acting, rapping… What’s a day like for you when you’re just chilling?
A day that I have to myself? Let’s see… well I usually wake up on those days from a kiss from my son leaving for school. Then I wake up and train. My Sifu tells me all the time “If I don’t train I don’t eat.” So I do that first thing. Then I make sure I study something everyday. Then my kids come home from school and I may teach them some things about the guitar or piano or we study together. At night I make music.