20th Mar2013

Exclusive: ‘The Man With the Iron Fists’ RZA Interview

by Phil Wheat

RZA

How did you find the experience of directing your first film?

I love cameras. I love operating them actually. It’s fun. I think all good directors should take some time to understand camera movement. I’m still a student and I’m going to keep practicing until I become a master. I’m a director that got behind the lens. You’ll notice a few tricks in there (the film) that I’ve done with the camera. You’ll notice a few things that they were telling me not to do. You know my DP got mad at me a few times.

Where did you get your inspiration for the different scenes in the film?

I used different styles for all the scenes from my own imagination. From being a comic book reader, a Japanese animation watcher… to me, that helps our film.

What inspired you to make a martial arts film?

Martial Art films have been influencing me probably since the tender age of nine when I saw my first Kung Fu movies or karate flicks on Stanton Island, a theater called Saint George. When I actually joined Wu-Tang Clan in 1993, it was the martial art films and genre that gave me this brilliant idea of how to express myself. I combined a few ideas together from different martial art movies that I’ve watched, and I kind of developed my own idea I would think…to pay homage to a few great directors, you know give homage to Lau Kar Leung, as they call him. And we’re also giving homage to one of the great masters who I like to consider a minor prophet, Bruce Lee.

What advice would you give other budding directors?

I want to say whoever wants to take this endeavor directing a movie, please make sure you have a good story board artist. Your storyboard’s your ideas. It really helps the cameras. It helps the crew. It helps second unit, third unit, etc. My producer’s advice was, he said, ‘you need twelve weeks to prep this thing.’ I was like, ‘no I can do it in eight weeks. I know this movie like the back of my hand. It’s going to be eight weeks, and I’m ready to go.’ He’s like, ‘no, twelve weeks.’

And, he couldn’t have been more right. Twelve weeks even fourteen weeks of prepping is what it takes to get a whole group of people with a whole bunch of ideas in a format that makes it work for everybody. With the storyboards, we know what’s gonna happen here. And so we set the positions of the camera, and we go for it.

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The Man With the Iron Fists is released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray Steelbook in the UK on April 1st courtesy of Universal Pictures UK.

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