RZA

Tarantino’s trainee

Words: Justin Monroe
Photo: Pamela Littky

The Tao of Tinseltown: RZA’s path from soundtrack composer to film director 

1999

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch hunts down RZA and asks him to compose the soundtrack for Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai. RZA also has a cameo role where he delivers a single line: “Ghost dog, power, equality.”

2003

While serving as music supervisor for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 1, RZA asks the director to be his mentor. Spends a month with Tarantino on the Kill Bill set in Beijing and takes copious notes on directing.

A piece of his work for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 1

© OliverK93 // YouTube

2004

Teams up with Jarmusch again for a bigger scene in Coffee And Cigarettes. Shares the screen with Bill Murray and fellow Wu-Tang member GZA, sipping herbal tea.

2004

Composes music for Blade: Trinity. Not yet ready to conduct an orchestra, he works with Ramin Djawadi (who went on to write music for Batman Begins, Iron Man and Game Of Thrones). The experience inspires RZA to improve his music-reading skills and become a conductor.

RZA asks the director to be his mentor: with success

2007

Plays a police detective who helps take down drug kingpin Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington) in Ridley Scott’s real-life crime flick American Gangster. RZA shows off his acting ability – and his Wu tattoo – in scenes with Russell Crowe.

2012

Joins the cast of US TV show Californication as charismatic rapper turned actor Samurai Apocalypse, who hires David Duchovny’s Hank Moody for a vanity film project based on Beverly Hills Cop

2012

With Tarantino’s blessing and Eli Roth’s screenwriting help, RZA writes, directs and stars in his first feature, kung-fu epic The Man With The Iron Fists, with Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu.

2014

Shows menace as a dangerous drug kingpin opposite Paul Walker in Brick Mansions, a remake of the 2004 parkour-filled French film District 13. It is the last film completed by Walker before his tragic death.

With Eli Roth’s screenwriting help, RZA writes, directs and stars in his first feature, kung-fu epic The Man With The Iron Fists

© IronFistsMovie // YouTube

2016

RZA’s second directorial effort, New York-set musical Coco, starring rapper Azealia Banks, is out in March.

2016

Begins filming the action thriller Breakout, his third project as director. Its plot revolves around an attempt to bust a young photographer, falsely imprisoned for drug trafficking, out of a prison in Bangladesh.

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03 2016 The Red Bulletin

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