Director-producer-actor-rapper The RZA has both feet firmly planted in the film world with November’s “The Man With The Iron Fists,” but he’s certainly not planning on forgetting his roots anytime soon. Long in the works, RZA has long planned to adapt the life of fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard to the screen, but it’s been years since there’s been movement. As it turns out, one of the reasons is that we’re getting not one, but two ODB films.
“There’s two things going on with the ODB situation,” The RZA explained in an exclusive interview with The Playlist this week. “There’s ‘Dirty White Boy,’ [starring Micheal Kenneth Williams] which is about the manager of ODB, and his last two years. And there’s another one with a working title called, ‘Dirt: One Word Could Change The World,’ that his family is more involved with. His mother is involved with ‘Dirty White Boy.’ I’m involved with both, anything about his life, I want to help out with any capacity. His mother told me I should come in and help.”
RZA is firmly dedicated to any project that involves his late friend, and might even contribute some beats, saying of ‘Dirty White Boy’: “Maybe for that one, I’ll score it, they told me they need someone to music supervise.” It’s also possible it will be another acting role for him, as he says of the script, “I saw some pages where I’m in it. But you know how it is, movies gotta take a year to make it in a week.”
While “Dirty White Boy” will tackle the later years of the legendary rapper, the second companion piece is more of an origin story of sorts. “As far as ‘Dirt,’ that actually starts back when we was young,” RZA reflected. “Me and [ODB] ran through this city, man, cutting school, stealin’ pretzels from the hot dog stand, being vagabonds, sleeping on the trains, drinking ’40s on the back of the A Train, rapping, getting chased by the police. It’s a coming of age story that me and him and a few of our cousins went through, Then it goes on into finally becoming Wu-Tang, going through that hell. And then it takes on his side of it, not my side.” Suggesting the film will have a decidedly darker tone in narrowing the focus on ODB, The RZA waxes philosophically, “Seems like my trajectory was… a’ight, directing a movie after starting out as a high school drop-out trying to survive.” Asked if he has plans on directing either of these films, he is non-committal, saying, “I dunno, it depends. Right now I’m not, though.”
RZA will also be seen in next spring’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” as the mysterious Blind Master. “I think I played that role pretty good,” he laughs. “I think the audience will dig seeing me pop up in the film. This character has never been seen. He’s been written about in the comics, but there’s nobody else that ever put a face on this character. And so I was allowed to do that. He’s blind, so how did he become blind? So I told them, put a scar across my face. Right across my eyes!”
Finally, RZA remains active in developing a remake of beloved cult classic “Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.” When asked if there’s been any movement on the project, which has been silent for awhile now, RZA updates that it’s “Still in fruition, had a meeting about that last week.” When asked if Samuel L. Jackson is still involved to play Sho’nuff, The Shogun Of Harlem, he says, “He’s still down. Dallas [Jackson] is still on board, John Davis is still onboard. A new guy joined the team, Reginald Hudlin. We’re gonna decide [who is directing], right now we just want to re-write it one more time. You won’t believe what we’re doing with it.”
“The Man With The Iron Fists” opens November 2nd.