While best known as the founder, producer, and mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA has built an incredibly diverse and successful career as a musician, a composer of film scores, a producer, an actor, a businessman, a player and advocate of chess, and as the author of the best-selling The Tao of Wu and The Wu-Tang Manual.
"The Next Three Days" Interview
with Kam Williams
Kam Williams: Hi RZA, thanks for the time.
RZA: Peace, man. What's up? You having a good day?
KW: Can't complain. I really enjoyed The Next Three Days, an edge-of-the-seat thriller that takes you on an exciting roller coaster ride.
RZA: I loved it, too. Those last 40 minutes were adrenaline-filled.
KW: What was it like to work with a trio of Academy Award-winners in Paul Haggis, Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson?
RZA: Oh, man, it was a pleasure and a great learning experience. When you're dealing with the cream of the crop, all that does is make me sharper. My having a chance to work around those gentlemen has helped me become better at what I do. I couldn't have asked for a better acting credit to add to my resume.
KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: What's it like to play a drug dealer?
RZA: [LOL] It was cool, because I played a cop in the last film I did with Russell Crowe [American Gangster]. So, to be on the other side of the law this time was a lot of fun, and a nice challenge for me.
KW: Harriet also says: Some soundtracks try to manipulate the viewer's feelings by having a heavenly chorus suddenly start singing when your emotions are being played upon. How do you use music when scoring a film? To shape and frame the action? To manipulate the viewer's emotions?
RZA: I do incorporate those elements into my scoring. When scoring, empathy is the key. And it is just as important to use music to express the actors' emotions as it is to move the audience.
KW: Larry Greenberg says: You've got a lot of AKA names. Do any of them come with their own persona or swag?
RZA: The answer to that is "Yes!" Actually, most people have many different personalities. I've just learned to identify them and to name them.
KW: When is your next album, The Cure, finally coming out?
RZA: That's something I haven't been able to answer for ten years. [Laughs] I know my fans who are interested in this subject are getting tired of hearing it, but all I can say is, "I got it!"
KW: You're a Renaissance Man who does acting, directing, producing, performing, recording, scoring movies, and more. Which is your favorite?
RZA: I guess I feel more inclined towards this or that form of artistic expression at different times. Right now, I feel very hyped-up about the work I'm doing in front of the camera on the silver screen. It brings me joy to hear that people are laughing at my scene in Due Date. And I had some buddies with me at the premiere of The Next Three Days, and they were happy to see me get aggressive, because they remember me being like that when I was younger. However, I'd say that directing is in my heart. And that's where my focus is, like a laser beam. That's what I've been studying for a long time, and I think that everything that I've done before has contributed to the development of my craft as a director.
KW: Who would you like to act opposite as a love interest in a romantic comedy?
RZA: Hmm… Hollywood is full of some of the most beautiful people in the world. I wouldn't mind being in a movie with any one of those pretty girls. It would take me an hour to answer that question, but I would love to star in a romantic comedy. [LOL]
KW: I know you love movies, especially karate movies. What is your favorite movie of all time, and what is your favorite martial arts movie of all time?
RZA: You can't ask a movie buff like me that kind of question. I'd like to ask you that type of question and see if you can answer it.
KW: No, I couldn't either. I have a hard time just picking my favorite film of the year. Most critics put out an annual Ten Best List, but I put out a Hundred Best List because I like so many movies.
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