I’ve kept you abreast of The Man With The Iron Fists over the last seven months or so, as the RZA and Eli Roth have managed to get their long-gestating Kung-Fu project rolling as a legitimately large-scale motion picture, with a full shoot in Shanghai. The production began rolling cameras last month meaning without a doubt you’ll be seeing some wu-masterminded Kung-Fu action sooner rather than later.
MovieLine caught onto a collection of statements from a few actors appearing in the film, and to tweets from Eli Roth himself (who seems to be developing a bit of a Hello Kitty fetish). The impression one gets from all of this is that everyone is having a great time in China, and that Eli Roth has taken a very active role during production, in order to help out director/producer/lead actor RZA. Blog entries from stuntman/martial artist Darren E. Scott and Boy Band Singer/Martial Artist Daniel Wu describe their reasons for taking parts in the project (Daniel Wu simply makes a cameo) and give a taste of how things are running on set.
Being that RZA is acting, directing and producing I unfortunately didn’t get to work with him, however I had the pleasure of being directed by Eli Roth. Eli was great to work with and keeps his direction simple & straight to the point.
From Wu- (the man, not the Tang Clan)
I’m actually writing from Hengdian, China where I’ve spent a couple days on set playing a nice little cameo in this project. When I heard about this project, I knew that this was the realization of a lifelong dream for RZA so I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. It makes me happy to know that I can help out someone who has so very much influenced my life. Eli Roth, who directed Hostel and played “The Bear Jew” in my favorite film from last year Inglorious Bastards, co wrote the script with RZA and is also the films producer. They are are here with a very interesting cast of old school actors, new school actors, famous real fighters as well as famous movie fighters.
So we can see that RZA really is wearing all hats on this project, and that Roth is taking his producer role seriously. I wouldn’t take that first statement as a sign that Roth is necessarily truly “co-directing” the film, but it could always turn out that way. Directing and starring in a film simultaneously is a tough job for even the most experienced and masterful of filmmakers, and a lot of help goes into those efforts. It will be interesting to hear more and find out if Roth is just filling necessary holes, or performing a more extensive duty. Quentin Tarantino is another producer on the film and he’s no stranger to shadow-directing the films he’s involved in (unsurprisingly my favorite Robert Rodriguez film is the one Tarantino starred in and essentially co-directed), so maybe Roth learned a trick or two from his mentor.
This is bound to be a film chock-full of homages to past kung-fu films, kung fu stars, and Russell Crowe’s face, so many an action-lover chewer is eager to see how this turns out, I’m sure of it. I’m crossing my fingers for the RZA, even if he’s not at the top of my list of convincing kung-fu protagonists. I’m down for epic-scale, period genre films shot in genuine locations anytime though, so I’m hopeful…