Lucy Liu Interview For ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’
Quentin Tarantino presents ‘The Man with the Iron Fists,’ an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth. Making his debut as a big-screen director and leading man, RZA – alongside a stellar international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu – tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all. Since his arrival in China’s Jungle Village, the town’s blacksmith (RZA) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans’ brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soulless villains, one man must harness this power to become saviour of his adopted people. RZA, one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time and de-facto leader of Wu-Tang Clan (the legendary group that’s highly influenced by Asian culture and 70s martial arts flicks – hence the name), stars as the lead alongside Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu and Pam Grier. ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ opens on November 2nd in the US and December 7th in the UK. My interview with Russell Crowe for the film can be read here.
You’d known RZA for a while before filming. How did you initially get involved with ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’?
Lucy Liu: For some time we’ve been in each other’s lives without intersecting. He wrote O-Ren Ishii’s theme song for ‘Kill Bill’ and we’ve been great fans of each others. Finally when this project came through, I was really surprised that he put together a project like this. When I read the script I really saw how connected he is, connected to so many Chinese movies of the past – and from the way, way past! Then he formulated his own ideas and compiled them into this completely entertaining amalgam, which I thought was fascinating.
What was it like on set observing RZA? He took on so many roles with ‘The Man With The Iron Fists,’ and it’s a project he’s been passionate about for years….
Lucy Liu: I loved working with Bobby (RZA) because he was incredibly calm as a director. On set you had the ability to see how many inspirations he had with this movie. For him to go into a movie that was a period piece and that was also shooting in China, it was a really big thing to take on. He could have done it in America and done something that was more current and more modern, but instead he really had this vision of something that he had been thinking about for a very long time. Obviously it was very emoted in his music and he carried that vision through. I have to say, most people don’t have the ability to do that: to start at A and end at Z. And he really did that. It was incredibly inspiring working with him.
How was it fleshing out your character with RZA, Madam Blossom? She’s the owner of the local brothel and de facto queen of Jungle Village….
Lucy Liu: Yeah, she’s sort of the Queen of the town in some ways (laughs). As Bobby and I spoke more about the role, I said, “If I’m going to participate in this and we’re going to make it what I think this movie’s going to be, then we need to have her fight…and I’m talking a full-on fight. If she’s running this brothel and managing these women, then we should emphasize Madam Blossom’s strength, especially against the backdrop of all these men from different animal clans.” He was really open and excited about it, and when I got to the set in China, the fight director choreographed this elaborate fight sequence with Cung Le to help feature her power. He was incredibly collaborative, I loved that.
You’ve done a few films where you had to train for fight sequences and wire-work. Is that something that’s easy to pick up again after a while away from it?
Lucy Liu: When I do wire-work it’s never really second nature because it’s so different, and also because it has probably changed quite a bit since when I started doing it in 2000 with ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ With this it was even more different because in China they don’t really have the same regulations that they do in America (laughs), so you’ll just be on a very narrow wire. It’s a very different system, it’s not as guarded – the insurance is quite different I have a feeling (laughs). For one of the stunts I actually crashed through scenery, it wasn’t a great moment but it was kind of funny because I’d never done that before.
How was it working alongside Russell Crowe?
Lucy Liu: Russell Crowe is great, he just brings a weight to ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’ that I don’t think many people could. He’s obviously incredibly talented and handsome and sexy, he brings all of that to his character, Jack Knife, And also he’s very funny in ‘The Man With The Iron Fists,’ he does something very different than what I’ve seen him do in his other films. He was great to work with.
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