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, while my Lucy Liu interview can be found here.
You ate and breathed martial arts movies for the majority of your childhood….
RZA: Yeah. Martial arts films have been influencing me since I was nine, when I first saw kung fu movies and karate flicks on Staten Island at the St. George Theater. Double features, I’ll never forget. This one was called ‘Fury of the Dragon,’ with Bruce Lee in it as Kato, and the other was ‘Black Samurai,’ starring Jim Kelly. Later on, I’d go to 42nd Street and see movies like ‘Godfather of Hong Kong,’ ‘Fists of Double K’ and ‘Five Deadly Venoms,’ which got me addicted to the genre. Growing up in New York, we would break dance, hip-hop, graffiti, all these types of things, and we’d catch moves from the movies. I’d imagine martial arts films as I’d be walking to school, I’ve got a tonne of them up in my head (laughs). ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ is one of them, or an accumulation of ideas meshed together.
In this mystery thriller, Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane? Also featuring the likes of John Goodman, Don Cheadle, James Badge Dale, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly, Tamara Tunie, Garcelle Beauvais and Bruce Greenwood, ‘Flight’ marks director Zemeckis’ (Back to the Future trilogy, The Polar Express, Forrest Gump, Cast Away) first live-action film in over a decade. ‘Flight’ arrives in cinemas November 2nd in the US and Febuary 1st, 2013 in the UK.
In ‘Flight’ you play this deeply flawed, yet remarkably skilled pilot. Alongside the emotional aspect of the character, how was the preparation process for playing a pilot? And with Whip Whitaker, I can imagine his job as a pilot, what that entails pressure wise, heightens his issues?
Denzel Washington: Yeah. Whip Whitaker, he’s an airplane pilot who has dependency issues. He’s an excellent pilot but he’s spiralling out of control – literally and figuratively! Going into the film I wanted to know that the movie was not trying to knock airlines or pilots. It’s not so much about flying as it is about addiction, at least as it relates to my character. So he could work in a post office but flying a plane is the most heightened dramatic situation. But it’s really about a man who has issues and he could be a filmmaker, a pilot or a plumber. The addiction and denial is the same and hopefully the recovery is too. But being a pilot is a tough, high-pressure job. You fly from LA to NY to Hong Kong, spend 24 hours there, turn around and come back and then do it again. That’s hard on the body, you’re alone in these hotels with strangers and your flight attendants become your family. But it could be anyone who spends that lonely night in a hotel room wrestling with demons.
Daniel Craig is back as James Bond 007 in ’Skyfall,’ the 23rd installment of the longest-running film franchise in history. In ’Skyfall,’ Bond’s loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as her past returns to haunt her. 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. When Bond’s latest assignment goes gravely wrong and several undercover agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked, forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows – aided only by field agent, Eve (Naomie Harris) – following a trail to the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves. Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition), ’Skyfall’ also stars Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Albert Finney and Ola Rapace. ‘Skyfall’ is out in cinemas in the UK and Ireland now, while the North American release follows on November 9th. My other interviews for ‘Skyfall’ can be found here (more to come): Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem, Bérénice Marlohe, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes/Albert Finney and director Sam Mendes.
How did you create and shape this character, Silva? Was it something that was in the script, was it based in part on anyone….?
Javier Bardem: I read the material and some of it was there, some of it was on the page, but most of it came with Sam Mendes and the way he asked me to approach it. In a sense that he gave me a lot of choices with Silva. Then together we found a place where, based on the word “uncomfortableness”, to create that with the other person you are talking to. That might be Bond, M, somebody else – we wanted to make Silva make them feel incredibly uncomfortable. With that in mind we created the looks and the behaviour and all of that. And that goes not only with how threatening and scary he is, but how you create a very uncomfortable situation with the other person. It was fun to go through that process with Sam because he really was open to anything.
Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Lincoln,’ a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. Based on the best-selling book ‘Team of Rivals’ by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and adapted for the screen by Tony Kushner and Goodwin himself, ’Lincoln’ focuses on the life of the former President, focusing on the man’s rise to politics and his role in the Civil War.
Alongside Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, ‘Lincoln’ stars Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, John Hawkes as Robert Latham, David Strathairn as Secretary of State William Seward, Walton Goggins as Wells A. Hutchins, James Spader as WN Bilbo, Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant and Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens. David Oyelowo, Tim Blake Nelson, Hal Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Costabile, Byron Jennings, Dakin Matthews, Boris McGiver, Gloria Reuben, Jeremy Strong, David Warshofsky and Lee Pace also star. In the US, ‘Lincoln’ will hit limited theaters on November 9th before expanding wider on November 16th. The film lands in UK cinemas on January 25th.
In the film, while we see Abraham Lincoln struggle with his responsibilities to his country, to his wife, his morals….we also get a glimpse into his father/son relationship with your character. Can you talk a little bit about that dynamic of father and son in ‘Lincoln’?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Sure. I play Robert Todd Lincoln, who’s Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son. And in fact they didn’t have a great father/son relationship, it was quite strained. Abraham Lincoln was largely absent when Robert was young, he was on the circuit. I love that because this movie doesn’t portray Abraham Lincoln as a symbol, or an icon, or an angel. ‘Lincoln’ shows him as a human being, it shows him as a man with flaws, a guy who has to make compromises, who has his moments of hypocrisy. I think that’s really important, you know? Yes, he’s one of the great leaders and great minds of history, but he’s also a human being. I think it’s important to remember, and also it make for a really interesting movie to watch.
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.
‘Cloud Atlas’ explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry lead a top-notch international cast that includes Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi and Hugh Grant. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the stories move through time.
‘Cloud Atlas’ is written for the screen and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski. The Wachowskis previously teamed as writers/directors of the groundbreaking ‘Matrix’ trilogy, which earned more than $1.6 billion, combined, at the worldwide box office. Tykwer won an Independent Spirit Award and earned a BAFTA Award nomination as the director/writer of Run Lola Run,’ and more recently directed the award-winning thriller ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.’ ‘Cloud Atlas’ is based on the celebrated best-selling novel by David Mitchell. The film out now in the US, while it’s set for a Febuary 22nd, 2013 release in the UK. My individual interviews with Halle Berry and Tom Hanks can be read here and here.
I can imagine that the script was daunting at first, playing multiple characters, figuring out who’s who, the various eras…?
Halle Berry: Thankfully the script came with a “cheat sheet” from the directors that helped people who couldn’t quite get it the first time – which would be me (laughs). It helped us read it more clearly, because there’s so many characters and sometimes they’re interchangeable from character to character. So when they said, “Here’s the people you’re going to be playing,” I had a hard time, the first time, weaving it all together. Scripts are sometimes flat, and actors come along and bring them more to life. They make them more palpable for audiences to understand. But when we read things sometimes as scripts, screenplays – unlike books, they don’t often have the colour that books have. But this one did.
Tom Hanks: Yeah, with scripts, sometimes the narrative can be hard to follow. With this ‘Cloud Atlas’ script, I went through so many things where I was using different colour pens for the parts that were me. But then I was looking at the “cheat sheet” to keep track of who Halle was, and who other people were. But then after a while you got really used to it. It’s like doing taxes (laughs).