I sincerely regret not going back to the House Of Blues last week after my interviews with the cast and the crew of "The Man With The Iron Fists" to see the RZA perform. It was an invite offered to all of the press who worked that day, and it would have been great to see him play some of the tracks from the preposterously fun soundtrack album, but I couldn't make it work.
Even so, I got to sit down with him and with Eli Roth and talk to the two of them about what went into the making of this big, gorgeous, super-sincere tribute to the films that have informed the RZA's aesthetic for as long as he's been a working artist. They were in a great rowdy mood, the result of finally completing what has been a major part of the RZA's life for several years now and an ambition for years before that.
There are moments where it feels to me like my entire last fifteen years of life and work revolve around the Alamo Drafthouse. After all, there's a book on my desk right now called "Raiders!" that details the discovery of the "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" fan film, an event which took place at the Drafthouse during one of the early BNAT events. And who was it who brought that worn copy of the videotape to show to everyone? Eli Roth. What I love about those early days at the Drafthouse is that people showed up to watch movies far more than they came to promote them. Eli didn't have anything to do with that "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" fan film. He just though it was amazing and so he brought it to share. And with the RZA, he was about as far from acting like a celebrity when he showed up at the various QT feasts as possible. He was always just part of the audience, hanging out and discussing the films afterwards with everyone else.
This conversation with the two of them felt like those conversations in the lobby of the old original Drafthouse after we'd all just seen something cool, and in this case, it just happened to be this movie the two of them collaborated to make. One thing I'm certain of when it comes to "The Man WIth The Iron Fists" is that there are few films you'll see this year that come from a more genuine place of passion.
"The Man With The Iron Fists" opens today.