By Simon Dang | The Playlist February 7, 2011 at 3:00AM
Blaxpolitation icon Pam Grier of "Jackie Brown" fame has joined the cast of RZA and Eli Roth's currently-in-production kung-fu epic "The Man With The Iron Fists" marking something of a return to the limelight; she also has a supporting role in Tom Hanks' upcoming film "Larry Crowne."
The actress announced on her Twitter this week that she has just "returned from Shanghai film directed by RZA of Wu Tang," joining a cast which currently consists of RZA himself, Lucy Liu, wrestler Dave Bautista, MMA fighter Cung Le as well as the recently confirmed Russell Crowe, who was only briefly linked to a role late last year.
No word on what roles most actors will be taking though the film has been described as "kung fu with a spaghetti Western mindset and a hip hop influence" with the story to follow a blacksmith (RZA) in feudal China who makes weapons for a small village which is forced to defend itself. The recruitment of Crowe definitely adds major acting chops to the film though we're not sure the actor is as commited to the project as RZA intended. Despite previously noting that the Australian was "gonna be the baddest man alive," Crowe told the CourierMail that he is, in fact, "not doing the martial arts" and, when asked about whether he needed to get in shape for the role, replied "not at all."
"Bobby's been a martial arts enthusiast his whole life and Universal has given him a $20 million budget to live out his martial arts fantasy," Crowe added. "He's come down to Australia and done various favours for me, including some connected to Souths [Crowe's rugby league team in Australia] Imagine that the team walks into the studio and RZA from Wu-Tang Clan is there to teach them how to rap. You have to repay the favours in life, you know. So when 'The Man With the Iron Fists' came up, I accepted it. It's an opportunity for me to have fun." Even if he calls in the performance, Crowe will be a breath of fresh air in the testosterone-heavy, experience-light cast.
Shepherded by Roth,
who's also rumored to be co-directing, the film certainly has quality behind it, particularly with Wong Kar-wai regular Christopher Doyle as DoP as well [Update: Reps for Eli Roth say the he is not co-directing. We can officially put that rumor to rest]. It'll be fascinating to see what comes of RZA's dream project, which he's been building up towards for years. [via Twitch/Moviehole]