Antoine Fuqua visits BET’s ’106 & Park’ at BET Studios on March 21, 2013 in New York City. (March 20, 2013)
*Antoine Fuqua’s name is rarely mentioned without the phrase, “director of ‘Training Day’” somewhere close by.
After all, the Pittsburgh-born filmmaker got an Academy Award-winning performance out of star Denzel Washington, who beat Russell Crowe’s nominated performance for “A Beautiful Mind” during the 2001 ceremony.
Although Fuqua, 47, is proud of “Training Day” and its critical and commercial success, he admits he’s growing weary of studios putting the “director of Training Day” tag in front of everything he does.
Up next for Fuqua is a documentary on rap mogul Suge Knight and a biopic on drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Russell Crowe seen leaving Villa Magna hotel by car after attending the premiere of the movie ‘Man of Steel’ in Madrid. (June 18, 2013)
*Russell Crowe said he was regularly bombarded with prank calls from Michael Jackson after the singer found out his phone number.
“Michael Jackson used to tease me on the phone,” the actor tells Britain’s The Sun. “He’d ring me and in a strong voice say, ‘There is an emergency and you need to leave the building’. I’d ask, ‘Who is this?’ And he’d say, ‘Do not worry Russell, just kidding, this is Michael’.”
Crowe spoke to The Sun to promote his role as Superman’s father Jor-El in “Man of Steel.”
What exactly made Rza of the Wu Tang Clan think he had the “chops” to direct a cast of seasoned veterans – including an Academy Award winner – in a Kung Fu film that he also co-wrote?
“Having that level of talent trust me and us to have a mutual trust back and forth was a challenge,” admits the MC, who makes his directing debut with the Nov. 2 opening of “The Man with the Iron Fists,” co-starring Oscar winner and three-time nominee Russell Crowe.
“I’m not just playing with any old Joe Schmos,” Rza continues. “I got some of the best in the world coming to represent with me and you wanna protect that. You wanna protect that and make sure that everybody really feels comfortable that they’re not being made to be a buffoon or a joke.”
Rza directs Russell Crowe (L) in “The Man with the Iron Fists”
Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, Jamie Chung and Pam Grier also star in the action flick, which features Rza as The Blacksmith and follows his attempts to defend himself and his fellow villagers against a crew of assassins in feudal China. The humble Blacksmith takes them on with assistance from Zen Yi (Yune), the son of a warlord who sets out to avenge his father’s assassination; and blade enthusiast Jack Knife (Crowe), a character inspired by late Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
“Russell is a master actor, there’s no question about that,” Rza told us during recent interviews for the film in Los Angeles. “But this particular character is fiction. [Crowe] went and did some research for the times and to find out how the British were and things of that nature. But ODB was the case study for the character. And you know how nasty Ol’ Dirty was.
“[ODB] was, I would say, the soul of Jack Knife, but Russell is a master actor. And whether he’s adding his ideas, or whether we’re giving him something to do spontaneous, he just syncs right in.”
Below, Rza, born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, explains how he as a first-time director was able to gain the trust of his experienced actors.
The kung fu flick, directed, co-written and co-starring Wu Tang Clan’s RZA, is set in 19th century China, where The Blacksmith (RZA) is forced to come to the defense of his fellow villagers. Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and Cung Le also star.
Quentin Tarantino literally lent his name to the project, agreeing to help out with a “presented by” credit.
The film is scheduled for release on Nov. 2, 2012. Watch the trailer below.
The project is in development at Sony and is being produced by Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment.
According to Deadline, the script has been in Smith’s sights for some time and has gone under the working title of “The Redemption of Cain.”
Deadline has confirmed that it’s now being developed as directing vehicle for Smith, who’ll likely star in the movie as well.
“Cain” isn’t the only biblical project on the horizon in Hollywood. Director Darren Aronofsky starts production with Russell Crowe on “Noah,” and both Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have “Moses” projects in development.
*Universal Pictures revealed today it will release “The Man With The Iron Fists,” directed and co-written by Rza of the Wu-Tang Clan, on Friday, November 2, reports Deadline.com. [Scroll down to watch the trailer.]