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Wu-Tang's RZA On Iron Fists and Westerns

Jan 30, 2013
Originally published on January 30, 2013 12:02 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Finally, you know those movies you and pull out time and time again when you have nothing else to watch? Our colleagues at WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED regularly ask filmmakers and actors about the movies they never get tired of watching.

Today, one of the founding members of the rap group the Wu-Tang Clan shares one of his favorites.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

RZA: What's up? How y'all doing out there? My name is the RZA I'm a film director. And one of the films that I've seen a million times is "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, directed by Sergio Leon, and music by the great, great Morricone.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

RZA: The first time I saw "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" had to be with my grandfather, actually, who was a big Western fan. Well, the first time I saw it, it was just the coolness of the gun shooting and everything like that.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

RZA: But as I watched it again and, you know, in my teenage years, I was just blown away by the way the scenes were set up, the way the characters were all just uniquely separate, but yet had to come together. You know, I mean?

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

ELI WALLACH: (as Tuco) There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck and the people who have the job of doing the cutting. Listen, the neck at the end of the rope is mine. I run the risks.

CLINT EASTWOOD: (as Blondie) You may run the risks, my friend, but I do the cutting.

RZA: For someone who has never seen this film, this is a film about three different individuals all out for the same thing, which is money.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Hey, amigo. You know you got a face beautiful enough to be worth $2,000?

EASTWOOD: (as Blondie) Yeah, but you don't look like the one who will collect it.

RZA: If I had to pick one scene - which is hard. This is a hard one, to pick one scene. Well, let's just say one of the coolest scene is Eli Wallach, when he's in the tub and a guy comes in. Boom.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I've been looking for you for eight months.

RZA: He had shot the guy, and the guy couldn't shoot with his right hand no more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Whenever I should've had a gun in my right hand, I thought of you.

RZA: Well, now I know to shoot with my left.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Now I find you exactly in the position that suits me.

RZA: But by the time he's finished saying what is going to say, Eli Wallach just shoots him.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

WALLACH: (as Tuco) When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.

RZA: Then there's that music, saying...

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

RZA: Then Clint Eastwood comes with a great line.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

EASTWOOD: (as Blondie) Every gun makes his own tomb.

RZA: Every gun has its own tomb.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

RZA: When I watched on DVD, this is when I had really learned to appreciate the film, because by now TV screens got bigger and you could see the scope of the cinematography and of the wide shots, and I was able to catch the barrenness of these cities, all these villages. It's funny, this movie is to me an American classic, even though it's an Italian film.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

HEADLEE: That's the RZA, talking about the movie that he could watch a million times, Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly." The RZA spoke with our colleagues at WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

HEADLEE: And that's our program for today. I'm Celeste Headlee, and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Tune in for more talk tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.