The RZA Will Direct Genghis Khan

The Man with the Iron Fists filmmaker will tackle the historical epic right after a jewel thief thriller called No Man's Land.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani


It's easy to imagine The RZA feeling pretty good about himself right about now. His first film in the director's chair, and in a starring role no less, comes out this Friday, and while The Man with the Iron Fists may seem like a bit of a gamble – a big, epic kung fu/hip-hop hybrid with a broad sense of both humor and melodrama co-starring Russell Crowe as a hedonistic knife enthusiast – Hollywood seems to think he's the real deal. They've just tapped the Wu-Tang Clan member to helm two new projects: an epic biography of Genghis Khan, and an action thriller called No Man's Land.

Those… sound like two very different projects, don't they?

RZA's first project will most likely be No Man's Land, according to Hollywood Reporter. The film, written by Trey Ellis (The Tuskegee Airmen) and David Klass (Kiss the Girls), tells the story of a jewel thief who finds out that the diamond he just stole from a dangerous criminal is more valuable than he realized. The story takes place over a single night as he teams up with a dancer on a mad dash to fence his stolen goods. The story, Hollywood Reporter claims, "has been described as having echoes of The Warriors."

It's that other film that we're more curious about, however. The Genghis Khan biopic has been written by John Milius (Conan the Barbarian), and has been in development for years, with Mickey Rourke once attached to star. The producers want to start production in China next year. If RZA gets the job, it would be the first major American production about Genghis Khan since 1965's Genghis Khan, which starred Omar Shariff as the Mongolian conqueror, and only the second since 1956's The Conqueror, which starred – get this – John Wayne as Genghis Khan. That was a particularly troubled production, The Conqueror; in addition to beng considered one of the worst films ever made, it was shot downwind of a nuclear testing site which many believe led to an inordinate amount of the cast and crew later contracting cancer, including director Dick Powell and stars Wayne, Agnes Moorehead and John Hoyt.

In any case, so long as The RZA is careful where he shoots his Genghis Khan biopic, we imagine it'll turn out pretty well, at least in comparison. And so long as The Man with the Iron Fists does well at the box office this weekend, we imagine that at least one of these projects is likely get off the ground in the near future.

CraveOnline will be back with more The RZA news after we scarf down some digi snacks.