The “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” has returned for a second season, and finally, fans get to see the back story of the original Wu nine members.
AllHipHop.com had the opportunity to sit with The RZA and Alex Tse to talk about incorporating comic books and Kung Fu into the storylines, how the young actor that plays Bobby Digital learned to mimic him “to a tee,” and what happens when you hold a sword the wrong way.
They also threw out some advice on how to get Drake and Kanye to recognize each other as brothers: get them on a ferry.
Journalist Kershaw St. Jawnson was able to chat it up with the two showrunners during the middle of the series season two hoping to get some tidbits about the making of the Emmy-nominated biopic.
AllHipHop: RZA, you all we all out with the first couple of episodes. I am itching for the fifth episode to come on. My burning question is, ‘How did you get the young man that plays your role to get the cadence of your speech pattern down pack so beautifully?
RZA: He [Ashton Sanders] is the type of dude that kept looking at you. He’s one of those guys. I’ll never forget when he was doing music training, we had to rent out a studio. I get the SP1200 and I went to show him how I play it and how I used it. He actually [repeated me]. When I said something, he’d say right after me. If I walked to the left, he’d walk to the left. So, he’s the guy that really looks and studies his craft.
Ashton Sanders, hats off for doing what he does.
AllHipHop: I’d love to see the conversation develop on how you incorporated the Kung Fu movies into your mythology coming from Staten Island. How were you able to (and Alex you can jump in), how were you able to translate that to film so effortlessly?
RZA: First of all, Alex Tse is a comic book reader, writing movies like Watchman. Even think about Sucker Free (another movie) … knowing Superfly … knowing both of these blendings of cultures … as a writer myself … being someone who loves this … this is what we do!
Alex Tse: We always said that we wanted the show to mirror the music and how he integrated that into his music, and so now you know, we had to integrate that into the show. There were movies that meant a lot to him, and to the other Wu brothers. We picked a few and of those movies which fit into what we’re trying to tell in this moment. What can mirror that and then we would then narrow down what those movies would be. Then start talking about how we integrate them in an organic way into the show’s episode. So, that’s kind of how it starts if that makes sense.
AllHipHop: It does make sense. Did you guys use the same kind when you guys were working with the music? The music overlaps the imagery perfectly.
RZA: Yeah, we were able to bring in King Tech from the West Coast and from The Sway and Tech Wake Up Show. We had Rich Nice, Sean C, and even Mathematics all on set, all the time. Even when Alex and I were in post, we trusted Hip-Hop legends to keep everything on course. It really helped out.
This one funny thing: Later on in the season, when the Wu-Tang sword comes out, one of the actors is holding this certain way. And Rich Nice was like, “Nah, Nah, Nah … Wu-Tang holds the sword like this.” And they re-did it. They shot it and edited it well.
AllHipHop: The coming together on the ferry … How true is that? You as The Abbot … How did you get these two warring sides to come together as brothers? Is it something that we should maybe apply to Hip-Hop as a culture?
RZA: You know, funny as somebody said this yesterday, “Hey RZA, what do you think you could get Drake and Kanye on a ferry?”
The ferry boat ride really happened. Of course, we dramatized it, and we interpreted it for TV, but it happened. I think the common denominator of it all is that positivity outweighs negativity. Everybody on that boat and every member of Wu-Tang has enough knowledge of self to know that. They just had to let themselves accept it, and we all accepted.
AllHipHop: I love it, and you have blessed my life just being a collective (Shyheim included). We know we know who’s who. We know. Thank you guys very much.
Wu-Tang: An American Saga 2 stars Ashton Sanders as Bobby Diggs aka The RZA; Shameik Moore as Sha aka Raekwon; Siddiq Saunderson as Dennis “D-Love” Coles aka Ghostface Killah; Julian Elijah Martinez as Divine Diggs; Marcus Callender as Power Grant; Erika Alexander as Linda Diggs; Zolee Griggs as Shurrie Diggs; David “Dave East” Brewster as Shotgun aka Method Man; TJ Atoms as Ason Unique aka Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Johnell Xavier Young as Gary/Allah Justice aka The GZA.
The series comes on Tuesday nights on Hulu, the streaming service which grants you access to thousands of TV shows and movies.