Gang Related star RZA, best known as a founding member and leader of legendary hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA has worked with a number of prominent directors, including Jim Jarmusch, Mikael Håfström, Ridley Scott, Judd Apatow, Todd Phillips, Paul Haggis, Miguel Sapochnik and Quentin Tartantino.
He has spent the last several years building his feature film resume with appearances in “American Gangster,” “Funny People,” “Due Date” and “The Next Three Days.” Now he has taken his acting to the small screen in a new action thriller called Gang Related, which he is really excited about.
Q: Can you describe the show to me?
RZA: To me its like a departed in its own way with a lot of twists and turns. It’s based around a character Ryan Lopez who grew up in a gang and the leader of the gang sent him to the army to learn tactics to improve the gang and make them smarter. However, he was so good at it that he comes home and gets hired by the police. When he gets his job at the police force he ends up getting torn between his family who raised him, the gang, and his new family the police force.
Q: It looks very much like a movie. The pilot episode was so cinematic and you kind of feel like you are watching a movie. You can’t tell which side anyone is on. I am assuming this is something that continues throughout the season?
RZA: Yeah it is constant. In the first episode we see that he takes a serious loss and during that loss I become his new partner. We are looking for a guy who is right under our nose. As his partner, we become closer and closer as the season goes on so we have each others back yet he still has his loyalty commitment to his gang. So, it’s crazy. One of the things that attracted me to this series is that it was so cinematic. There are shootings and car chasing. All the people who work on this show are very talented and creative.
Q: The amount of talent on this show is incredible. Did it make you nervous?
RZA: No, it was cool. Fortunately for me I have been acting for ten years for now. The director of the first pilot auditioned 70 different people and he thought I would be good for this role. He called me and told me that he had something very interesting and he wanted me to go and have dinner with him. I went and met with him and I thought about it. I didn’t want to jump into it because I didn’t know if I fit the television schedule, I am a constant thinker and mover. But the idea seemed so cool and it seemed like I was going to experience a bunch of new things so I was in.
Q: I wanted to ask you about your character. What can we expect from him? He is a wild card and a little crazy when we first meet him. How does he evolve as the season goes on?
RZA: I think he really cares about law enforcement. I think he has seen enough danger and violence and criminal activity. So he really wants to make a difference. I think throughout the season you will see him taking that position. But as you notice in the pilot episode, our captain tells us we have to hit the gangs hard and maybe even break a few rules to do it. We want to always follow our captain, but I think my character is going to have trouble with that. I think as the season goes on you will see some of his beliefs upheld and others shattered. The people you trust and care about aren’t always in the same ideology as you.
Q: Is there anything you want to say to the fans and why they should tune in?
RZA: One thing I would like to say is usually to get this kind of drama and action you have to be on a cable network or you have to go to the movie theater. Here, FOX network is bringing this right to your living room every week. It gets better every week. You are only going to be blown away because it just gets better. The relationships with the characters grow, there are some great guest appearances, and some great directors that come aboard this season. For my fans I would say come and enjoy rugged action and see Los Angeles and the gang culture of LA they have never seen before.
Check out a trailer below and see RZA in the season premiere on Thursday, May 22 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.
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