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RZA Reveals What Intrigued Him The Most About Nobody - Exclusive Interview

People love action movies. Recently people have especially fallen in love with action movies that have an element of revenge to them, like the John Wick franchise. Now joining that particular fray is Bob Odenkirk, who's currently starring in Nobody, an action movie in which the guy who's getting revenge is something John Wick isn't — a father. 

In Nobody, Hutch (Bob Odenkirk) finds himself in a situation where, because he reacted badly, his entire family is in danger. And part of how he deals with the danger is to reach out to his father, played by Christopher Lloyd, and his old army buddy Harry, played by RZA. Looper sat down with RZA to talk about Nobody, and during our conversation we found out why RZA is such an action movie fan, what made him want to be a part of this film, and the surprising story he told Christopher Lloyd while they were on set together.

RZA's favorite action movies and who Harry is

When you looked over the script, what was it about Nobody that really appealed to you?

It's real. When I read the screenplay, it read fun. Something about it had a mix of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. It had a blend of this energy of an action film. And I'm an action film buff. So when I read it, I just enjoyed it as a screenplay. When I got invited to dance with it and I got to the set and they showed me the bus scene, I was like, "Okay, where's my costume? Let's go." So action films, you mentioned it being something that was a mature action film, but action films had a lot of fun to them when they first started making them. Tango and Cash, Die Hard. This returns back to that for me.

What are your big action movies? What were the ones that you watched over and over again?

Well, it depends. It changes. But I think Die Hard is a pioneer of the ones that make you feel good and laugh. I think Terminator was. There's too many out there to start naming them. But when you think about the ones when you were a kid, Lethal Weapon kept bringing you back to watch it. I mentioned already Tango and Cash kept bringing me back.

When you were sitting down, coming up with who your character Harry is, what the backstory is, what did you and Derek Kolstad come up with?

Well, the whole premise is that Hutch and Harry and Pops all got a history. And they have to leave that history behind. Walk away from it, shall we say. And for Hutch he, of course, got a family and settled down. For Pop's, he's in an old folks' home, but for Harry, he's on some island just learning how to play trumpet and he's got a couple of girls. They're bringing him drinks every now and then. And he's still training, maybe shooting the coconuts, but he's just out there. Castaway with a couple of girls.

What song RZA thinks Harry could've had in Nobody

The music is good. And when you talked about the bus scene, a big part of the action sequences in Nobody is that they use these Sinatra tunes, a lot of classic jazz standards and stuff. I was wondering if we were going to flip it and the movie is from your perspective, then what's the soundtrack like?

Well, since this movie is so much fun, one of my funniest scenes in the movie that was totally obscure, but would work, was B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" playing in the middle of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Where did that come from in a Western when a guy had taken another guy's girlfriend on a bike ride? But it's memorable. And so for me, that's enough. I wouldn't needle drop something crazy like that, but the director definitely had a good time, needle dropping some great tunes in there. And one of my favorite things about the film, one of my favorite scenes is when the Russian villain comes into that club and he makes his way all the way through the club, and then he gets there and takes that shot. And now that is beautiful fun. It's adrenaline-building as a watcher. And it's definitely one of those things that I had to tip my hat to the director for like, "Yo, that was funny. That was funny."

RZA tells a story to Christopher Lloyd

You get to do a fight sequence with Christopher Lloyd, who's in so many of the movies that were a part of people's childhoods. What is it like doing an action scene with Christopher Lloyd?

Man, first of all, it's just an honor and a privilege. He's my childhood as well. And now he's my son's childhood. My son is watching Back to the Future and learning about him and actually, my son made me feel extra proud that he was excited. We had a chance to watch the screener of this and he was excited to see me work with Christopher Lloyd, who he calls Doc. But bottom line is, it was just a joy. And look, you get a chance sometimes in our business to come up [to] heroes and people you grew up watching and maybe you get a chance to share a story with them. And I had a chance to share a story with Christopher Lloyd about being a fan of his — and a fan of his since Taxi, though. And his uniqueness of character playing in Roger Rabbit. He's a very unique guy. So on a set, it was really cold and they had the tent with the little heat thing in there and we just sat there and we just talked the talk. And it was almost like talking to a jazz musician. If I could just share that to you. It's like talking to a hip-hop or a jazz musician.

You brought up Taxi. Is there something about Reverend Jim that you really liked growing up?

Yeah, the unpredictability of him. I can tell you the scene I told Christopher about. There's an episode of Taxi where everybody goes to this big party. They got to wear tuxedos. He's at this party, he's a fish out of water. And they got a piano there. And they ask if anybody can play, but nobody could really play. He's like, "Oh, I can play." And you know that this guy can't play because he's always doing something wrong. So he sits there and the whole room is now watching him. He's about to play the piano. He goes, "Uh, duh." And all the other actors and characters are getting no response. Then he goes like this [RZA cracks his fingers] and he plays the most beautiful Mozart piece. I watched it with my grandmother and I just never forgot that scene. It's actually a great scene as a writer, as an actor, as a director. Those are the type of scenes you want, because it engages you all the way to the punchline.

RZA on working on The Simpsons

You got to be in an episode of The Simpsons. I wanted to know how that came about and what it was like being on the show.

There's some fortunate things in the business. You walk the right path, keep your sword sharp, as I was saying, my slang. And people notice it and they want to play with it. And so they wanted to play with hip-hop and they wanted to play with Snoop and Common and all of us coming together. I got the call from my agent and I was like, "Oh, that'd be crazy. The Simpsons." You know what I mean? And he was like, "Oh, it'd be a privilege." It's more of a privilege. Because it's just like me and music. Some people getting on one of my tracks or coming to the studio with Wu Tang. They're like, "Yo, could I?" It's not an easy thing to do. But people have earned that. And so I guess I've earned it and they respected me as an artist and they put me in there. And my wife is a big Simpsons fan and she almost didn't fathom it. And the whole family tuned in, everybody was texting each other. Everybody just tuned in because we all watch this. We were watching The Simpsons since we was kids.

Nobody is available via digital platforms now.