Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA signed up for undead duty in the new zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die,” out Friday, but he’s actually got a thing for a different type of monster.
“Vampires are probably my favorite,” says RZA (real name: Robert Diggs), 49, who plays a “WuPS” delivery driver-turned-zombie in the film directed by Jim Jarmusch. “Especially female vampires.”
But the rapper — whose Staten Island hip-hop posse will play Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk on Sunday — was bitten by the Jarmusch bug after the director sent him a one-page letter, handwritten in cursive, asking him to appear in his “ridiculous zombie film” shooting in upstate New York last summer.
“I love Jim. Jim is a great director,” says RZA, who got his break into film work by scoring and appearing in Jarmusch’s 1999 flick “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and then also had screen time in the director’s 2003 movie “Coffee and Cigarettes.” “I think he has a unique approach to filmmaking. It’s something cool about being in a Jarmusch film, you know what I mean?
“I also have a sentimental relationship with him,” adds RZA, who’s also scored for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, among other film projects. “I’m forever grateful to Jim for opening that door, but I’m also a fan of his work, so it’s double the reason for me to participate with him.”
But he might have had second thoughts about one aspect of appearing in a zombie film. “If I knew that the makeup was gon’ take that long, I mighta reconsidered,” says RZA, who spent about two hours getting the makeup applied and another 90 minutes getting it removed.
Still, RZA scored points by bringing his 18-year-daughter Indiah to the set, where she bonded with his co-star Selena Gomez. “She and Selena Gomez ended up sharing music [that they liked],” says RZA. “I thought that was pretty cool.”
But, he adds with a laugh, “Selena didn’t bond with me.”