[UPDATE: Russell Crowe may not be officially onboard for The Man With the Iron Fist. See the end of this article for more details.]
Oscar-winner Russell Crowe will play a warrior onscreen yet again - this time,opposite the hip-hop artist RZA in the low-budget Kung Fu action flick, The Man With the Iron Fist.
The Man With the Iron Fist - which has no connection to Marvel's Iron Fist - will star RZA as a blacksmith and weapons expert who lives in a feudal-age Chinese village. The Wu-Tang Clan founder is forced to arm his fellow inhabitants when external forces threaten their way of life.
Crowe's role in the film has yet to be announced, though RZA offered the following tidbit to E!Online:
"... Russell's gonna be the baddest man alive. That man is in fighting shape. That man will knock you out.... He's a master of the craft. I'm quite sure that I may learn something from him."
RZA began work on his Man With the Iron Fist movie some five years ago - even before he and Crowe worked together on Ridley Scott's crime drama American Gangster in 2007. Man With the Iron Fist was co-scripted by Hostel writer/director and Inglourious Basterds actor Eli Roth, who will also co-produce the $20 million project.
While Crowe's recent summer vehicle, Robin Hood, wasn't an overwhelming critical or financial success, it did demonstrate that the 46 year-old thespian can still be convincing as a down n' dirty action star. Over ten years have passed since Crowe wielded a sword and shield in Gladiator, but the actor - who is notorious for being ill-tempered in real life - should be up for another round of blood and violence in RZA's kung fu flick.
RZA is apparently a martial arts movie aficionado and worked with Quentin Tarantino on both the Kill Bill films and the screenplay for the musician's Man With the Iron Fist. Kill Bill 3 looks unlikely to happen anytime soon, but RZA's new pic should be a satisfying substitute for now.
UPDATE: A tweet went out this morning from Russell Crowe's Verified Twitter account and said that Crowe is "not officially on RZA's gig." Crowe's message referred to the musician as "a good friend, inspirational guy, we will see what happens." It is not yet clear if Crowe was referring to The Man With the Iron Fist or some project he is rumored to be collaborating with RZA on.
The Man With the Iron Fist begins shooting on location in Shanghai this December.