RZA , known for being the Wu-Tang mastermind and a producer felt that rather than doing a movie like the NWA-based “Straight Outta Compton” film, the nine-member rap group needed more air-time so he went to television to come up with the upcoming Hulu drama series “Wu-Tang: An American Saga ,” which will premiere the first three episodes Sept. 4. and followed by seven more episodes in the weeks that follow.
The series will tell the story on how this New York-based rap group crossed the fine line between the music and crime life during the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1990s. RZA, who is the series creator along with screenwriter Alex Tse had this to say:
“The Wu-Tang story is vast and you really couldn’t contain it in a two or three hour movie,”
and “Now, in a serial form, we can take our time and tell our story. The high and low nuances of it. Hopefully, it’ll inform, entertain and inspire.”
For those of you who remember them, Wu-Tang went from being a group of local rappers in Staten Island, New York, to become one of the most prominent hip-hop groups after releasing their critically-acclaimed 1993 debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” The group at the time included RZA, GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard and longtime collaborator Cappadonna.
Later on, some of the members ventured out into solo careers thanks to the success Wu-Tang garnered. Raekwon, GZA, O.D.B., Ghostface Killah and Method Man released successful solo studio albums while RZA went on to become a producer, actor and director in his own right.
“Wu-Tang: An American Saga ” will feature Shameik Moore as Raekwon, Ashton Sanders as RZA and rappers Dave East and TJ Atoms as Method Man and O.D.B, respectively. Newcomers Siddiq Saunderson will star as Ghostface Killah and Johnell Young as GZA.
RZA remarked that the template for the 10-episode series was inspired by the books he co-wrote, “The Wu-Tang Manual” and “Tao of Wu.” A four-part Showtime docuseries called “Wu-Tang: Of Mics and Men” aired a few months ago, but he says the new Hulu series will highlight certain members’ backstories before their collective rise to fame.
Tse was quoted as saying:
“It’s one of the most unusual and unlikely American success stories, ever.” Tse had previously co-wrote the superhero film “Watchmen” and 2018’s “Superfly.” ”It couldn’t really happen anywhere else. I don’t think nine dudes from the U.K. could come together and call themselves Wu-Tang. That’s the only stuff that happens in America.”
RZA also remarked how the production of this series brought about nostolgia for him.
“You really get to see the dynamics that really exists between us,” RZA said. “It feels authentic. The best thing I could get out of this experience really is a chance to live it and do it again.”
Shameik Moore known for his recent role in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” said he didn’t know much about the group growing up except for their popular “W” logo. He had other opportunities on the table, but his role was something he felt compelled to take on.
The actor said he absorbed as much information as possible through RZA and Raekwon.
“I’m like a sponge,” Moore said. “I try to watch, learn and take everything in and then execute. … I want to strategically choose iconic roles or projects to be involved in. I want everything to top the last. Just when you think you’re not going to see anything new or better, we do it again. I don’t think there was a better project than Wu-Tang to do that for me.”
Tse believes the series will do Wu-Tang justice and they’ll get to tell more of the group’s story.
“God willing, we’ll have more than one season,” he said. Who knows, with series such as Narcos and Snowfall set in similar time periods and situations and enjoying their own relative success, we may see more than one season in the works.