“Dallas Jackson (Thriller director and co-writer) is actually a buddy of mine,” says the Wu-Tang Clan member. “I met him some years ago, at [Quentin] Tarantino’s house. We became friends. We actually worked on a project together, a rewrite of Ghost Dog, and we became good friends. He had this project he was developing and he said he needed a producer to come onboard and help out. He had a horror [killer who was] a guy in a hoodie. It sounded cool to me. It was like, Oh sh—, that’s the new Jason, he’s wearing a f—ing hood! So, I came on to help out, and as we started going through the process, [he] found more jobs for me to do!”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You play a teacher in the film. Did you base the character on a real-life person?
RZA: Yeah, I kind of based it on my dean from junior high school. He was a very stern individual, very focused man, and he was a no-nonsense type of guy. My school had a lot of young kids that came from the projects, and there were these knuckleheads, and he just didn’t tolerate it. So, I kind of remembered that experience. You know, during the six hours that you belong at that school, you belong to him. I just took that personality and turned it into a character.
Tell us about scoring the film.
Dallas was like, “I really would love a John Carpenter-sound score for this film and he asked me [to do it].” Dallas, he’s a fan of my Gravediggaz music. He was like, “If you could go back into that mindset, I would love for you to score the film for me.” I also love the Gravediggaz vibe that I had, and so I just went back to that mindset, and, inspired by John Carpenter’s great works over the years in the ’70s and ’80s, I was able to kind of deliver [it]. It maybe reminds me of what they call horror-core. I didn’t call it horror-core. It was coined horror-core by some journalists.
Us journalists, we do love coining phrases.
[Laughs] And some of them stick, baby, some of them stick very well. Right on the money.
There were definitely moments watching the film when the score reminded me of Carpenter’s music for Halloween.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think Dallas’ inspiration for this film, he’s a horror fan, so he’s really into it, and he wanted to pay homage to those films that scared him growing up. Halloween. Mike Myers. Friday the 13th. Nightmare on Elm Street. All of these different movies had strong inspirations on us as kids, and now that we are in the film world, the film business, we’re trying to tell stories with that aesthetic.
There’s also a soundtrack available for the Thriller movie. You get the score as well as some new music: Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna did some songs with us. You’ve got a guy named [Hue] Hef and another guy named Weather Park. They’ve got some pretty cool sounds on the soundtrack and I hope people who enjoy the movie get a chance to check out some of the music the movie inspired.
The Thriller soundtrack is now available to stream and buy.
Watch the trailer for Thriller above and listen to the soundtrack, below.