Watts ‘thrilled’ for ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-off
LOS ANGELES, July 29, (RTRS): The story of famed 1990s group Wu-Tang Clan is coming to television in a series that rapper RZA hopes will resonate beyond America’s hip-hop community.
“Wu-Tang: An American Saga” is a dramatization of the early days of the band that rose from the crime-ridden streets of New York City to become an unlikely success story.
“This is an American story,” Wu-Tang founding member RZA has said at a Television Critics Association event. “But young people around the world I know will relate to it because everyone is trying to grow out of the mud.”
RZA is the co-creator, writer and an executive producer on the series launching on Hulu in September. Described as a blend of fact and fiction, RZA said the series would “open up more about the Wu” than has been seen in previous documentaries.
The nine member Wu-Tang Clan formed in Staten Island in New York in 1992 at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic and quickly rose to be one of the most influential bands in early hip-hop. Its debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang” is widely regarded as one of the best rap albums of all time.
Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of “A Beautiful Mind”, said he had been fascinated by the Wu-Tang Clan since its early days.
“What we’re trying to do is expose people to the unique qualities of this band,” Grazer, also a producer on the Hulu TV series, said.
“They were all sort of disparate felons and they found a way to get together and be successful, and they never sold themselves out.”
LOS ANGELES: Naomi Watts is on a career high. The two-time Oscar nominee’s name is buzzing all over the industry thanks to her recent starring roles on film and TV, like Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice” and HBO’s upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel.
“I’m super thrilled,” Watts told Variety at the premiere of her latest film “Luce” about the highly anticipated “Thrones” spin-off.
The secretive “Thrones” prequel pilot has just wrapped shooting in Belfast. During HBO’s TCA summer press tour in Los Angeles, president of programming Casey Bloys hailed the pilot, proclaiming that it contains “amazing” footage.
“It’s such a great group of people. And they did such a great job,” Watts said of joining the “Thrones” world. “It was one of the most phenomenal things that’s happened on TV… I’m super excited. That’s all I can say.”
Though her lips were tightly sealed about “Thrones”, the star chimed in on the conversations about race, privilege and power that surround “Luce.”
“It does feel timely. This is an adaptation of a play that was written at a different time. But it is interesting how it just seems even more relevant. And it does tap into many important themes that are reflective of what we’re going through right now,” she explained. “And that’s kind of exciting. It makes it scary because things are so hot right now. But hopefully, you know, it opens up the conversation, and people can find a way into those themes and feel more comfortable about addressing these kind of conversations.”
The Sundance Film Festival favorite, also starring Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth and Kelvin Williams Jr, tells the story of an all-star high school athlete whose reputation as poster boy for the American Dream may only be a facade.
“We’re just trying to make an entertaining film before anything else. And then hopefully if it has integrity and if it’s truthful we can then get into these other issues of race and power and privilege and how they work in our society,” screenwriter J.C. Lee said. “I want to make a thriller, but I also want to make something that feels truthful. And if we’re telling the story, and there are people of color in that story, then race and power and privilege are going to be central to their experience every single day because you don’t live in America as a person of color and not have those things to deal with.”
At the Whitby Hotel after-party, Watts made her way through the intimate reception gracefully hugging those who approached her to congratulate her on her work. Guests Margaret Colin and Ryan Jamaal Swain mingled with director Julius Onah and the film’s actors including Emmy nominee Marsha Stephanie Blake, Christopher Mann, and Zoe Whitford.
“Luce” opens in New York and Los Angeles on Aug 2.