Rapper-turned-filmmaker RZA began acting in 1999 with Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai," but has taken his cinematic career one step further, by directing, co-writing and starring in "The Man With the Iron Fists," which opens today (November, 1)

Working as part of a rap group, with big personalities vying for positions, seems to have strengthened RZA's skillset as a director: "There was a lot of testosterone on the set," RZA told MYSA. "Everybody thinks they're the toughest. Everybody thinks they're handsome. Everybody thinks what they do is the best way to do it. Some friction built up, but I said, 'Listen, y'all ... would you believe Ghostface and Raekwon (prominent Wu-Tang rappers) were enemies before becoming one of the best rap combinations ever? I told them how Meth (Method Man) and Rae would battle. Dealing with those personalities helped me in dealing with actors."

After being enlisted by Tarantino to provide the soundtrack for his 2003 kung fu revenge caper "Kill Bill," RZA became a regular presence on the director's sets and has visited every Tarantino production since then. "I started noticing he was checking how you do it: Me working with the cinematographer, how you do a fight scene in a practical sense," Tarantino told The LA Times of RZA's M.O. in 2010. "He'd sit on a box somewhere, writing on a sketch pad and taking it all in."