Exclusive: Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Shaolin’ Album Netflix Movie Lands ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ Director

     August 24, 2020


Brittany Runs a Marathon helmer Paul Downs Colaizzo is set to direct the Netflix movie Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which purports to tell the true story behind controversial pharma bro Martin Shkreli‘s acquisition of the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s album of the same name.

Ian Edelman (How to Make It in America) wrote the script, and Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is expected to produce alongside Plan B, the production company owned by Brad Pitt. The project itself was first revealed last week in an STX press release about Edelman writing the Pete DavidsonO’Shea Jackson Jr. movie American Sole.

Colaizzo has already done his own pass on the script, which follows the auction for Wu-Tang Clan’s seventh studio album and its aftermath. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was recorded in secret over a period of six years, and a single two-CD copy was pressed in 2014. It was stored in a secure vault in Morocco before selling to Shkreli for a reported $2 million the following year. In March 2018, a federal court seized control of the album following Shkreli’s conviction for securities fraud, which required him to forfeit millions of dollars in various assets.


Image via Amazon Studios

According to RZA, the sale was agreed to before Shkreli greedily hiked up the price of Daraprim, and that once Wu-Tang Clan learned of the buyer’s identity, the group donated a “significant portion” of the proceeds to charity. Shkreli later tried to sell the album on eBay for north of $1 million, but his legal troubles prevented him from completing the sale, and though RZA attempted to buy back the album himself, terms of the original deal prohibited him from doing so. As of now, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin cannot be commercially exploited until 2103, which means you shouldn’t expect to hear any snippets on the soundtrack of this Netflix film.

Along with RZA and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang Clan’s members include GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna.

Colaizzo made his feature directorial debut with Amazon’s acclaimed dramedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, which stars Jillian Bell in a truly fantastic performance. Colaizzo is working with Legendary to develop an adaptation of Leila Slimani’s international bestseller The Perfect Nanny, which follows a lawyer who decides to return to work after having children. He’s represented by CAA. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.

Click here to read our interview with RZA and Alex Tse, co-creator of the Hulu series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, in which the rapper discusses the group’s lasting impact.

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