The Taika Waititi Fan Post
October 25, 2017 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Taika Waititi is a New Zealand film director, writer, actor, painter, and comedian. While you may soon be watching Waititi's latest film - Thor: Ragnarok - it's worth checking out what convinced Hollywood to bank on him.

Watch the full Academy Award nominated short film Two Cars, One Night (2004) (11’18)[Youtube] Here's Waititi feigning sleep at the Oscars.

Feature Films: He's had his hand in plenty of other things: NZ On Screen has an extensive collection of early Waititi oddities for the dedicated fan:
  • an excerpt from The Living Room (2002) (6'20) featuring Flight of the Conchords pre-Rhys Darby, with Waititi acting as their wise-cracking manager.
  • presenting an episode of The Living Room (2004) (23'18), which features an early version of Diego, his vampire character from What We Do in the Shadows.
  • his short film Tama Tū (2004) (17'01)
  • performing standup on an episode of Pulp Comedy (2003) (23'55)
  • voicing with Jemaine Clement in a partly-animated series for kids exploring the intricacies of life on skin - Life on Ben (2003) (10 two minute episodes) Gordon and Gloob are two symbiotic creatures who go on an unexpected stop motion journey. When their host, 10-year-old Ben, gets an itch in his butt the Plasticine duo find themselves exiled to his nostril; on their quest to get back home they encounter a petri dish of other microbial folk.
Also, from Youtube, 48 Hour Film Festival shorts made by Waititi and future Eagle vs Shark star, Loren Horsley: Waititi also happens to be a pretty cool guy: And finally, here's The Art of Creativity TEDxDoha (2010) (18’21)[Youtube]I am attracted to the outsider. A lot of the themes in my work are exploring the idea of people who don’t belong and I’m always inspired by the outsider artist…. I love the naive. I love people who can see things… with an innocent viewpoint.

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posted by Start with Dessert (54 comments total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you for this post!
posted by gnuhavenpier at 5:21 AM on October 25


Yup. Am a fan.
posted by lollusc at 5:27 AM on October 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Thor in space needs a guy that gets the crazy zany side of the source material. The fact that they have Loki as a good(?) guy in this means they've officially embraced the WTFness of my childhood drug store reading habits (my mom wouldn't let me buy a comic - they were expensive! - $0.50). I mean the comics of the 80s and the way us kids had to roll with whatever the writers wanted to throw at us led to the back of the bus conversations that eventually made the expendables... and let us not forget on that front - Sylvester Stalone is in the MCU - he gets it.

Edit: point being... this is the guy you would want to direct such a head game.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:39 AM on October 25


This is awesome. What We Do in the Shadows is so funny it makes me cry from laughing. I'm super looking forward to seeing Thor.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:51 AM on October 25 [15 favorites]


What We Do In The Shadows is basically perfect
posted by The Whelk at 6:07 AM on October 25 [32 favorites]


I heart Taika Waititi. That is all.
posted by Kitteh at 6:10 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


I watched What We Do in the Shadows on the advice of one of those nerds with omnivorous genre interests who winds up liking everything with the right combination of references, no matter how good or bad it is. I was shocked at how much I ended up liking it. Really very very good.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:13 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


"Hunt For the Wilderpeople" made me stand up at the end, in the theater, and clap.
posted by thivaia at 6:15 AM on October 25 [10 favorites]


Even now I do an erotic dance for my friends.
posted by Jilder at 6:16 AM on October 25


What We Do in the Shadows is brilliant, I was already excited for T:R, but this just makes me over-psyched.
posted by signal at 6:29 AM on October 25


I hope he can get back to We're Wolves after Thor, because I neeeeed it
posted by jason_steakums at 6:42 AM on October 25 [4 favorites]


When I found out that the guy who directed What We Do in the Shadows had directed the new Thor movie, I suddenly got a lot more interested.
posted by adamrice at 6:52 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


WWDitS should be required Halloween viewing. I still need to see Wilderpeople.
Viago: I went into the lounge the other day and there was blood all over my nice antique couch.

Vladislav: Which one, the red one?

Viago: Well, it’s red now, yeah.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:56 AM on October 25 [10 favorites]


Also this image has aroused heretofore unexplored emotions in many people.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:59 AM on October 25 [14 favorites]


If you haven't seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, you should.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:19 AM on October 25 [4 favorites]


Hunt for the Wilderpeople looks like it might become my new favorite Sam Niel movie... and I have a lot of favorite Sam Niel movies.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:24 AM on October 25 [2 favorites]


Eagle vs Shark is a gloriously awkward movie.
posted by scruss at 7:26 AM on October 25 [4 favorites]


"Two cars, One night" - Umm, I spent a while one evening sitting in the car park outside the Te Kaha Hotel (the old one - looks like it's now been replaced with a 'leisure complex'). We thought about going in for a beer, but it was a bit intimidatingly blokey. We sat and looked at the sea in the dark...
posted by TwelveNoteRow at 7:35 AM on October 25


Hunt for the Wilderpeople looks like it might become my new favorite Sam Niel movie... and I have a lot of favorite Sam Niel movies.

It's also currently my favorite movie in what I hope will become a multi-decade-long franchise starring Julian Dennison as Ricky Baker.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:36 AM on October 25 [5 favorites]


> "Hunt For the Wilderpeople" made me stand up at the end, in the theater, and clap.

It was majestical.
posted by giraffeneckbattle at 7:43 AM on October 25 [6 favorites]


People can be heard around our house at random times singing under their breath:
Rickey Baker, it's your birthday, Ricky Baker...
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:57 AM on October 25 [8 favorites]


I had no idea he was making Thor. After Hunt for the Wilderpeople, I'll see anything he makes.
And yes, that kid who plays Ricky is clearly on track to be one of the best comic actors ever. How does one get such good comic timing when so young?!
posted by chapps at 8:07 AM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Hunt for the Wilderpeople was just such a solid movie. We watched it after seeing it in a list of feel good movies in an old AskMe thread, and were blown away. Rima Te Wiata's Bella is such an amazing performance of such an interesting character.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:13 AM on October 25 [2 favorites]


So far I have seen (in order); "What we do...", "Hunt for..." and "Boy" and wow - I wholeheartedly recommend them all - to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Taika has amazing heart, soul and talent - frankly, have never "loved" the previous "(b)/(T)hor" movies, but am really looking forward to his Marvel foray...
posted by jkaczor at 9:57 AM on October 25


I was already a fan from FotC and What We Do... but I clearly need to watch his other work. I am really looking forward to Thor.

It should also be noted that his social media accounts are quite funny

(and he is also really cute)
posted by Julnyes at 10:38 AM on October 25


he is so delightful i love him
posted by poffin boffin at 10:40 AM on October 25


He is also currently New Zealander of the year, we love our hometown heroes.

Recently some plonker morning TV person in a purple suit accused him of treason after Taika had been quoted as saying:

“I’m not very proud of coming from a place that everyone overseas thinks is this beautiful clean, green country, whereas in reality all our lakes and waterways are poisoned. We’ve got a lot to learn about looking after the environment and we’ve got a lot to learn about our depression rates and our suicide rates and our teen suicide rates, child poverty numbers and the housing crisis... and the way that we make it so readily available… for foreigners to buy land…”

He doubled down with a tweet:

"I'm sorry NZ!, I wasn't thinking and spoke in haste. I forgot to mention domestic violence, sexism, homophobia, and racism. My bad!"

+1
posted by mbo at 11:37 AM on October 25 [24 favorites]


According to Jewcy, FYI: Taika Waititi is Totes Jewish. Which, for complicated reasons, I find hilarious.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:42 AM on October 25


Shadows fans will be pleased to hear about the spinoff series, which is filming now AFAIK.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is so great - there are so many in-jokes and NZ pop culture references in there that my jaw was dropping: "he didn't just...did he?". [Think the bit where they are hiding and Ricky says "this is just like Lord of the Rings" - there are loads more scenes like that, but not made explicit. And you'd have to be a NZer of Taika's age to get most of them].
posted by Pink Frost at 12:36 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


I just want to add my voice to the chorus of people:
Hunt for the Wilderpeople was one of the best movies I saw last year. Simply wonderful.
posted by graventy at 1:24 PM on October 25


Really hoping this is where Jemaine Clement enters the MCU, even though he's already a part of the X-Men universe via his role on Legion. Jemaine Clement in all the superhero universes, with musical features and episodes to follow!
posted by elr at 1:36 PM on October 25 [4 favorites]


Taika Waititi was also in Scarfies, a good movie with a fantastic soundtrack.
posted by Foaf at 2:03 PM on October 25


The Scarfies house is still there, it doesn't really have a basement
posted by mbo at 2:27 PM on October 25


According to Jewcy, FYI: Taika Waititi is Totes Jewish. Which, for complicated reasons, I find hilarious.

He used to be called Taika Cohen at university, and took on his dad's name for his film projects iirc (he may have dropped use of the Cohen entirely, now).

He's a cool as hell guy in person, as with Bret and Jemaine their public personae are exactly what they're like (Jemaine is a bit quieter and nerdier, maybe).

We did some theatre together back in the 90s - he mooted us doing a short film with me using cicada noise as the sound track; just a single slow tracking shot from a woman with an arrow in her back lying on the forest floor, tracking, tracking, tracking, to a cherubic child with a bow and a shocked expression. Original idea do not steal I guess.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:48 PM on October 25 [16 favorites]


What We Do In The Shadows absolutely nails the Wellington flatting experience, says me, who lives in Wellington and has flatted in various skody cold damp old houses.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is both hilarious and a strong statement about New Zealand's deeply racist post-colonial society.

More, please.

(Then again, I saw his 48 Hour Film Festival in 2004 at the Embassy (or maybe the Paramount?) and I thought it was crap. Now he's directing Marvel movies, so you should take my opinions with a grain of salt.)
posted by happyinmotion at 3:22 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


happyinmotion, was the 2004 entry to 48 Hours the sci-fi one where he got about two minutes into a beautiful futuristic Auckland home and then switched to eight minutes of him wearing an alien hat and talking to the camera about how he ran out of time?

I've never come so close to worrying that I would piss my pants from laughter.
posted by Wataki at 5:53 PM on October 25


It was the Heinous Crime one, linked to in the original post.

Someone told me that he & a friend did it in their spare time while working on another 48 Film Festival project. Like, spare time while making another film in 48 hours. That suggests both a serious work ethic and an ability not to sleep for extended periods of time, which might also explain the humour in that entry.
posted by happyinmotion at 6:00 PM on October 25


there are so many in-jokes

I howled out loud when they brought in the "stingray" fake cel-transmitter to track Ricky's phone and the caption on the piece of equipment says STUNGRAY PROPERTY OF NZ POLICE FORCE. OMFG.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:01 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


In 2003 we did a painfully arty version of Dido and Aeneas and got our gear stolen midway through. Insurance didn't cover it, so we had a benefit concert with the Flight of the Conchords and Taika as MC. The gig was unannounced but still sold out basically instantly and more people came than to our entire run, haha. Taika punctuated the whole night with increasingly enraged yellings of DID YOU TAKE THE SHIT????
posted by Sebmojo at 6:17 PM on October 25 [14 favorites]


It was the Heinous Crime one, linked to in the original post.

Oh, right. Bonus trivia: Cliff Curtis plays both the drug dealer and, I believe, the foot under the apple.
posted by Wataki at 6:18 PM on October 25


Another Taika story - we were doing a four hour (?maybe it was really long anyway?) improv show in the wellington railway station and there was a bunch of Maori bogans from Lower Hutt who bowled up off the train and one was yelling UR SHIT and I COULD DO THAT so Taika took him into the show and they improvised a neat little two minute scene together then he went off beaming.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:36 PM on October 25 [9 favorites]


Taika is a National Treasure and has inherited the Billy T mantle of "self-deprecating humour". The character of Korg in T:R is Taika just being a typical east coast boy as he was in Boy.
There is supposed to be en easter egg from HftWP in the movie, amongst others for Those Who Know.
posted by arzakh at 4:28 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Oh boy! Watched some of those trailers, cant wait to see the movies!!! How do I not know about this guy?! Thanks for the post! I needed this.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:13 PM on October 26


WalkerWestridge, I am so glad you're going to enjoy these for the first time, and a little bit jealous too. There's nothing quite like the feeling of anticipation satisfied.
posted by harriet vane at 9:27 AM on October 27


Just came in to say that Wunderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows are two of the best movies made in the past couple years. Left me completely giddy when I finished watching them.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:15 AM on October 27


Not sure how I feel about this: WWDitS is being developed for US TV
posted by Start with Dessert at 11:55 AM on October 27


So my pup just got out of the vet today. Treated for heartworms, which is a painful treatment. I made him a soft spot to rest in the den, hunkered down with him, and watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople while he let the pain pills kick in. I am a blubbery mess now.

What a delightful movie.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:51 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


There is supposed to be en easter egg from HftWP in the movie

You mean like a chunk of the cast? .... And Rachel House essentially plays the same character in both
posted by mbo at 5:08 PM on October 28


I hope he can get back to We're Wolves after Thor, because I neeeeed it
posted by jason_steakums at 2:42 AM on October 26


Sorry but...
You aren’t going to see it for seven years,” said Waititi. “We are notoriously terrible at writing together, Jemaine and I. Usually takes place over emails. So we’ll email each other one line of dialogue once a month. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ took six years to write.”
posted by Start with Dessert at 6:50 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now indeed one of my favorite Sam Neil movies. I mean, c'mmon, his name is Uncle Heck! He is as bad-ass as the sobriquet implies.

It helps when he's playing off Julian Dennison's amazing lead.

(The main villain is so ludicrous, she at one point has a no kidding tank... and she is still hapless and hopeless in doing her misdeeds. Her stooge turns out to be a secret hero, so hooray!)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:58 PM on November 2


I posted this in the Thor Fanfare thread but I think it's relevant to Waititi's entire oeuvre:

Thor and his magic patu: notes on a very Māori Marvel movie
posted by Start with Dessert at 3:28 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]




ITS_HAPPENING.gif
posted by zombieflanders at 11:40 AM on November 9


Whee! See you guys in 2024! Who's starting the FanFare thread?
posted by middleclasstool at 1:23 PM on November 9


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