Taika David Waititi (/
Waititi at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Taika David Waititi
16 August 1975
|Other names||Taika Cohen|
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Wellington|
|Occupation||Filmmaker, actor, comedian|
|Known for||Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok|
Chelsea Winstanley (m. 2011)
His feature films Boy (2010) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) have each been the top-grossing New Zealand film, with the latter still holding that title as of 2018. He co-directed and starred in the horror comedy film What We Do in the Shadows (2014) with Jemaine Clement. In 2017, he directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok, in which he also played the character Korg, a role he went on to reprise in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Waititi is from the Raukokore area of the East Coast region of the North Island of New Zealand and grew up there and in Wellington, and attended Onslow College for secondary school. His father is Māori of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and his mother is of Russian Jewish and Irish heritage. Waititi has used his mother's surname, "Cohen", for some of his work in film and writing.
Comedy and acting workEdit
While a drama student at Victoria University of Wellington, Waititi was part of the five-member ensemble So You're a Man, which toured New Zealand and Australia with some success. He was half of the comedy duo The Humourbeasts alongside Jemaine Clement, which received New Zealand's highest comedy accolade, the Billy T Award, in 1999.
Waititi has also acted on screen since early in his career. He won a local film award for his work as one of the students in the successful low-budget Dunedin film Scarfies (1999) and had smaller roles in the road movie Snakeskin (2001) and the TV series The Strip (2002–03). Waititi played Thomas Kalmaku in 2011 superhero film Green Lantern, and took large roles in two of his own films: 2010's Boy, and 2014's What We Do in the Shadows, which he co-directed and co-wrote with Jemaine Clement. He also plays Korg, a Kronan, via motion capture in his 2017 superhero film Thor: Ragnarok.
Among a variety of artistic interests, Waititi began making comical short films for New Zealand's annual 48-hour film contest. In 2005 his short film Two Cars, One Night earned him an Academy Award nomination. At the awards ceremony, he famously feigned falling asleep as the nominations were being read out.
His first feature film, oddball romantic comedy Eagle vs Shark, was released in U.S. theatres for limited distribution in 2007. The film stars Waititi's then real-life partner, Loren Horsley, as Lily. The same year, Waititi wrote and directed one episode of the TV show Flight of the Conchords and was director of another.
His second feature, Boy, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. Waititi also took one of the main roles, as the ex-con father who returns to his family. On its release in New Zealand, Boy received enthusiastic reviews and was successful at the local box office, eclipsing several records. After the success of Boy, Waititi hoped that the film's signature track "Poi E" would get to number one (for the second time) on the New Zealand charts. The song ultimately reached number three on the charts, but managed to become number one on iTunes.
In 2013, Waititi co-wrote and co-directed vampire comedy mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows with friend and fellow comedian Jemaine Clement. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. Waititi and Clement played members of a group of vampires who live in modern-day Wellington.
Waititi's fourth feature, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. When it was released back in New Zealand, the comedy adventure broke Waititi's own record for a New Zealand film in its opening weekend. Based on a book by Barry Crump, the film centres around a young boy and a grumpy man (played by Sam Neill) on the run in the forest.
Waititi next directed his first major Hollywood film, Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, which was released in October 2017. He had previously directed two shorts for Marvel called "Team Thor", which dealt with Thor's living in Australia with his roommate, Darryl Jacobson. He was later brought in to consult with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely on Avengers: Infinity War for Thor's storylines in the beginning of the film.
Waititi was set to collaborate with Mark Gustafson to direct the upcoming stop-motion animated film Bubbles, which was about the life of Michael Jackson seen from the perspective of his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. However, Waititi left the project in 2019 due to a heavy work schedule. Waititi is also reportedly directing a new live-action film version of Akira and is preparing to start co-writing a sequel to What We Do in the Shadows, titled We're Wolves. Waititi is also working on an upcoming feature Jojo Rabbit, based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, the story of a young Hitler Youth member whose parents are secretly hiding a Jewish girl in the family home; Waititi will play Adolf Hitler, the boy's imaginary friend. On July 16, 2019, it was reported that Waititi will write and direct a sequel to Ragnarok, causing Akira to be delayed indefinitely.
In early August 2019, Waititi had been hired by The Walt Disney Company to direct a secret project, under their 20th Century Fox banner. Later that month it was revealed that the movie would be a feature film adaptation of Next Goal Wins. Waititi will co-write the script with Iain Morris. Garrett Basch, Jonathan Cavendish, Andy Serkis, Mike Brett, and Steve Jamison will serve as producers. The production will be a joint venture between Fox Searchlight, and The Imaginarium. Principle photography is scheduled for fall 2019.
In early October 2018, Lucasfilm announced that Taika Waititi would be one of the directors of the upcoming Star Wars live-action streaming series The Mandalorian, which tells the story of a lone Mandalorian gunfighter in the period between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
|2007||Eagle vs Shark||Yes||Yes||No|
|2014||What We Do in the Shadows||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2016||Hunt for the Wilderpeople||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2020||Next Goal Wins||Yes||Yes||No|
|2002||John and Pogo||Yes||Yes||No|
|2004||Two Cars, One Night||Yes||Yes||No||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film|
|What We Do in the Shadows:
Interviews with Some Vampires
|2017||Team Thor: Part 2||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|A New Way Home||Max||Short film|
|2005||What We Do in the Shadows:
Interviews with Some Vampires
|2007||Eagle vs Shark||Gordon|
|2011||Green Lantern||Thomas Kalmaku|
|2013||The Captain||The Captain||Short film|
|2014||What We Do in the Shadows||Viago|
|2016||Hunt for the Wilderpeople||Minister|
|2018||Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh||Holy Storsh|
|Jojo Rabbit||Adolf Hitler||Post-production|
|2021||The Suicide Squad||Pre-production|
|2016||Doctor Strange||Wrote and directed the mid-credits scene (uncredited)|
|Moana||Wrote the initial screenplay (uncredited)|
|2018||The Breaker Upperers||Executive producer|
|2007–2009||Flight of the Conchords||Yes||Yes||No||4 episodes|
|2011||Super City||Yes||No||No||6 episodes|
|2012||The Inbetweeners||Yes||No||No||5 episodes|
|2019||What We Do in the Shadows||Yes||No||Yes||3 episodes|
|The Mandalorian||Yes||No||No||episode 1.8|
|2002||The Strip||Mostin||13 Episodes|
|2003||Revelations||Ali||Episode: "Mended Sole"|
|Freaky||Cleaner||Episode: "Fridge, Cleaner & Sister"|
|2009||The Jaquie Brown Diaries||Friendly Gypsy||Episode: "Brownward Spiral"|
|2019||What We Do in the Shadows||Viago||Episode: "The Trial"|
|Year of the Rabbit||Merrick's Performer||Cameo|
|Rick and Morty||Glootie||Voice|
- "Ladies of the World", Flight of the Conchords (2007)
- "Mutha'uckas", Flight of the Conchords (2007)
- "Leggy Blonde", Flight of the Conchords (2007)
- "Shanks’ Pony", Age Pryor (2007)
- "Bright Grey", The Phoenix Foundation (2007)
- "My Imminent Demise", Luke Buda (2008)
- "40 Years", The Phoenix Foundation (2009)
- "World Gone Sour (The Lost Kids)", Method Man (2011)
- "Main Attraction", Jeremy Renner (2019)
Waititi has also been a prolific commercial director. He directed Air New Zealand's "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made" featuring Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood as they go through where The Lord of the Rings films were shot. The commercial went viral amassing over 19 million views on YouTube. Waititi directed Tesco's "Borg" which features a comical Thor-esque character shopping in the supermarket; notably, he went on to direct Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok years later.
- "Moussaka Rap", Pot Noodle (2008)
- "I Wish (That Girls Were More Like Pot Noodles)", Pot Noodle (2008)
- "Back with no Appetite", Pot Noodle (2008)
- "World Gone Sour (The Lost Kids)", Sour Patch Kids (2011)
- "Simply The Best", Cadbury Dairy Milk (2011)
- "Gold", Wispa (2011)
- "Superbowl Brotherhood of Man", NBC (2012)
- "Pure", Steinlager (2012)
- "New Girl", Old Navy (2012)
- "Why Choose?", Old Navy (2012)
- "Australia Day", Lambnesia (2013)
- "State Of The -Ation", Samsung (2013)
- "MIDWULS", Optimum Cable (2013)
- "Borg" Tesco (2013)
- "Pierce Brosnan", Sky Ireland (2013)
- "Blazed", New Zealand Transport Agency (2013)
- "#HELLOBEER", Carlton (2013)
- "The Kids Party", Nimble (2014)
- "The Gas Bill", Nimble (2014)
- "The Phone Bill", Nimble (2014)
- "Laura", Stop Before You Start (2014)
- "Toa", Stop Before You Start (2014)
- "Tori", Stop Before You Start (2014)
- "Jackson", Stop Before You Start (2014)
- "Destiny", Stop Before You Start (2014)
- "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever", Air New Zealand (2014)
- "Watch It Over and Over", Nova Energy (2014)
- "Tinnyvision", New Zealand Transport Agency (2015)
- "Choose Your Trebor - Confessions", Trebor Mints (2015)
- "Broadband Made Simple", 2degrees (2015)
- "Taika's Appeal", New Zealand Human Rights Commission (2017)
|Actor||Eagle vs Shark (2007)||Boy (2010)||What We Do in the Shadows (2014)||Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)||Thor: Ragnarok (2017)||Jojo Rabbit (2019)||Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)||Notes|
|Jemaine Clement||Clement and Waititi also worked together on television series Flight of the Conchords, Radiradirah and Wellington Paranormal. Clement also has a voice role in Moana, a film for which Waititi wrote the initial screenplay.|
|Rachel House||House also has a voice role in Moana, a film for which Waititi wrote the initial screenplay.|
|Stu Rutherford||Co-invented a lighting system used on certain scenes in Thor: Ragnarok|
|Rhys Darby||Darby and Waititi also worked together on television series Flight of the Conchords and Radiradirah|
|Oscar Kightley||Kightley and Waititi also worked together on the television series Super City and Radiradirah|
|Eagle vs Shark||54% (107 reviews)||55 (25 reviews)|
|Boy||87% (70 reviews)||70 (19 reviews)|
|What We Do in the Shadows||96% (163 reviews)||76 (33 reviews)|
|Hunt for the Wilderpeople||97% (178 reviews)||81 (30 reviews)|
|Thor: Ragnarok||92% (335 reviews)||74 (51 reviews)|
Box office performanceEdit
|Film||Studio||Release date||Box office gross||Budget||Reference|
|New Zealand||North America||Worldwide|
|Eagle vs Shark||Miramax||15 June 2007||$733,972||$221,846||$1,298,037||N/A|||
|Boy||Transmission Films||25 March 2010||$6,750,042||$256,211||$8,621,535||N/A|||
|What We Do in the Shadows||Madman Entertainment Two Canoes||19 January 2014||$2,001,400||$3,469,224||$6,263,224||$1.6 million|||
|Hunt for the Wilderpeople||Madman Entertainment Piki Films||22 January 2016||$8,628,197||$5,205,468||$22,698,454||$2.5 million|||
|Thor: Ragnarok||Marvel Studios||3 November 2017||$4,486,969||$315,058,289||$853,977,126||$180 million|||
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- Convery, Stephanie (25 July 2019). "Jojo Rabbit trailer: Taika Waititi plays a paunchy Hitler in 'anti-hate' satire". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
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- "Super City". TV3. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "mock documentary WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS". 17 December 2013. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Sundance debut for Kiwi vampire spoof". 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "SUNDANCE INSTITUTE COMPLETES FEATURE FILM LINEUP FOR 2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL". sundance.org. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
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- "Taika Waititi behind Disney script 'Moana'". The New Zealand Herald. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Schmitz, Melanie (30 November 2016). "'Moana' Viewer Raises Thought-Provoking Questions About How We Talk About The Film". Romper. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- Barton, Nicky. "2017 NEW ZEALANDER OF THE YEAR AWARDS WINNERS UPDATE". New Zealander of the Year Awards. Kiwibank. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Kit, Borys (2 October 2015). "'Thor 3' Finds Its Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Frater, Patrick (21 October 2015). "Marvel's 'Thor: Ragnarok' and Fox's 'Alien' To Shoot in Australia". Variety. Archived from the original on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- "Taika Waititi to Co-Direct Michael Jackson Movie 'Bubbles'". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- Slash Film. 23 May 2019 Taika Waititi’s Netflix Movie About Michael Jackson’s Pet Chimp, is No Longer Happening https://www.slashfilm.com/bubbles-movie-cancelled/title=‘Bubbles’, Taika Waititi’s Netflix Movie About Michael Jackson’s Pet Chimp, is No Longer Happening Check
|url=value (help). Retrieved 23 June 2019. Missing or empty
- Sharf, Zack (11 October 2017). "Taika Waititi Teases 'Akira' Film Adaptation, Says No One Has to Worry About Whitewashing". IndieWire. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- O'Falt, Chris (2 November 2017). "'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi Confirms 'What We Do in the Shadows' Sequel". IndieWire. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "Scarlett Johansson to Star in Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit' for Fox Searchlight (EXCLUSIVE)". The Variety. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- Kit, Borys. "Taika Waititi to Direct 'Thor 4' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Taika Waititi Sets New Project with Fox Searchlight Before 'Thor 4' (EXCLUSIVE)". 7 August 2019.
- "The Mandalorian First Image, Directors Revealed". Star Wars.com. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- "Taika Waititi to direct episode of new Star Wars series". Radio New Zealand. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- Rutledge, Daniel (5 October 2018). "Taika Waititi among directors announced for Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian". Newshub. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- Powley, Kathryn (3 June 2012). "Girl, not Boy, for director dad". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Taika Waititi Fan Page". World of Taika. 27 November 2010.
- "Day One on Thor: Ragnarok". Taika Waititi. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- Taika Waititi on Twitter
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- "Taika Waititi, a Polynesian Jew, Will Play Hitler in His New Satirical Film". Kveller. 23 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Horton, Perry (7 December 2016). "The Captain is a Hilarious and Harrowing Hangover". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- "Taika Waititi behind Disney script 'Moana'". The New Zealand Herald. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Film, NZ (3 April 2017). "THE BREAKER UPPERERS BEGINS PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY". NZ FILM. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (3 May 2018). "'What We Do In The Shadows' Reboot From Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi Gets FX Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- "'The Mandalorian' is described as Clint Eastwood in 'Star Wars'". EW.com. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- Sciretta, Peter (12 March 2019). "Exclusive: Marvel Studios Producing 'What If' TV Series For Disney+". /Film. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made takes flight". media.newzealand.com. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- New Zealand, Air (22 October 2014). "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #AirNZSafetyVideo". Air New Zealand. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- "Tesco - Dot Com". themill.com. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- on YouTube by Sky, April 16, 2013
- on YouTube
- Waititi, Taika (24 August 2017). "Stu & Carlo". Twitter. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
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