Director’s Chair Introduction: Taika Waititi

by Tony Cogan · November 6, 2017 · Director's Chair · No Comments

Deadline: 2nd December 2017

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Hello everyone, it’s time again to announce the director that will be featured for this months Director’s Chair and, seeing how he’s recently been the focus of a Director Retrospective over on the Lambcast, and to coincide with the release of Thor: Ragnarok, I’ve chosen Taika Waititi to be the director highlighted, with Waititi also having the honour of being the first director from New Zealand to be featured for Director’s Chair, along with being the first director with Maori heritage.

Now Waititi got his start in comedy, mainly working with Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, with the two going on to win the highest comedy accolade in New Zealand, the Billy T Award, when working together as The Humourbeasts, with this partnership continuing throughout the years, Waititi directing a few episodes of Flight of the Conchords, with the two working together in front of and behind the camera writing, directing and staring in What We Do In The Shadows, with there being enough material filmed in the improvised nature of the shoot for two films to be made, with the final cut of the film being a synthesis of the best elements of both, with a sequel focused on the Werewolves featured in the film being planned.

Outside of his work with Jemaine Clement, Waititi has had success with independent, coming of age films with Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, with these, along with What We Do In The Shadows, having massive success at the Sundance Film Festival, with Hunt for the Wilderpeople even having the highest grossing opening weekend for a New Zealand film (due to it being an American co-production the Lord of the Rings films don’t count as full New Zealand films), along with working with Disney on Moana, making use of his Maori heritage, before the film got reworked into what it is today, although him and his family worked on translating Lin Manuel Miranda’s songs for Moana into the Maori language. Outside of films, Waititi has had a bit mixed success, doing great work with Flight of the Conchords but his work on the American version of The Inbetweeners, whilst solid, just wasn’t right for the tone of The Inbetweeners, missing what made the British version of the show so good. Outside of film and TV, Waititi has had success with directing numerous music videos and commercials, the most notable of which being a Lord of the Rings inspired safety video for Air New Zealand.

Recently, Waititi has seen his biggest success directing Thor: Ragnarok, taking what was the weakest series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turning what could have been another serious yet kind of boring entry in the MCU into a brilliant buddy comedy, owing debts to films like Withnail and I and Flash Gordon, with Waititi bringing an element of fun that the Thor movies desperately needed, him understanding that a Thor film needs to be 100% silly and bombastic.

Now, as usual I’m looking for any reviews, podcasts, whatever that you’ve made on the films of Taika Waititi. If you need a reminder on his films, just look at the list below and the deadline for submissions will be the 2nd of December.

  • Eagle vs Shark
  • Boy
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Hunt For The Wilderpeople
  • Thor: Ragnarok

I look forward to going through whatever you send me and thanks for reading this.