I’ve shared with you that Marvel’s new Thor: Ragnarok is the next best film in the franchise. Much of the credit goes to Director Taika Waititi. A New Zealand film director, writer, actor, painter, and comedian, Taika brought so much to the movie with comedic improvisation at it finest. In this interview with next to no spoilers, see why Kevin Feige made another great choice of directors. Check out this Taika Waititi Thor: Ragnarok Interview.
Taika is a ball of intoxicating energy. When he entered the room it was easy to see why Thor: Ragnarok turned out as it did. His comedic energy is clearly what is portrayed on the screen. Imagine what it could have been like for someone that had only worked on low budget films to be given the task of director on an important Marvel movie. He truly did an amazing job.
Taika Waititi Thor: Ragnarok Interview
What was it like jumping into the MCU?
It was harrowing exciting. When they (Marvel) offered me the chance to come and pitch (for the job), remember, my experience was making very independent films. Low budget, 25-day shoots. My first reaction was I guess Marvel company’s lost their mind or they’re just asking anyone to do anything. But, I thought, well if they want me to come in and topple their company. Was really unsure if I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone, but then I started feeling about my other films that I was already getting too comfortable. I wanted to start learning stuff. I didn’t start making films till I was about 28, 29 and it was never my big dream as a kid.
You know, JJ (Abrams) and all these guys running around with super 8 cameras when they’re four years old. I came to it very late and it was like an arranged marriage. I forced myself to love it. After many years of making films I starred in really thinking, ‘oh, I’d like to.’ So I started feeling I was treading water a little bit and I wanted just to keep upping the game and learning. Then went and did the pitch with Marvel and they’re amazing people. The thing with pitch is that often people think it’s about you pitching stories and stuff. I just think it’s just about sussing each other out, figuring out if you wanna hang out for two years. So we went and hung out in the Marvel offices, and they were great, and they were straight up with me, and I haven’t had any regrets.
Taking on the task of the Hulk and Thor couldn’t be easy, so why add the pressure of playing Korg?
Because I’m a self-saboteur. (Laughing) Any chance I get to put my career at risk, I’ll just do it. I will wedge myself in any film I do. I love the actor title. But with that, planet Sakaar, with so many eclectic characters and crazy elements in this movie you often need something grounding for the audience. I often feel like I’m good at playing mum characters so what we’ve done in the shadows, it’s this vampire film where my character in that is the mother of the house. He like really brings the documentary crew and looks after them and I think Korg is very much the mother of the prison and yeah looks after everyone.
I think audiences, I think they appreciate having someone that’s just down to earth and gentle ‘cause you need that. The film is crazy, so you just gotta take a step back every now and then.
So most of Korg’s lines were improved?
All of Korg’s dialogue was improvised. We would know certain pieces of information that we wanted to get across. So it was ok, does Korg actually give any useful information at all? I didn’t decide in playing Korg until right at the last minute. Not only do you want this character to be and what the point of this character was and so pointless, but the thing with Chris and I we get on very well. A lot of the scenes in this film were ad-libbed, and there’s a lot of stuff in the film that’s ad-libbed. I do this on all of my films.
I used the script as a sort of suggestion for where we can go. We’ll do a version of it and then we’ll play around, spend another hour or so just making stuff up and see if you can get something better. Because when you write dialogue six months before you shoot, you think it’s amazing at the time but, you never know what will change, or it might be a bore so yeah, so everything changes on the day.
I ruined multiple takes by even being in front of the camera or laughing. The way I do it is I’m the closest to the actors and just stand there say this, say this, say this. Poke them in the shoulder, and that’s a real god complex problem. You know you can just like manipulate people, like a puppeteer. I can’t believe I’m making Anthony Hopkins say whatever I want. So yeah, a really good scene. It’s pretty quick.
Was there any performance that’s particularly surprised you? Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster was a treat!
Well, I knew Jeff would be that good. My favorite performance is Chris’s performance because just knowing how fun he is and he’s charming. He often is the kind of person that makes you feel like oh, man if you actually were Thor I would totally come on an adventure with you. I just love having the opportunity to give him free range to just be himself and to be charming and to like be the favorite character. In particular, him and Mark (Ruffalo) I think together when they’re bouncing off each other I love that.
There seems to be less mischief from Loki this time around?
I think if you come to expect it too much you know…it’s the thing about Marvel, the decisions they make, the stories also and directors, you know. It’s like the most unexpected choice was me to direct this film and even for me. So I think if it gets predictable you come to the movies and you’re Loki’s the same thing and I don’t think it’s as satisfying as seeing that character come to the other end of it through a true story, you know, three movies. So whether it’s satisfying relationships and story acts is Thor and Loki and seeing how finally two brothers can get over the crap.
That was the highlight of that.
Yeah, yeah and I loved that. You know, that was something that I thought yeah ‘cause that’s actually what life is about. It sometimes does take 15 years to, you know, to decide if you like someone or not.
THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd!
*I was invited by Disney to attend the Thor Ragnarok Event to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.