Waititi at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Taika David Waititi|
16 August 1975
Wellington, New Zealand
|Other names||Taika Cohen|
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Wellington|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, actor and comedian|
|Known for||Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok|
Taika David Waititi (/
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 the horror comedy film What We Do in the Shadows (2014) with Jemaine Clement, which brought him further critical acclaim and recognition. Waititi later directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which received critical acclaim.
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 Jewish (of Russian Jewish heritage). Waititi has used his mother's surname, "Cohen", for some of his work in film and writing.
Comedy and acting work
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 the late Barry Crump, the film centres around a young boy and a grumpy man (played by Sam Neill) on the run in the forest.
Waititi 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.
Waititi will be collaborating with Mark Gustafson to direct the upcoming stop-motion animated film Bubbles, which is about the life of Michael Jackson seen from the perspective of his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. 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 Nazi with an imaginary Jewish friend, in which Waititi will play Hitler.
|2001||A New Way Home||No||No||No||Yes||Short film|
|2002||John and Pogo||Yes||No||Yes||No||Short film|
|2003||Two Cars, One Night||Yes||No||Yes||No||Short film|
|2004||Tama Tu||Yes||No||Yes||No||Short film|
|2004||Futile Attraction||No||No||No||Yes||Role: Waiter|
|2005||What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|2007||Eagle vs Shark||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Role: Gordon|
|2011||Green Lantern||No||No||No||Yes||Role: Thomas Kalmaku|
|2013||The Captain||No||No||No||Yes||Short film|
Role: The Captain
|2014||What We Do in the Shadows||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Viago|
|2016||Hunt for the Wilderpeople||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Minister|
|2016||Team Thor||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Short film|
|2016||Doctor Strange||No||No||No||No||Uncredited; directed mid-credits scene|
|2016||Moana||No||No||No||No||Uncredited; wrote initial screenplay|
|2017||Thor: Ragnarok||Yes||No||No||Yes||Role: Korg|
|2018||The Breaker Upperers (film)||No||Yes||No||No||Executive Producer|
|TBA||Jojo Rabbit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Adolf Hitler|
|2002||The Strip||13 Episodes||Role: Mostin|
|2003||Revelations||Episode: "Mended Sole"||Role: Ali|
|2003||Freaky||Episode: "Fridge, Cleaner & Sister"||Role: Cleaner|
|2007–2009||Flight of the Conchords||4 episodes||Director and writer|
|2009||The Jaquie Brown Diaries||Episode: "Brownward Spiral"||Role: Friendly Gypsy|
|2010||Radiradirah||8 episodes||Role: Various characters|
|2011||Super City||6 episodes||Director|
|2012||The Inbetweeners||5 Episodes||Director|
|2015||Brown Eye||Season 1||Writer and executive producer|
|2018||Wellington Paranormal||10 episodes||Co-creator, role: Viago |
|Actor||Eagle vs Shark (2007)||Boy (2010)||What We Do in the Shadows (2014)||Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)||Thor: Ragnarok (2017)||Jojo Rabbit (TBA)||Notes|
|Jemaine Clement||Clement and Waititi also worked together on television series Flight of the Conchords, Radiradirah and Wellington Paranormal|
|Rachel House||House also has a voice role in Moana (2016 film), a film Waititi wrote the initial screenplay for.|
|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|
|Scarlett Johansson||Archival footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron was used for Johansson’s appearance in Thor: Ragnarok|
- "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)
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 16 million views on YouTube. Waititi directed Tesco's "Borg" which features a comical Thor-esque character shopping in the supermarket, notably, he went onto 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)
|Eagle vs Shark||54% (107 reviews)||55 (25 reviews)|
|Boy||87% (69 reviews)||70 (19 reviews)|
|What We Do in the Shadows||96% (161 reviews)||76 (33 reviews)|
|Hunt for the Wilderpeople||97% (172 reviews)||81 (30 reviews)|
|Thor: Ragnarok||92% (323 reviews)||73 (48 reviews)|
Box office performance
|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||$294,865,064||$820,990,769||$180 million|||
- Taika Waititi Interview. Campus MovieFest Luminaries. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2017 – via YouTube.
- Churchouse, Nick (24 April 2010). "Home Boy hit helps keep local cameras rolling". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "Boy Now Top Grossing NZ Film Of All Time". Voxy.co.nz. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "Taika Waititi". NZ On Screen.
- Catherall, Sarah (10 December 2014). "My secret Wellington: Taika Waititi". Fairfax New Zealand.
- Tom Hunt (7 February 2012). "Taika Waititi reveals childhood passions". The Dominion Post.
- Elizabeth- cawobeth (3 March 2012). "'Boy' movie review, trailer: A charming New Zealand family movie". newjerseynewsroom.com. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Bloom, Nate (10 July 2007). "Interfaith Celebrities: Kyra Sedgwick, Baseball's Braun-y Interfaith Rookie and a Jewish Maori director". InterfaithFamily.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Borys Kit (15 March 2010). "Two kiwi actors join 'Green Lantern'". Reuters. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- Lawrence, Derek. "Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi to portray Korg in film". Entertainment Weekly.
- RT Staff (2 December 2009). "2010 Sundance Film Festival Lineup Announced". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Calder, Peter (25 March 2010). "Boy". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Mitchell, Wendy (21 May 2010). "Waititi's Boy sets new record for New Zealand film". Screen Daily. screendaily.com. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "Interview with Taika Waititi". Marcus Lush. Auckland. 22 March 2010. ZM. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Super City". TV3. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "mock documentary WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS". 17 December 2013. 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.
- Sharf, Zack (4 April 2016). "Sundance Crowdpleaser 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' Makes Box Office History in New Zealand". Indiewire.com. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- "Taika Waititi behind Disney script 'Moana'". The New Zealand Herald. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Day One on Thor: Ragnarok". Taika Waititi. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- Taika Waititi on Twitter
- Horton, Perry (7 December 2016). "The Captain is a Hilarious and Harrowing Hangover". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- Gonzalzes, Umberto (28 October 2016). "'Thor Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi Behind 'Doctor Strange' Mid-Credit Scene". The Wrap. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Hunt, Elle (20 March 2017). "Taika Waititi on shaking up Thor and being a Hollywood outsider: 'They take this stuff so seriously'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
- Lawrence, Derek (18 April 2017). "Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi to portray Korg in film". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 18 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- Film, NZ (3 April 2017). "THE BREAKER UPPERERS BEGINS PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY". NZ FILM. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- Donnelly, Matt (14 March 2018). "'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Taika Waititi to Play Imaginary Hitler in 'Jojo Rabbit' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- Lane, Carly (19 December 2017). "What We Do in the Shadows spinoff TV series Wellington Paranormal will be a supernatural detective show". Syfy Wire. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
- Waititi, Taika (24 August 2017). "Stu & Carlo". Twitter. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- New Zealand, Air (22 October 2014). "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #AirNZSafetyVideo". Air New Zealand. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- "Eagle vs Shark Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Eagle vs Shark Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Boy Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Boy Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "What We Do in the Shadows Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "What We Do in the Shadows Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Hunt for the Wilderpeople Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Hunt for the Wilderpeople Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Thor: Ragnarok Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
- "Thor: Ragnarok Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
- "Eagle Vs. Shark". Box Office Mojo.
- "Boy (2012)". Box Office Mojo.
- "What We Do in the Shadows". Box Office Mojo.
- "Hunt for the Wilderpeople". Box Office Mojo.
- "Thor: Ragnarok". Box Office Mojo.