Throughout his career, Taika Waititi has played a lot of different roles. He’s been a minister (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), a vampire (Viago in What We Do in the Shadows), and a friendly pile of rocks (Korg in Thor: Ragnarok). In his new film, Jojo Rabbit, he plays Adolf Hitler—well, a young German boy’s imaginary friend, who’s Hitler. For every one of these films, he’s also been the director, which means he’s often still in costume when he calls “action!” This can get awkward.
“I first thought it was bad directing in a vampire costume,” Waititi says. “It was hard enough then to be taken seriously. Then in the pajamas [for Korg]—you feel very, very ridiculous. And then directing dressed in this Hitler getup. You just feel embarrassed to talk to anyone.”
Playing Hitler wasn’t exactly his call. He’d wanted to adapt Christine Leunens’ Caging Skies ever since his mother suggested he read it back in 2010. As he was pursuing the movie, his studio Fox Searchlight said they’d only make it if he took on the role. The movie follows a young boy (Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis) in the Hitler Youth who discovers there’s a Jewish girl hiding in his attic—and starts to see the errors in his imaginary friend’s thinking. It’s also like a lot of Waititi’s previous films: a well-balanced mix of humor and heart.
“I wanted to make a film that has dramatic elements and comedic elements within something that might mean something,” he says. “I didn’t want to make just a standard depressing film about World War II. There are enough of them, and I really didn’t feel like I was contributing to the conversation.”
What else is Waititi interested in doing? WIRED met up with him to talk about his upcoming roles in Suicide Squad, Thor: Love and Thunder, and beyond.
Thor: Love and Thunder Will Outdo Ragnarok
Waititi recently completed the first script for his sequel to Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: Love and Thunder. As you might imagine from the poster, it’ll have the same rock ‘n‘ roll, over-the-top energy as its predecessor, but more of it. “It’s going to be bigger and louder and more bombastic,” the director says. “It’s only interesting to me if we’re doubling down on how nuts Ragnarok was.” He also will be coming back as Korg. “I really love playing that character,” he adds.
Waititi Knows You Want Valkyrie and Captain Marvel to Get Together
Earlier this year, at Comic-Con International, Tessa Thompson, who plays Asgardian badass Valkyrie in the Marvel movies, said that her character “needs to find her queen” in Love and Thunder. The comment sent the internet buzzing about who that future queen of Asgard could be. One of the fandom’s front-runners? Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). The actresses added fuel to that flame at a recent convention when they endorsed the shipping of their characters. When reminded that he could melt the internet by making this dream a reality, Waititi demurs. He acknowledges that he’s seen the chatter on Twitter but may not want it to be in his movie. “The thing is, I think it’s dangerous for people to say too much about what they want with Marvel, because then they will tend to go the other way,” he says. “You want to listen to the fans to a point. But also you don’t want to have a completely fan-made film because then it doesn’t feel like there’s any point. You want to have people surprised.”
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/taika-waititi-thor-love-and-thunder