Undoubtedly, Taika Waititi has made a name for himself in Hollywood. His name is etched in stone as one of the most successful filmmakers, with high-grossing movies to his name. However, Taika Waititi is known to many people in different ways.
For some, he’s Antwan, a self-absorbed, narcissistic CEO who steals the Keys code in the American action-comedy movie Free Guy. Then for others, he’s the ever hilarious Korg in the MCU’s Thor franchise movies. But Taika Waititi is a name we’ll never forget in a hurry. So, here are some things you may not know about this super-talented filmmaker.
Who is Taika Waititi?
He is a New Zealand filmmaker, actor, screenwriter, producer, and comedian. Before becoming a Hollywood top director, Waititi made a name for himself in New Zealand cinema. Two of his movies, Boy a Hunt for the Wilderpeople, are among the country’s highest-grossing movies.
Taika Waititi was born on August 16, 1975, in Raukokore, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. He has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a BAFTA Award. In addition, he has been nominated twice for the Primetime Emmy Awards.
He’s got two last names.
Taika Waititi is a unique name in itself, but the filmmaker has more than just a single last name. His full name is Taika David Cohen, but he professionally chose to use Taika Waititi. But this is not about him trying to be creative. Both last names are legit and belong to his mom and dad.
When he was about five years old, his parents had a divorce. He was raised by his mother, Robin Cohen. As such, growing up, his legal documents had the name Taika Cohen. At the university, Waititi got involved in creative acts. Whenever he did any writing and film work, he used Cohen as last name. To stand out, he chose to use Waititi for his works in the visual arts.
With success he got from his first short film, he decided to continue using Waititi as a professional filmmaker. So, whatever the last name you use in addressing him, you would not be wrong, as long as it’s Cohen or Waititi.
He has a unique directing style in movies
Movies are generally make-believe, and we rank and award actors for how best they can interpret scripts. However, Waititi believes actors can give a more realistic impression about a character if they don’t get to see the entire script.
For a filmmaker known for his comedic side, Waititi believes actors can deliver better roles (especially in comedy) when they don’t know what to expect. This way, their reaction at every given time is more organic, funnier, and believable.
Taika Waititi is Jewish
Yes, Waititi is popularly known as the New Zealand filmmaker, but he’s also Jewish. It may be hard to digest, especially if you’ve watched his 2019 Jojo Rabbit movie, where he plays the Adolf Hitler character. But it’s true, Waititi has revealed in the past that his mother’s family are Russian Jews.
As a result, even though Jojo Rabbit was a success, many of his Jewish critics didn’t like his portrayal of Adolf Hitler. Nevertheless, it’s good to know he’s Jewish and a creative who understands movies are some of the best ways to tell stories.
He’s a spontaneous filmmaker.
There’s no doubt Waititi takes a different approach when directing movies. Actors who have worked with him have confessed he’s much relaxed and very open to ideas when shooting scenes. He’s known to throw in extra new lines to actors when shooting movies.
In one of his interviews, Waititi admits that a significant part of the lines seen in Thor: Ragnarok were improvised and introduced during the movie shoots. This is proof that Waititi doesn’t believe comedy should be scripted.
He’s a big fan of cinematic universes
It may not surprise many that he plays a vital role in the MCU Thor franchises. We see him direct 2017 Thor: Ragnarok and come back to direct and write 2022 Thor: Love and Thunder. However, Waititi is not only in the MCU. He has also played a part in the Star Wars universe.
He assisted the production crew in directing the last finale of The Mandalorian. If you’ve watched the series, you can also hear him do a voiceover for the IG-11 character. There have also been announcements that Star Wars fans should expect a movie directed by Taika Waititi. We can’t wait to see it!