The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: The man behind Thor Ragnarok - Inteview with director Taika Waiti! #thorragnarokevent
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Monday, October 30, 2017

The man behind Thor Ragnarok - Inteview with director Taika Waiti! #thorragnarokevent

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Like the movie, the interview with Thor Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi, was out there. But out there in a good way. Taika is is funny and crazy and I totally see his mark on Thor Ragnarok. From the moment he came into the room, we were mesmerized by the whirlwind that is Taika. When I wrote this post, it was so hard to get parts of the interview to use. It was really a stream of consciousness sort of thing.

I tried my best to give you a taste of Taika and how he came to direct Thor Ragnarok. I also want to say that the movie so encapsulates his own personality: funny, frenetic and entertaining. It's a little choppy but that's Taika. Enjoy this interview because I know I did.

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

On directing Thor Ragnarok:

It was harrowing and exciting. My experience was making very independent films, low budget, 25-day shoots and my first reaction really was I guess Marvel Company lost their mind or they’re just asking anyone to do anything. I was really unsure if I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I was already getting too comfortable and I wanted to start learning stuff.

I started feeling I was kind of threading water a little bit and I wanted to just keep upping the game and learning and then we did the pitch with Marvel and they’re really amazing people and the thing with [the] pitch is that a lot of people think it’s been about pitching stories. I just think it’s just about assessing each other out, figuring out if you want to hang out for two years. So, we went and hung out in Marvel offices and they were really great in those trailers and I haven’t had any regrets.

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

On playing Korg:

I'm a self-saboteur. Any chance I get to, you know, to put my career at risk I’ll just do it. I will [put]  myself up in any film I do. But with so many eclectic characters and crazy elements in this film you often need something grounding for the audience. I feel really good at playing mum characters. Korg is very much the mother of the prison and looks after everyone. I think audiences appreciate having someone that’s just down to earth and gentle because you need that.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Improvisation in the movie:

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.

We used the script on the film. I used the script as a kind of template, 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 because I mean you write dialogue six months before you shoot, you think it’s amazing at the time but, you don’t even know what will change or it might be a bore so yeah, so it changes on the day.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Fun on set:

I ruined most of the takes by even being in the scene laughing off camera and because the way I do it is I'm 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. I can’t believe I'm making Anthony Hopkins whatever I want.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

On Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song:

When I went in for my pitch I was a massive fan [of Zeppelin]. Ever since I was a kid I listened to all the LPs and all my mom’s records. I went to the pitch and I made this sizzle reel which is like I basically ripped tiny clips from multiple movies to show my idea for what the tone of the film would be and it was from [clips] to Sixteen Candles, Big Trouble in Little China, and the entire thing was to Immigrant Song and so yes playing this whole clip and at the end I talked to Kevin about it.

I went and talked about it a couple of times and that was one of the strong points about [my] pitch. It was either him or another one of the execs said wow, that’s cool. I was like okay. Because of that it became the song and we were able to use it somehow in the film and I mean I couldn’t be happier that it’s in. I mean it’s the perfect song for the movie about Thor.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

On the actors’ performances:

I knew Jeff would be that good but my favorite performance is Chris’s performance because just knowing how fun he is and how funny and he’s charming and he often is the kind of makes you feel like oh, man if you actually were Thor I would totally come and be 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 and, in particular, him and Mark I think together when they’re bouncing off each other I love that.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

On Loki:

I think people, if you come to expect it too much you know, the thing about Marvel, the decisions they make, the stories also and directors [they choose]. It’s like the most unexpected choice was me to direct this film; even for me. I think if it gets predictable you come into the movies and [think] Loki’s doing the same thing. I don’t think it’s as satisfying as seeing that character come through the other end of it through a true story. It’s satisfying seeing how finally two brothers can get over the crap.

I loved that. You know, that was something that I thought yeah because that’s actually what life is about. It sometimes does take 15 years to decide if you like someone or not.

 Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

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THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd! 

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