Chill Out with Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins
Taika Waititi has always seen cinema as something optimistic. Growing up in a poor area of New Zealand, where he was born to an Ashkenazi mother and Māori father, movie theatres offered the future filmmaker an escape, a place where his spirits could be lifted, Jonathan Wells writes in a profile of the Next Goal Wins director for Canadian men’s magazine SHARP.
And the moments he remembers most fondly, he says, are those of air-punching, whoop-inducing glee – epitomised, for Waititi at least, by the moment Daniel LaRusso crane-kicks Johnny Lawrence at the end of The Karate Kid.
“It’s the triumph of the underdog,” explains the director. “It’s when E.T. comes back to life. It’s the moment Marty McFly’s parents kiss. It’s those moments that are uplifting and make the audience cheer. Look, I love a good depressing European film just as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to watch them all the time … [Next Goal Wins] is a film about hope and something we all need to be reminded of.”
SHARP caught up with the filmmaker twice in the run-up to the movie’s release, first to photograph him in downtown Toronto when the footballing film premiered at TIFF, and again at the Rugby World Cup semifinal match between New Zealand and Argentina.
Original article by Jonathan Wells, SHARP, November 17, 2023.
Photo by Christopher Sherman.