Taika Waititi on the Cover of Hollywood Reporter
With sly and subversive humour, multihyphenate powerhouse Taika Waititi is redefining representation – “Comedy is a great way of pulling people in and going, ‘Hey, we’re all friends. Get comfortable. You’re racist’” – while having more fun in Hollywood than just about anyone else. Rebecca Keegan profiles the New Zealand filmmaker for a Hollywood Reporter cover story.
It’s late April, and Waititi, 47, is sprawled in a booth at The Mulberry, a chic new bar in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood of which he’s part owner, wearing Vans sneakers that say “Rez Dogs” on the heels, a “You Are on Native Land” baseball cap and chunky rings on most of his fingers. “I went full Native for you,” he says.
Waititi’s next film, Next Goal Wins, Keegan writes, a sports drama about the American Samoan national football team that Searchlight will release 17 November, sees the director returning to the type of underdog movies that established him, like his 2016 adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople, still New Zealand’s highest-grossing film.
“For Native filmmakers, in terms of why it’s important that we have more representation and get to be in control of our image,” Waititi tells the Reporter, “it’s because you’ve just got to change those images. So when you say ‘Native,’ it’s just someone who’s doing what I’m doing, sitting here, in too much jewellery, talking to you.”
Original article by Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, May 31, 2023.
Photo by Paul Yem.