Taika Waititi Relates Wilderpeople Scene
Director Taika Waititi narrates a scene for the New York Times from his comedy adventure film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which opens 24 June in the United States.
“At this point in the film, Ricky (Julian Dennison) and Hec (Sam Neill) have been on the run for a couple of months,” Waititi explains. “They’re really feeling the pressure of the mounting search and the government trying to bring them in. At this point we have an in-camera, one-shot montage to show the passing of time and to recap on all the characters that have been involved in the film.
“This was about midway through the shoot and we were down in the middle of the North Island. We didn’t expect any snow at all. We were deep in army land and the army really came and helped us out, giving us tanks and equipment for a big car chase. One of the other things they helped out with was giving us access to parts of New Zealand that had never been captured on film before.
“When we were driving into this area, we were planning to do a bunch of other scenes. But it started snowing really heavily. By the end of the morning we had six inches of snow. So we regrouped to figure out what we were going to do. I quickly rewrote parts of the script to take place in the snow and use it as a seasonal change. And I thought, while we’re figuring out our next move, why don’t we try this big montage shot that I had in my head for a while. I was just lucky enough to have all the actors there on the day.
“We basically put the camera on the tripod and we planted it in the ground and we just slowly turned the camera 780 degrees. We hid all the actors beneath the camera and in the bushes. Each time we passed the camera by an actor, either an actor would pop up into frame or would run around the camera to take their place for another pass. We had a fire that was going on in the beginning. Someone would run in and put that out. We had doubles who were in different costumes. I think in the end we had three Hecs and three Rickys in the shot, the real ones and then two doubles each. So it was a real choreography.”
Hunt for the Wilderpeople grossed $1,263,000 in New Zealand on its opening weekend, the highest grossing opening weekend for a New Zealand film. It is the highest-grossing local film of all time.
Original article by Mekado Murphy, The New York Times, June 16, 2016.