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Trip sponsored by Disney but the opinions/experience are mine. Some interview questions and responses have been edited to improve readability.
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t remember hearing about Director Taika Waititi before I read that he was directing THOR: RAGNAROK. After I saw and absolutely LOVED how this film was done and loved this fun interview with him, I went home and looked up his other work. He has such a way with music that is ever present in THOR: RAGNAROK and I think is a huge reason I loved the movie so much. Taika not only directed the film, he was also IN the film as the character, Korg.
Taika was smiling and charming as soon as he walked in. He has such a fun presence and repeatedly talked about the awesome cast and how fun it was to work on the film. Here are just a few of the things we touched on:
On what it was like jumping into a Marvel movie
It was harrowing and exciting. When they offered me the chance to come and pitch on it… my first reaction really was I guess “this Marvel company’s lost their mind or they’re just asking anyone to do anything”. So, I went and did the pitch with Marvel and they’re really amazing people and the thing with pitch is that a lot of people think it’s been about pitching stories. I just think it’s about assessing each other out, figuring out if you wanna hang out for two years. So we went and hung out in Marvel offices and they were really great and I haven’t had any regrets.
On why he added more pressure to his job by also becoming a character – Korg
Because I’m a self-saboteur. Any chance I get to put my career at risk I’ll just do it, you know. With planet Sakaar with so many eclectic characters and crazy elements in this film you often need something grounding for the audience and something that’s sort of like… Mum characters. Korg is very much the mother of the prison and looks after everyone. I think audiences, I think they appreciate having someone that’s just down to earth and gentle ‘cause you need that. The film is crazy so it takes back.
On how he decided to cast Matt Damon (in a cameo)
Originally there wasn’t supposed to be, like, cameos. For those of you who don’t know Lucas [the other actor in the scene with Matt Damon when you watch the film] is Chris’ brother–and there was a perfect opportunity to give his brother a chance to take that fun role. We weren’t sure exactly who we wanted [to be the other cameo] for a while, but Chris and Matt are good mates and that was Chris’s suggestion.
On how he chose to use Immigrant song
When I went in for my pitch I made this sizzle reel, which is like I basically ripped tiny clips from multiple movies to show a tone that to them is my idea for what the tone of the film would be. It was films from Sixteen Candles, to Big Trouble in Little China, and the entire thing was to Immigrant Song. And so I talked to Kevin about it.
He’s like ‘yeah, I went and watched it, you know, a couple of times and that was one of strong points about your pitch.’ I couldn’t be happier that it’s in. I mean is it not the perfect song for the movie…about Thor?!
On the color and feel of the film
When I was a kid I played with comics but I was obsessed with the really weird comics, like really colorful splash pages and stupid crazy characters. I remember going to the movies as a kid and watching old movies like Karate Kid and running out on the field saying, ‘I’m Daniel LaRusso! I’m gonna jump on the playground and try to do the kick and fall off and break my arm, so that’s probably what inspired me. I want people to come out of the cinema smiling ‘cause you can go to any cinema in town and no one comes out smiling anymore. The world is crazy right now. It’s nice to go away, smile, laugh and get a little bit of an escape ‘cause there’s nothing wrong with that.
On whether the actors performed as he thought they would
Well I knew Jeff would be that good. but I really… well my favorite performance is Chris’s performance because just knowing how fun he is, and how funny and charming and he often is the kind of person who makes you feel like ‘oh, man if you actually were Thor than 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 be the favorite character. In particular him and Mark I think together when they’re bouncing off each other, I love that.
In my opinion, Taika ROCKED this film and I would not be surprised to see him be asked to work on a Marvel film again. You can see THOR: RAGNAROK in theaters this week on November 3 and then let me know what you thought!