"I constantly remind myself that there are terrible movies out there. I try to watch them, some of them, to give myself an understanding of what not to do."Taika David Waititi, also known as Taika Cohen (born August 16th 1975), is an Academy Award nominated director and screenwriter from New Zealand. He is of Māori and Russian Jewish heritage.Graduating from the Victoria University in Wellington, he originally worked primarily as a comedian and actor, and was one half of the comedy duo The Humourbeasts with Jemaine Clement. He also acted in local low budget films and TV series and in 2011 played a supporting role in the superhero film Green Lantern before later turning his full focus to directing and writing.As a director, he's best known for What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Thor: Ragnarok, all of which he appears in as an actor. He also wrote the initial screenplay of Moana.
— Taika Waititi
As writer, director, and actor:
- Eagle Vs Shark (2007) as Gordon
- Boy (2010) as Alamein
- What We Do in the Shadows (2014) as Viago note
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) as Minister note
As director and actor
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) as Korg
As writer and director:
- Two Cars, One Night (2003) note
- Green Lantern (2011) as Thomas Kalmaku
- Moana (2016) note
Tropes associated with Taika Waititi include:
- The Ace: All of Waititi's films have receive high levels of critical praise. Hunt for the Wilderpeople holds a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and won the "Golden Tomato" for the best rated limited release film of 2016, while Thor: Ragnarok briefly held the distinction of being the highest Marvel Cinematic Universe film —out of seventeen entries— on the same website. It's currently the second-highest with 93%, narrowly coming short of Iron Man's 94%.
- Waititi himself is also incredibly popular in his home country of New Zealand, with Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople becoming the two top grossing New Zealand films of all time. In 2017 he was named the 'New Zealander of the Year'.
- Bathos: Most of the films in his filmography use this heavily, having some very serious and dramatic themes but pairing that with absurdist comedy.
- Beard of Directors: Of the Silver Fox variant.
- Black Comedy: A common component of his films, especially What We Do in the Shadows which is a mockumentary about vampires living in a domestic modern setting.
- Creator Cameo: As a trained actor, he has played small roles in a majority of his films.
- Mockumentary: Used in Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows and the comedic Team Thor shorts he directed to show what Thor (and Bruce Banner) were up to in the run up to Thor: Ragnarok.
- Production Posse: Has directed Rachel House in four different films.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His films definitely lean more towards the idealistic side of the scale, they may deal with serious themes but they usually do so with humour, pathos and plenty of heartwarming moments.
- Something Completely Different: From very low budget, primarily comedic independent films to the huge budget, CGI-laden superhero tentpole film, Thor: Ragnarok. Waititi has promised however that Ragnarok will still very much be a Taika Waititi film, despite the budget.
- Troll: Hilariously so in real life, especially on his Twitter page which is a rich font of good natured fun poking and hilarity. He famously also feigned falling asleep at the 2004 Oscars during the announcement of the 'Best Live Action Short Film' nominations, for which he was nominated for Two Cars, One Night.