This experience was all thanks to Marvel Studios and Disney, but the opinions are 100% my own.
Taika Waititi is one of my favorite directors. I love all of his work, so I was thrilled when I found out he was directing Thor: Ragnarok. In case you some how missed it, I am a bit of a Marvel fan. So knowing he was in charge of a Marvel movie made my heart happy. The man is brilliant. His movies always have humor in them – but can also be deep, and even action packed! I just could not wait to see it. And then, something incredible happened. I was invited to LA to walk the red carpet at the premiere AND interview Taika – I basically screamed out loud when I found out.
As I was sitting there waiting for him to walk in, I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was a bit nervous. I mean, to me, this guy is a legend already. I have seen all of his movies, many times, and I could not wait to pick his brain! The night before the interview I saw Thor: Ragnarok at the LA premiere so my mind was racing with questions. He sat down and I waited a few seconds before blurting out “How does it feel to jump in with Marvel.”
From Independent Films to a Marvel Film
I knew that Taika has only directed small, independent (and incredible) films up until now – although he did write the initial story for Moana. But for him, I imagined, Marvel was the big time – the ultimate. I mean, I know it would be for me! His answer didn’t surprise me. “It was harrowing and exciting. When they offered me the chance to come and pitch on it, my experience was making very independent films – low budget, 25 day shoots. My first reaction really was ‘I guess Marvel’s lost their mind and they’re just asking anyone to do anything’. I was really unsure if I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone but I started feeling, before the Marvel films, I was already getting too comfortable and I wanted to start learning stuff.”
He went on to explain his background in filmmaking and why working with Marvel would be such a big opportunity for him. “I started making films at about 28, 29 [years old]. It wasn’t my big dream as a kid. [I wasn’t like] JJ and all these guys running around with super 8 cameras when they’re four years old. I caught it very late and it was like an arranged marriage – I forced myself to love it. After years of making films, much like Chris with his previous versions of Thor, I started feeling I was kind of treading water and I wanted to just keep upping the game and learning.”
Taika added one last part about his pitch with Marvel. “A lot of people think [a pitch is]about you pitching stories – it’s not. It’s about figuring out if you wanna hang out for two years. So we went and hung out and Marvel was really great and straight up with me and I haven’t had any regrets. ”
Putting Himself in Thor: Ragnarok
If you know anything about Taika’s previous work, you know he is in all of his movies. Sometimes he is a main character, sometimes simply a dead brother. In Thor: Ragnarok, he plays Korg, a rock like character called a Kronan. He has quite a few scenes (which he steals if you ask me), and we asked him why he would give himself that added pressure. His response had us all laughing. “Because I’m a self-saboteur. Any chance I get to put my career at risk I’ll just do it. I will wedge myself into any film I do. I really love the actor title.”
“With Sakaar and so many eclectic characters and crazy elements in this film, you often need something grounding for the audience. I feel like I am really good at playing mum characters, like in What We Do In The Shadows my character is the mother of the house. Korg is very much the mother of the prison and looks after everyone. I think audiences appreciate having someone that’s just down to earth and gentle – you need that. The film is crazy [so it’s nice to]take a step back every now and then.”
Korg’s Dialogue and Future in the MCU
I promise you, Korg will be one of your favorite characters in this movie. Taika has said in previous interviews that a lot of Thor: Ragnarok was improvised, so we asked him how much of Korg’s dialogue was, and the answer might surprise you. “All of Korg’s dialogue was improvised. I didn’t decide on playing [Korg] until right at the last minute. Because no one really knew what this character was going to be and what the point of this character was.” We are all really hoping to see Korg again. We asked Taika if we will see him in the MCU in the future – perhaps in Infinity War or Avengers 4. He wouldn’t give us a straight answer but he did respond with “Georgia’s a really hot state.” Fingers crossed!
The Feel On Set
As far as life on set for Taika and the rest of the actors, we learned that it was a lot of fun. “Chris and I [got along]very well and a lot of the scenes in this film were adlibbed. There’s a lot of stuff in the film that’s adlibbed. On all of my films, I use the script as a template, as a suggestion for where we can go. We’ll do a version of it and then we’ll play around, make stuff up, and see if we can get something better. When you write dialogue six months before you shoot, you think it’s amazing at that time but you never know what change or it might be a bore so yeah, so it changes on the day.”
Taika added, “I ruined most of the takes by even being in front of the camera or laughing off camera. The way I do it is I’m the closest to the actors. I stare at them and say ‘say this, say this, say this’ and poke them in the shoulder. I’s a real god complex problem. You can just manipulate people, like a puppeteer. I can’t believe I’m making Anthony Hopkins whatever I want. So yeah, it really goes to your head pretty quick.”
The Colors of This Movie
You probably have noticed that Thor: Ragnarok is FULL of color. We asked Taika how that came about. “When I was a kid I was obsessed with the real weird comics – really colorful splash pages and stupid crazy characters. I feel like there is a trend lately – not just superhero movies but a lot of movies – where they are depressing and sad and serious. I hope people come out of the cinema smiling, because you go to any cinema and no one comes out smiling anymore. [Which is also] because it’s ten dollars for parking and you pay 80 bucks for the babysitter. The world is crazy right now. It’s nice to go away, smile, laugh, get a little bit of an escape.”
Which Performance Stood Out The Most
In Thor: Ragnarok, Taika worked with a lot of incredible actors. We asked him if there were any that stood out to him or surprised him. “I knew Jeff [Goldblum] would be that good but my favorite performance is Chris [Hemsworth]’s performance. How fun he is and how funny and charming – [he makes me feel like if he]actually were Thor, I would totally go and be with [him]. I just love having the opportunity to give him free range to be himself and to be charming and the favorite character. In particular, him and Mark [Ruffalo] together, were bouncing off each other – I love that.”
*POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD*
There were are few things that came up during our interview that are just too good not to write about – but may contain potential spoilers. Nothing too crazy that will ruin the film, but I recommend bookmarking this page and not reading on until you have seen it.
Matt Damon’s Cameo
All of us bloggers agreed that Matt Damon’s cameos was one of our favorite parts of the film. He is an actor playing the part of Loki, and they are reenacting Loki’s death from Thor: The Dark World. It is very early on and is hilarious, but we learned there is actually a pretty legit reason for it as well. “Originally there wasn’t supposed to be cameos. For those of you that don’t know, the actor who plays Thor is Luke [Hemsworth]. We didn’t want the audience to have rely on seeing the other movies, but if you had then it pays off. We shot for shot copied Loki’s death scene – the angle and the size. If you have seen that scene, we’re gonna give it back to you. Matt came into it pretty late in the game. Chris and Matt are good mates and that was Chris’s suggestion.”
Loki and Thor’s Relationship
If you have already seen the movie than you know there was a lot less mischief from Loki this time. We asked Taika why that was, and if his intention was always for it to turn out that way. “I think if it gets predictable – [for example,]you come to the movies and Loki’s doing the same thing again – I don’t think it’s as satisfying as seeing that character come through the other end of it – through a true story arc after three movies. The satisfying relationship and story arc in Ragnarok is Thor and Loki and seeing how finally two brothers can just get over their crap. Because that’s actually what life is about. Sometimes it does take 15 years to decide if you like someone or not.”
Thor: Ragnarok Synopsis
In Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!
Thor: Ragnarok Hits U.S. Theaters on Nov. 3rd!
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