This experience was all thanks to Marvel Studios and Disney, but the opinions are 100% my own.
You might not recognize Rachel House from many films – unless you watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople like I suggested. But I guarantee you would remember her voice. She voiced Gramma Tala in Moana, and now she is in Thor: Ragnarok. Her character, Topaz, is one of the best characters in the film if you ask me. She is hilarious! I honestly don’t know how she kept a straight face while filming – but we did ask her about it in this exclusive interview!
Keeping A Straight Face
As I mentioned above, Rachel is in a lot of hilarious scenes – and she has some pretty funny lines herself. We just had to know how she was able to keep a straight face while shooting. “I’m pretty used to keeping a straight face because I’ve done a lot of Taika’s films – and he, it’s always like that. But some of the other actors weren’t so good at it. Like they were losing it – especially Jeff Goldblum, because he was so funny. That’s not even half of it what you see – it’s not even a quarter of the improvisation and stuff that we were doing. Jeff was just so masterful at improvisation. I believe that they’re gonna do a gag reel with the release of the [blu-ray]. Taika was saying [that at the premiere].”
Working With Taika
This was not Rachel’s first time working with Taika, as you know. We asked her what her favorite part of working with him is. “Just the fun. The fun of it is really good. This is the first massive film he’s done. The others were very independent, therefore we had a very limited amount of time to shoot. So, you know, we made Hunt for the Wilderpeople in five weeks. And we had to literally run around the bush, and the mud, and the snow, and the rain. It was a lot of fun, but we had no time. So, we just had to keep going. Whereas in, in Thor, because of the scale, we got to kind of breath a little bit. Taika was allowed to play as much as possible. That was really great seeing him able to do that without [as much of a]time restraint.”
How She Met Taika
We wanted to know how it all began, so we asked her how she got involved with Taika Waititi in the first place. “I met him when he was 17. He was in a play in this little theater in Wellington – and he was the best thing about it. I was a couple years older, at drama school at the time. I met him after and said, ‘You were so great. Thank you so much.’ And then started becoming a fan of his little crazy comedy stuff that he’d do with Jemaine, Bret, and Nigel Collins. They did the most stupid things – they’d have sword fights with straws and reenact Star Wars. That was their comedy. I became a very big fan. From then, we just kept staying in touch. I had no idea he was gonna end up being a awesome film director. He was an artist, and an actor, and a comedian.”
Rachel immediately seemed super sweet and nice – not anything like her character in Thor: Ragnarok. Topaz is very serious, and sometimes, just downright mean. We asked her what it was like transforming in to character. “Kind of easy-ish. It’s a kind of character that Taika always makes me play. I play all these really mean characters and I’m not mean at all. I think he kind of enjoys that.” Rachel told us the hardest part about being Topaz – her costume. “It was really stiff. It was hard to move. It’s beautifully made, but it was a bit hard to move in.”
We were curious if Taika approached her directly to play the part of Topaz or not. “I got a top secret audition that I had to do through my agent. And she said, ‘Oh, it’s for Marvel.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’ll be Taika.’ I was given this tiny little saying with a few lines. New Zealand is so small, so one of my buddies, who’s a casting director filmed it and sent it off. Then got a very kind of drawl email from Taika saying, ‘Oh, by the way, you got the role.’ You know, which is really lovely. I don’t know if they saw any other people. I’m not sure. I think he made it what he wanted to see me do, even though most of it hasn’t ended up in the film, but that’s okay. There’s better stuff in the film. ”
Stepping Into The Marvel Universe
Marvel fans can be crazy. I know, because I am one. So I can only imagine how intimidating it must be for an actor to take on a Marvel role. We asked Rachel if it was intimidating and she said “Yes.” without even taking a breath first. “I am from New Zealand, of course.. But you get over that really quickly when you meet people. There’s so many wonderful people involved in the Marvel universe. They’re just normal, talented people. So the intimidation didn’t last long.”
Thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok
The night before our interview was the first time Rachel had seen the film, so we asked her what she thought of it. “Great. I mean, it’s so Taika. So full of comedy and his unique brand of humor. Korg was so great. It was amazing. People back in New Zealand are just gonna fall about, because it’s such a familiar character. You know, that character is very real in our neck of the woods. Valkyrie is just – oh my gosh – what a character – she’s so good.”
Jeff Goldblum Singing On Set
We asked Rachel if there was any particular scene they shot that she wished had made it in the final cut. She had already mentioned a few times that there was so much that did not make it in. “Yeah. There was this whole scene where Jeff does a song at the keyboards. And he made it up. I mean, I think he had a tiny little bit to go with, but then he just kept expanding. As you know, he is a wonderful jazz musician so he just expanded that. Then I was sort of his back up – really bad – back up singer as well. That didn’t make it in, which is a bummer.” That’s a scene I hope ends up in the bonus features – it sounds hilarious!
About Thor: Ragnarok
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!
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