What Other Films Has Taika Waititi Made?
Nowadays, Taika Waititi seems to be everywhere. The New Zealand actor and director will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2021’s Thor: Love and Thunder. Plus, he has roles in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the upcoming Star Wars Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
But right now, Waititi’s getting critical raves and awards buzz for his latest film, Jojo Rabbit. The “anti-hate satire” — as the film’s poster proudly proclaims — is getting plenty of attention for its distinctive vision. Before you check out Jojo Rabbit, let’s run through the rest of Waititi’s filmography.
‘Eagle vs Shark’ (2007)
In his feature directorial debut, Waititi told the unlikeliest of love stories. Loren Taylor and Jemaine Clement star as Lily and Jarrod, two socially awkward misfits who strike up romance. Waititi himself plays a supporting role.
Although Eagle vs Shark got mixed reviews, the film played an integral role in Waititi’s career. The signature style he would later hone is present here, albeit a bit more unpolished. Plus, he and Clement would continue to collaborate on other projects, including HBO’s Flight of the Conchords.
For his sophomore directorial effort, Waititi chose this coming-of-age story. The film tells the story of a young boy (James Rolleston) and his relationship with his estranged father (Waititi). As such, it remains one of Waititi’s most intimate films.
Upon its release, Boy was the highest-grossing film at the New Zealand box office. It remains critically beloved for its performances and the gentle nature of its family story. Fans of Waititi’s should certainly check it out, as it’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (2014)
Mockumentaries are hard to pull off, but co-directors Waititi and Clement make it look easy. Inspired by a 2005 short film the pair made, this film centers on a group of vampires living together. Waititi and Clement also co-star with Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fransham.
Even if you’ve never seen What We Do in the Shadows, you may be familiar with it. A TV series based on the film launched on FX earlier this year. Although the show focuses on different characters, it has gotten positive reviews and has been renewed for season 2.
‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ (2016)
This underrated comedy-drama may be small in scope. But it more than makes up for it with the size of its heart. Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2) plays a juvenile delinquent who finds himself on the run with his foster father (Sam Neill).
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is perhaps the greatest distillation of what Waititi brings to each project. His balance of quirk-laced wit and sentiment has never been more apparent. Hopefully, fans of some of the director’s other projects will find their way to this film.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017)
If his previous two directorial efforts didn’t quite bring Waititi into the mainstream, then this one definitely did. While successful, the first two Thor films failed to make the same mark as other MCU series. But that changed when Waititi brought his signature irreverence to this project.
Thor: Ragnarok serves as a soft reboot of the God of Thunder, allowing Chris Hemsworth to tap into the character’s humor. This cosmic thrill ride feels like it is ripped straight from the Jack Kirby comics. Waititi instantly re-energized the Thor series, inspiring Marvel to bring him back for Thor: Love and Thunder.
‘Jojo Rabbit’ (2019)
Of course, this aforementioned film is Waititi’s latest. And by the looks of it, Jojo Rabbit could be his entrance into the awards conversation. Set during World War II, it focuses on a young boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) in Hitler’s army.
The film is getting noticed not only because of the difficult subjects it tackles but the sensitive and hilarious way it does so. For instance, Waititi himself plays Jojo’s imaginary friend, an idiotic version of Adolf Hitler. Expect this one to garner some controversy as well as some awards.