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30 Thrilling Facts About Taika Waititi You May Have Not Known Before

Taika Waititi
(Photo : Gage Skidmore)

Taika Waititi has been in the industry for a while, but his sudden burst into the scene as the director of “Thor: Ragnarok,” marked his place in the Hollywood industry. A recipient of an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Grammy Award, and nominations for two Primetime Emmy Awards, the director has always had to the audience captivated and entertained with remarkable movies. Just in the last few years, he has become one of the hottest named behind the camera. Here are some really interesting facts about the director that will blow your mind:

    Taika Waititi"Taika Waititi" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

  1.  With his Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit,” he became the first person of Māori descent to have achieved this feat.
  2.  He is the first Indigenous filmmaker to have won an Oscar, while is the second Indigenous person to win a competitive Oscar, only after Buffy Sainte-Marie.
  3.  His short movie “Two Cars, One Night,” earned him an Academy Award nomination in the 2005 Award ceremony, where he famously feigned falling asleep when the nominations were being read out.
  4.  Waititi can speak German, having briefly lived in the country. This enabled him to incorporate some of the phrases he remembered into the script of the movie “What We Do in the Shadows.”
  5.  His voiceover work on the series “The Mandalorian,” earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance in the year 2020.
  6.  Taika Waititi was born as Taika David Cohen on August 16, 1975, in Raukokore in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand's North Island.
  7.  His father was an artist of the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent, while his mother Robin Cohen is a school teacher. His mother’s family was Russian Jews "mixed with a bit of Irish" and other European ancestry.
  8.  Despite claiming that he never grew up in “an actively practicing Jewish household,” he describes himself as a “Polynesian Jew.”
  9.  At the age of 5, his parents split up, after which he was raised by his mother in both the East Coast and the Aro Valley of Wellington.
  10.  The Waihau Bay where his movie “Boy” was filmed is where he actually grew up as a child. In fact, the house featured in the movie is Taika’s aunts’ house.
  11. Taika Waititi Presents"Taika Waititi Presents" by PunkToad is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  12.  He went to Onslow College, and then attended theatre at Victoria University of Wellington where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in the year 1997.
  13.  For his work in movie and writing, he used his mother’s surname of Cohen, while for all his visual arts endeavors, he used his father’s surname. With the success of his first short movie, he started to use his father’s surname professionally.
  14.  During his time with the Victoria University, he was a member of the ensemble “So You’re a Man,” and toured New Zealand and Australia.
  15.  He was the half of comedy duo “The Humourbeasts,” along with Jemaine Clement, which won the New Zealand’s highest comedy accolade – Billy T Award, in the year 1999.
  16.  Around this time, he also started to make short comedy movies for the New Zealand's annual 48-hour film contest.
  17.  His first feature film “Eagle vs Shark,” starting his then real-life partner Loren Horsley as Lily, was released in the United States Theaters for limited distribution in the year 2007.
  18.  However, his actual first movie is “Boy,” which he started to write immediately after the success of “Two Cars, One Night.” But, he wanted to make his debut movie lighter and chose “Eagle vs Shark.”
  19.  In the movie “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” the scene at Bella’s funeral with the Ministers’s eulogy, was actually based on an actual experience that Waititi witnessed.
  20.  During the production of “Boy,” he realized that the boy he had chosen as the lead was not working out, just a week before the filming commenced. He immediately started looking out for other boys.
  21.  Three days before the schedule of filming, he chose James Rolleston, who was hanging around on the sets, as an extra, to play the lead character.
  22. Taika Waititi"Taika Waititi" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

  23.  When he was asked about why he chose to play the role of Adolf Hitler in the 2019 movie “Jojo Rabbit,” he just said "The answer's simple, what better 'fuck you' to the guy?"
  24.  In fact, while playing the role of Adolf Hitler, he wore a fat suit and did not do any kind of research related to the character and his background or other specifics.
  25.  Talking about it in an interview Taika claimed that he wanted to recreate the character of Adolf Hitler, as inaccurately as possible, and even added that "he was not worth doing accurate research on."
  26.  In 2013, Taika used empty Nespresso capsules to make a two sided artwork showing the creation story of Wellington Harbour known in Maori as 'Tangi Te Keo'. It can be seen in Nespresso Boutique in Wellington.
  27.  He was married to New Zealand filmmaker Chelsea Winstanley from 2011 to the year 2018. He has two daughters with her.
  28.  He will write and direct the superhero film “Thor: Love and Thunder,” a sequel to “Thor: Ragnarok,” which is scheduled for a May 2022 release.
  29.  For the movie “What We Do in the Shadows,” he and Clement wrote 150 pages of script, but decided to not disclose it to anyone involved in the movie.
  30.  Everything that was in the final cut of the movie was largely improvised as Taika wanted the actors to be surprised by the events unfolding, giving a genuine reaction.
  31.  He once claimed in an interview that he was inspired to write “Two Cars, One Night” while hanging out in a g-string, fully waxed for an acting role as a stripper in a TV show “The Strip” in 2002.
  32.  He won the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media as a producer of the “Jojo Rabbit” soundtrack in the year 2021.
  33.  Taika Waititi Net Worth: $13 Million

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