Taika Waititi’s

 Hollywood Takeover

By Kirsten Howard

Five years ago, Kiwi director Taika Waititi was a small fish in a big pond. Here’s how he got on the fast track to stardom...

Taika Waititi started out in entertainment during the late ‘90s by working in comedy ensemble projects, but he soon began making his own short films.

In 2005, one of those short films — Two Cars, One — scored him an Oscar nomination. Always the joker, Waititi pretended to be asleep when they read out his name at the ceremony. 

His first feature film, the offbeat romantic comedy Eagle vs Shark, arrived in 2007, but it wasn’t until the release of Boy in 2010 that he became one to watch in indie circles. 

Waititi followed up his sophomore effort by co-directing the vampire comedy mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows with longtime collaborator Jemaine Clement.

What We Do in the Shadows became an instant cult classic, and has since spawned two TV spinoff series.

Having proven he was adept at both comedy timing and directing, Waititi caught the attention of Marvel Studios, who chose him to handle the third film in its beleaguered Thor franchise, Ragnarok.

Waititi seemingly managed to do the impossible: he breathed life into the franchise by abandoning most of its more serious elements and injecting Thor with color, style, and jokes aplenty.

He also voiced one of Ragnarok’s new characters, Korg, who immediately turned into a fan favorite.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

With Thor: Ragnarok Waititi became a vital addition to Marvel, leaning into co-creator Jack Kirby’s vision and embracing largely ignored comic book adaptations from the past, like 1980’s Flash Gordon.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

People soon started to talk about whether the director would return for another Marvel movie.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Instead, he hopped over to the low budget film Jojo Rabbit, about a kid in the Hitler Youth whose mother is secretly hiding a Jewish girl. It was well-received, and Waititi won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for it.

But both Disney and Marvel Studios still seemed desperate to keep him in the fold, and he was cherry-picked to direct the first season finale of Disney+’s pricey Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Soon, Disney and Marvel secured Waititi for a follow-up Thor movie, Love and Thunder, and it’s been announced that he will get to helm his very own live-action Star Wars movie.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

While his planned live-action Akira film remains delayed indefinitely, Waititi will also be busy overseeing two new animated series for Netflix based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Taika Waititi has become one of the most sought after creators in Hollywood. How much higher can his star rise?

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)