Taika Waititi Quotes

  1. I think everyone has experienced those boring arguments about whose turn it is to do the dishes.
  2. Most of my films – if you look at the tone, apart from ‘Shadows,’ which is straight-up comedy – the tone is a mix between comedy and pathos, and I really love that.
  3. It was never really my plan to become a filmmaker.
  4. At the end of the day, the reality is we’re all losers, and we’re all uncoordinated. We’re the worst of all of the animals on earth, and there’s something quite endearing about that.
  5. New Zealand was such a weird place in the 1980s. For instance, we used to have this commercial in the late 1970s where this guy drives this car and stops outside a corner store. He goes in to buy something, and when he comes out, his car is gone. He’s like, ‘Huh?’ Then a voice says, ‘Don’t leave your keys in the car.’
  6. I like flawed characters, and I like seeing people who are supposed to be not villains but antagonists. There are elements to them, which are really annoying, but you kind of see where they came from. You see the things that caused those inadequacies.
  7. My favorite was ‘The Lost Boys.’ Corey Haim wore this trench coat, and I made my mum buy me a trench coat. I wore it to school, to primary school.
  8. Music – it’s motivational and just makes you relax.
  9. ‘Eagle vs Shark’ is a little film I could take risks with and make mistakes on.
  10. One of my favourite books when I was young was ‘Wuthering Heights.’
  11. Most people in their lives do feel like they are outsiders at some point.
  12. I’m always fascinated by the theme of children who parent the adults.
  13. I’m not interested in doing work that doesn’t captivate me.
  14. I love heroes that really go through ordeals, and they come out the other end completely changed.
  15. ‘Boy’ was about my dad.
  16. I play music all the time because silence freaks me out.
  17. When I became a film-maker, all my favourite films, they weren’t comedies.
  18. You have to let go of the control and allow things to develop. You need to have a flexible attitude, especially working with kids.
  19. ‘Eagle vs Shark’ was about keeping myself sane. I wanted to go back to my comedy roots with people I trusted and had worked with before and do something low-budget and more experimental.
  20. I think I’m a better filmmaker than actor, so I already know that. That’s OK. I can handle not being a famous actor.
  21. When I play characters, I like playing people who just comment on stuff, stand around and talk.
  22. We all have to remember that New Zealand is built on these kind of people who are rebels and renegades, people doing it their own way, fighting for freedom, and braving the elements. I think it’s cool to celebrate that.
  23. We’ve got a thing called the ‘tall puppy syndrome’ in New Zealand, where if anyone is doing really well, it’s quite common to try and bring them down – like, cut them down and say, ‘You’ve been to the moon? So what? I mean, plenty of people have been to the moon.’
  24. My favourite kind of comedy comes from the awkwardness of living, the stuff that makes you cringe but borders on tragic – that is more interesting to me. It resonates; it comes from emotional truth.
  25. I’ve been on a lot of film sets, and I’ve always promised myself I wouldn’t create a set where people dread coming to work.
  26. The thing for me is that ‘Thor’ was an indie film that just had a few more zeros on the budget. At heart, it is just a simple story about a guy trying to get home to deal with someone who has broken into his house. It’s just ‘After Hours,’ but set in space.
  27. Within the family unit, you have people you grew up with who are supposed to be your brother, father, or your mother who are almost like strangers and acquaintances.
  28. I’m not very proud of coming from a place that everyone thinks is this pure green country whereas, in reality, all our lakes and waterways are poison.
  29. I’d loved ‘Iron Man,’ you know, with a passion. I thought that was the most fresh, cool thing, in terms of superhero movies, that I’d seen in a long time.
  30. In my films, a lot of the situations come from real life.
  31. I think something that every actor wants, whether they’ve done four movies or forty movies, is they want to find the work interesting. You want to come to work and think this is going to be a challenge.
  32. I don’t like laughing at people unless they’re in a privileged position or if they’re in authority. If it’s poor people or people who live on the outskirts or on the margins, or the underdog, I’d rather be laughing with them.
  33. Basically, the big studios and companies distributing your movie just take a big cut of profit for making posters.
  34. I’m in all my films, I can’t help it. I just jam myself in there if there’s a space.
  35. If someone asked, ‘What are your films like?,’ the best I can come up with is that they’re, like, a fine balance between comedy and drama. And they deal mainly with the clumsiness of humanity.
  36. Anyone who has a parent can relate to this idea of not quite understanding who your parents are or making up stories about them.
  37. Characters I create are just mixtures of the people I know.
  38. In a lot of my films, the biggest theme is family, making families out of those around you.
  39. Shooting a movie should be fun! It’s not a real job. It can be hard, but at the end of the day, we’re dressing up and playing pretend.
  40. I find that relationships between kids and parents are very interesting.
  41. There are 100,000 versions of Jeff Goldblum.
  42. I love living in New Zealand.
  43. When you’re on set, you’re like, ‘Everyone’s judging me because I’m the director, and everyone thinks I’m doing this because I just love myself and I want to do everything.’ Part of it’s true: I do want to do everything, and I do kind of love myself.
  44. I don’t mind going from sadness to comedy in a split-second or mixing the two up.
  45. Maori get pigeonholed into the idea they’re spiritual and telling stories like ‘Whale Rider’ and ‘Once Were Warriors,’ quite serious stuff, but we’re pretty funny people, and we never really have had an opportunity to show that side of ourselves, the clumsy, nerdy side of ourselves, which is something I am.
  46. You can have integrity with your art, but worrying about integrity doesn’t pay the bills.
  47. You have to write what you know.
  48. There are lots of parts of filmmaking that I don’t like. At the end of the day, especially on features, the film turns into a commodity. You have to play this entirely new game I’m very uncomfortable with.
  49. Indigenous people in films, it’s all, like, nose flutes and panpipes and, you know, people talking to ghosts… which I hate.
  50. Kids are always very savvy. It doesn’t take long for a kid to realize when an adult is a loser.
  51. My job is to express myself.
  52. I’ve never been a guy who was anal about housework. A typical Wellington flat when I was flatting was a warehouse with, basically, sheets hung up for walls.
  53. You realise that there’s nothing more endearing than people who are desperately trying to be liked or trying to be the hero, you know? Who also probably just need a hug or want to impress their dad?
  54. I’ve always felt that I wanted to make a Marvel film… I just want to make sure I’m not making an episode.
  55. I had a country upbringing in a predominantly Maori community, and that contrasted with a very multi-cultured arts community in the Aro Valley in Wellington: growing up around a lot of theatre and poets and writers and stuff.
  56. The stuff I’m passionate about is what I write; it isn’t multi-million-dollar franchise movies.
  57. I did roles that I hated, and there were roles that were detrimental to my acting ability. There were roles that I was always doing that were always the comic relief… it was destroying my soul.
  58. Visually, I’m always considering shots and composition quite a lot, and I love putting art into films, and I do a lot of the art.
  59. I think… part of life skills is also socialising… I think many people make the mistake of not going out… You can spend a little bit too much time with your nose in your book or with your fingers on a keyboard, and you miss out.
  60. That’s what attracts me to the kind of characters I try and write – that they’re not cut and dried.
  61. I always wanted to play a dapper gentleman, and I also always wanted to play my mum.
  62. You make up a character, there’s always gonna be parts of you that, like it or not, shine through.
  63. There’s nothing cooler than going to work and hanging around with your friends and laughing, because it’s something that you get told off for throughout your entire time at school… it’s just like a big ‘in your face’ to those bully teachers that you had when you were a kid.
  64. I come from a country whose idea of masculinity is quite extreme, and I’ve grown up around a lot of that energy. I’ve been part of that a lot. And it’s very draining; it’s quite tiring trying to be macho.
  65. Coming from a very small country, it’s always nice to see our own doing well.
  66. My father is a visual artist, so I was influenced by him, and my mother is an English teacher who forced me to read a lot of books and poetry and get involved in theatre. I developed a varied taste for different arts.
  67. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough interesting acting roles in New Zealand to sustain a career.
  68. I love films that make you feel something but also deliver that payload behind jokes.
  69. I’ve always found the script to be more of a skeleton, the template.
  70. With some actors, you can tell, just from their different backgrounds and their different approaches to working, they would have just a natural conflict, just a sort of friction.
  71. I think our first heroes with whom we discover flaws are our parents.
  72. I really like arcade games and like the ’80s and early ’90s kind of games, just because there’s a real kind of naivete to them, but there’s like a real inventiveness to it as well.
  73. New Zealand was kind of getting a reputation for making middle-of-the-road films that weren’t really that unique. They were kind of New Zealand versions of overseas films, and for sure, having an Oscar nomination totally helped me get funding.
  74. I’ve loved vampires since I was a kid, or loved a lot of the vampire movies that I saw. Anything with sharp teeth, really. I remember you could get those fake vampire teeth, and I remember just keeping them in all the time.
  75. My world is not spectacle and explosion. It’s two people talking.
  76. People overcoming the odds is actually a really important part of humanity, and I don’t think we kind of get to celebrate that as much as we should.
  77. I wish I was less good-looking and more unpopular. Then I could get into politics and use my pent-up resentment about being ugly and unpopular to systematically destroy the country.
  78. I was depressed about the roles that were on offer, so I had to make my own stories.
  79. My main thing was painting; I was just going to do that.
  80. Independent films are really the best ones out there. They’re the most original stories, and they’re very good.
  81. Actors are terrible at overthinking things before they turn up to work, and they decide on a way they’re going to do it, and then it’s hard to break them out of it.
  82. I come from a big extended family, so it’s very normal to be around babies for us, but when it’s your own, it’s a very different experience for us.
  83. Films that are easy to sell happen to be the worst films. Look at the poster for ‘Wrath of the Titans’ and ‘John Carter’: they’re exactly the same. You could switch titles.
  84. I actually keep having this one recurring dream where I’m a little number standing in a line of other numbers that look identical to me. Then there are more and more of these numbers that follow me, again and again and again. It’s more of a nightmare.
  85. Not every person can be an artist: we need people to run stuff.
  86. I’ve always said that, first and foremost, I make films for New Zealanders. They’re my target audience. Then after that, if people appreciate my stories from outside this country, then that’s an added bonus.
  87. To me, spending millions of dollars recreating the world’s sadness with actors and props and sets – it seems like a kind of arrogant waste of money… Unless, that is, it’s a film about an historical event.
  88. My style of working is I’ll often be behind the camera, or right next to the camera yelling words at people, like, ‘Say this, say this! Say it this way!’ I’ll straight-up give Anthony Hopkins a line reading. I don’t care.
  89. I daydream all the time.
  90. The family unit is very interesting because these are people that you’re supposed to be the closest to in your life, and yet that’s where you find the greatest distances between people as well – especially between parents and kids.
  91. A lot of people are trying to get out of their home country and think ‘making it’ is if you’re able to work in another. For me… I’d be quite content to keep doing my own little films down there for the rest of my filmmaking career.
  92. As kids, we all thought Bob Marley was Maori.
  93. I find that a lot of child actors are ruined once they’ve done a job.
  94. The ridiculous events in everyday life are often overlooked – people don’t recognise it as potentially cinematic.
  95. A set should be like a family, except that you all actually like each other.
  96. Nothing could be more restrictive than working with people in advertising.
  97. I really didn’t want to be boxed into becoming a certain kind of film-maker – becoming the Maori story film-maker because I had made those short films.
  98. I don’t think there’s much tolerance for people who are a little different or withdrawn or quiet. They always seem to be the ones who stick out the most, the ones who want to just shy away and withdraw.

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