I was invited by Disney on an all expenses paid trip in exchange for my coverage of the #ThorRagnarokEvent. All opinions are my own.
I absolutely loved watching Thor Ragnarok and can’t wait to see it again in theaters! It opens this Friday, November 3rd. Read my review of Thor Ragnarok to see why I love it so much.
While I was in LA I was super lucky to get to sit down with the Director of Thor Ragnarok, Taika Waititi. He also plays “Korg” in the movie. He is such a funny guy and had us all laughing a lot. His energy is so great and he is such a fun guy to sit and talk with.
What was it like jumping into Directing this movie?
Taika: It was harrowing and exciting. When they offered me the chance to come, my experience was making very independent films, you know, low budget, 25 day shoots, and my first reaction really was I guess this Marvel company’s lost their mind or they’re just asking anyone to do anything (he said laughing and joking). So yeah I was really unsure if I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone but then I started feeling with my other films that I was already getting too comfortable and I wanted to start learning stuff and, you know, I have been making films since I was about 28, 29 and it was my big dream as a kid.
I wasn’t like JJ and all these guys running around with super 8 cameras when they’re four years old. I caught it very late and it was kind of it like an arranged marriage, I forced myself to love it. After years of making films I started really thinking, ‘what was that Chris with his previous visions of Thor?’ so I started feeling I was kind of treading water a little bit and I wanted to just keep upping the game and learning and then we did the pitch with Marvel and they’re really amazing people and the thing with pitch is that a lot of people think it’s about you pitching stories.
I just think it’s just about sussing each other out, and figuring out if you wanna hang out for two years (he said joking) So we went and hung out in Marvel offices and they were really great and were straight up with me and I haven’t had any regrets.
You have the pressure of these major characters of Thor and Hulk. So why did you put yourself in the film as a character (Korg)?
Taika: Because I’m a self-saboteur. Any chance I get to put my career at risk I’ll just do it (he said joking). I will wage myself in any film I do. I really love the actor Taika (he laughed). But with Sakaar and so many eclectic characters and crazy elements in this film, you often need something grounding for an audience. I think I’m really good at playing mum [mom] characters. In What We Do In The Shadows, it’s this vampire film, I don’t know if you have seen it, my character in that is the mother of the house and he like really brings the documentary crew threw and looks after them. And Korg is very much the mother of the prison and looks after everyone. I think audiences appreciate having someone that’s just down to earth and gentle ‘cause you need that. The film is crazy so it takes it back a little bit.
How much of Korg’s dialogue was scripted or was it freestyle?
Taika: All of Korg’s dialogue was improvised. We know there are certain pieces of information that we wanted to get across. That was a role that I didn’t decide on playing until right at the last minute. The thing was, Chris and I we get on very well and a lot of the scenes in this film were ad-libbed and there’s a lot of stuff in the film that’s ad-libbed. I used the script as a kind of template, as a sort of suggestion for where we can go. We’ll do a version of it and then we’ll play around, spend another hour or so just making stuff up, seeing if we can get something better. Because when you write dialogue six months before you shoot, you think it’s amazing at that time but you don’t know what might change or it might be a bore, so everything changes on the day.
So were you constantly laughing?
Taika: Yeah, I ruined multiple takes by even being in the film camera or laughing. ‘Cause the way I do it is I’m close to the actors and just stand there and say ‘say this, say this, say this’. I poke them on the shoulder and it’s a real god complex problem. You know you can just like manipulate people, puppeteer. I can’t believe I’m making Anthony Hopkins say whatever I want (he said joking).
—-SPOILER ALERT- Skip Down past the purple writing if you don’t want any spoilers.—-
I loved the Matt Damon scene, it was so funny. How did you come up with the casting?
Taika: Originally there weren’t supposed to be cameos in it. If you don’t know the actor Thor is Lucas, Chris’ brother. There was a perfect opportunity to give his brother a chance to take a place of Chris. We didn’t want the audience to have to rely on seeing the other movies but if you had then it pays off. Yeah, but we like shot for shot copied Loki’s death scene, the angle, and the size. Like if you’ve seen that scene, we’re gonna give it back to you in a fun way. I was talking to Matt last night, he goes ‘I wonder if that character should just keep going, shouldn’t he?’ (we all laughed). Matt came into it pretty late in the game. We weren’t sure exactly who we wanted for Rob, and Chris and Matt are good mates and that was Chris’s gesture.
There was less mischief from Loki this time around, was that on purpose?
Taika: I think if you come to expect it too much, you know, the thing about Marvel, the decisions they make, the stories also and directors, you know. It’s like the most unexpected choice was me to direct this film. Even for me. I think if it gets predictable you come into the movies and you’re like ‘Loki’s doing the same thing’ and I don’t think it’s as satisfying as seeing that character come through the other end of a true story arc, of the three movies. Satisfying relationships and story arcs in Ragnarok are Thor and Loki and seeing how finally two brothers can get over the crap. And I loved that. You know, that was something that I thought yeah ‘cause that’s actually what life is like, it sometimes does take 15 years to decide if you like someone or not.
Immigrant Song is so perfect in this film, did you have that in mind? Or when did you decide to incorporate it?
Taika: I was a massive fan [of Led Zeppelin and Immigrant Song]. I’ve actually got to return all my mum’s records. Ever since I was a kid I listened to all my mom’s records. But yeah, I went in to do the pitch and I made this sizzle reel which is, I just basically ripped tiny clips from multiple movies to show a tone that is my idea of what the tone of the film would be. Everything from Sixteen Candles, to Big Trouble in Little China, and the entire thing was to Immigrant song. So I played this whole clip and at the end, I talked to Kevin about it. He’s like oh, ‘I went and watched it a couple of times and that was one of the strong points about your pitch’. But anyway, because of that it became the song and we were able to use it in the film and I mean I couldn’t be happier that it’s in there. I mean it’s the perfect song for a movie about Thor.
Can you tell us more about the influences on the film? There was so much color for example.
Taika: Well that was just because when I was a kid I collected comics but I was obsessed with the really weird comics, like really colorful pages and stupid crazy characters. I kind of felt there was a trend lately that — not just superhero movies but a lot of movies were just depressing and sad and take themselves too seriously. I remember at the movies as a kid. You know, I’m watching Karate Kid and running out of the theater saying I’m Daniel LaRusso. I’m gonna jump on tiger and try to do the kick and fall off and break my arm. I want people to come out of the cinema smiling. ‘Cause you can go to any cinema in town no one comes out smiling anymore. Also because you pay ten dollars for parking and pay 80 bucks for the babysitter (he said joking). But the world is crazy right now. It’s nice to go away, smile, laugh, get a little bit of an escape.
Was there any performance that’s particularly surprised you?
Taika: Well I knew Jeff [Goldblum] would be that good. But my favorite performance is Chris’s performance because just knowing how fun he is and how funny and charming and he often is the kind of person that makes you feel like ‘oh, man if you actually were Thor, yeah I would totally come on an adventure with you’. But I just love having the opportunity to give him free rain to just be himself and to be charming and to like be the favorite character. In particular, him and Mark [Ruffalo] together when they’re bouncing off each other, I love that.
Like I said, he was very funny and had us all laughing. I loved hearing all about his experience Directing this movie.
Here is our group photo with Taika.
Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters THIS FRIDAY, Nov. 3rd!
Watch the trailer…
Also, check out:
- Talking with Thor Ragnarok Producer Kevin Feige
- my Red Carpet experience at the World Premiere of Thor Ragnarok
- DIY Hela Headdress, Hela Halloween Pumpkin, and Mjolnir Candy Apples
- Thor Ragnarok Character Posters
Like THOR: RAGNAROK on Facebook
Follow THOR: RAGNAROK on Twitter
Follow Marvel Studios on Instagram
“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! THOR: RAGNAROK is directed by Taika Waititi and returns Chris Hemsworth starring as Thor and Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki. They are joined by Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban, with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.“-Marvel Studios