With Taika Waititi in charge, can Thor be funny?

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor in the Marvel movie franchise.
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor in the Marvel movie franchise.

Indie film director Taika Waititi seems like a left-of-centre choice to take on the third instalment in the Marvel movie franchise, Thor.

The Kiwi director's vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows - written with Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) - and cult hit, Boy, don't exactly hit you between the eyes with their special effects or digital, green-screen creations.

Even Waititi seems somewhat bemused by the casting.

"I have no idea really why I'm doing this or how this happened. I think, you know when you get to the bottom of the barrel and then there's nothing left and you have to look underneath? Maybe that's what happened," Waititi told AAP at the recent Sydney premiere of The Jungle Book.

Director Taika Waititi is set to take on the next Thor movie. Photo / Getty Images
Director Taika Waititi is set to take on the next Thor movie. Photo / Getty Images

His answer is witty and self-deprecating, not surprising for a man whose films show great humour and pathos. He's a director who knows how to highlight the darkness of the human condition with a lightness of touch.

While following Waititi's vampires as they live out their lives in a Wellington suburb through some farcical scenes in What We In The Shadows, Waititi makes a subtle commentary on diversity and acceptance.

"They (Marvel) watched What We Do In The Shadows and some of my other films, Boy, and you know what the great thing about Marvel is? That they tend to make very out of the box, kind of odd decisions. They don't tend to go with the obvious choice. I think that's what makes their films really interesting again and again," he said.

At a time where Marvel's Deadpool and Iron Man have shaken up the superhero sphere with their darker humour, perhaps Waititi is the perfect choice to revamp Thor - one of Marvel's most earnest characters. Considering Deadpool has just overtaken X-Men: Days Of Future Past to become the biggest movie in the franchise with a US$752 million (NZ$1,100 million) in global box office takings, it could prove wise to get witty.

Read more:
Hunt for the Wilderpeople sets new box office record
Actors celebrate babies on the way

Waititi and his crew have just landed in Australia to start pre-production on the project which will begin filming on the Gold Coast from July.

It's early days, and the director isn't ready to say whether Thor is about to turn full-on maverick, but he hints that he will be bringing some of his trademark humour to the mix.

"At the moment I don't know exactly tonally where we'll be with the film, but if anyone has seen my work before you know it's a decent mix of drama and I wouldn't say weird comedy, but I like to add a nice mix between light and dark," he said.

Much of Thor's tone will also depend on Chris Hemsworth, who has played the Norse god as quite an ardent fellow and also in The Avengers series.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in a scene from the movie Thor. Photo / AP
Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in a scene from the movie Thor. Photo / AP

However, Waititi has already spent time with the star and from the sounds of it Hemsworth might be more willing to coax out his lighter side when he's around the Kiwi director.

"We've hung out, we've talked. He's a really great guy and he's very funny and I can't wait to spend more time with him," Waititi said.

"We just get on really well and have a laugh and I guess the thing I love about making films is when you can work with people who you consider, kind of, friends and you have a looseness to that."

Taika Waititi's latest movie, Hunt For The Wilderpeople opened last week and has broken New Zealand box office records, making NZ$1.3 million in its opening weekend.

- AAP

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 03 Dec 2016 15:11:06 Processing Time: 578ms