Twelve Questions

Sarah Daniell poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi says it is essential to take a flexible approach when working with children in films. Photo / Martin Sykes
Taika Waititi says it is essential to take a flexible approach when working with children in films. Photo / Martin Sykes

Taika Waititi directed and starred in New Zealand's highest-grossing film, Boy. But Waititi, an Oscar nominee in 2005 for his short film Two Cars, One Night, last month launched a campaign appealing for $90,000 to help sell the hit 2010 film in the United States. Donations from 1826 fans exceeded $110,000 on the Kickstarter website. Waititi has promised to think of those generous fans each night as he goes to sleep.

Why does the star and co-creator of Boy have to appeal to his fans for money after it made $9.2 million at the box office in New Zealand?

"Although the film made a bazillion dollars, unfortunately most of the profits went to the distributors and cinemas. That's the current system; basically the artist does all the work and the people who sell popcorn make the most money. You can understand why more people are turning to the internet to release films. I'm opening a popcorn company at the end of the year."

What single most important lesson did you learn from making Boy?

"If you pray to the gods that it won't rain for eight weeks during the wet season, they listen. That and not taking things too seriously. You have to let go of the control and allow things to develop. You need to have a flexible attitude, especially working with kids."

What is your next project about?

"Nazis. It's a comedy. I'm not lying."

Who would play you in the film of your life?

"Me, if I'm still alive. When is this movie being made? What dates? I'd wait a few years to allow the real me to do some more stuff otherwise the film will be a bit short. If I'm dead I don't think you should make it. Anyone else will just screw it up."

For what cause would you lie down in front of a bulldozer?

"People fighting for the right to sleep with construction machinery."

When did you last laugh out loud?

"Literally seven seconds ago. I laughed at my bulldozer joke."

What music unravels you?

"By 'unravel', do you mean 'lose my mind and want to kill myself'? If so, then probably Dubstep. Unravel kind of sounds like making love to yourself. If you're asking that, then it's obviously Kenny G."

What is your favourite word?

"It used to be 'wriggle' but now it's 'wraggle'. I made it up as an alternative to wriggle. It also works as a tag on to wriggle, as in, 'I'm gonna wriggle-wraggle over to that pudding and eat it'."

What would you most like to change about yourself?

"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."

The nation you most identify with, other than New Zealand?

"Aotearoa."

What do you dream about?

"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."

What would be your epitaph?

"He slipped on a banana peel that was meant for someone else."

- NZ Herald

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