Thor: Love & Thunder director Taika Waititi said his arrival in Hollywood was difficult, but he credited Marvel with giving him his first chance at a major American film.
That movie was Thor: Ragnarok, and it was such a success that it revived a Thor franchise that looked ready to die. It also gained Waititi the chance to create the first Marvel franchise outside of Avengers with more than three movies and landed him a Star Wars gig.
This wasn’t easy for Waititi, who often found American studios trying to pigeonhole him into making movies just like the ones he just made at home in New Zealand.
Marvel finally gave him the chance to do something different.
Taika Waititi talks struggles entering Hollywood
Marvel has often struggled to keep directors with unique filmmaking styles. Edgar Wright was attached to Ant-Man since around the time Iron Man hit it big, and despite working with Marvel since almost the start, the studio let him go due to creative differences.
However, by the time it came to make Thor: Ragnarok, there seemed to be something different, and Marvel let Taika Waititi come in and make the movie the way he wanted to.
According to Waititi, that was part of the lure since Hollywood had long wanted him just to come in and repeat his past work with an American production.
“Every time I’d make a film, I’d come to L.A. and they’d offer me a script that was basically the film I’d just made. And that just meant that that’s the only way they saw me, was in what I’d done and not what I could do,” Waititi said. “So, I would continue to go back home and make another film that’s completely different to everything else I’d made.”
Why Marvel hired Taika Waititi for Thor: Ragnarok
By the time it came time to make Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi had made four completely different films, none similar to the last, so there was nothing that Hollywood could tab as a Waititi-style film.
It was that versatility that Waititi said made him someone Marvel wanted to work with.
“Marvel was like, ‘We think you should do Thor.’ They were the first American studio to take a big risk on me,” Waititi said. “Ever since then, more doors have opened, and the people who are at the door have realized it’s more exciting when you don’t know what to expect from someone.”
Thor: Love & Thunder hits theaters on May 6, 2022.