Taika David Waititi, also known as Taika Cohen, is a 44-year-old New Zealand Filmmaker, actor, and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and received 2 nominations so far.
The actor and director who is 6 ft tall (184 cms), was born in Raukokore in the east coast region of New Zealand’s Northern Island, spending time as a child here and near-by Wellington’s suburbs (Wellington is the Capital Of New Zealand).
His father is from the Maorí iwi Te-Whānau-ā-Apanui, being a farmer and artist, while his mother is a schoolteacher of European descent, both Russian Jewish and Irish descent. Around the age of 5, his parents separated, and he was raised mainly by his mother.
Regarding his education, he attended Onslow College for secondary school, where several important New Zealand personalities assisted, including the world´s first transgender Mayor for the department of Carterton, and nowadays a member of the Parliament Georgina Beyer, or Alan Isaac who was the President of the International Cricket Council.
Waititi then studied in the Victoria University of Wellington and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997. When he was in university he was part of the comedy group So You’re a Man, touring NZ and Australia, and that’d led to the duo Humourbeasts alongside comedy buddy Jemain Clement, winning New Zealand’s Billy T Award, the most important Accolade for comedy in the country.
For the following years he was offered to act on several occasions as the comic relief on tv, including cameos in TV’s Pulp Comedy. He intended to go and do something else, to get out of the bubble of being that comic relief. And began winning awards for the shorts he directed and starred in the yearly 48 Hour Film Contest.
The turning point or at least the one that made the most buzz was the short film, Two Cars, One Night, being nominated for the Academy Awards in 2005. The production set on a parking lot outside of a bar won several smaller awards, including Best International Short Film at the American Film Institute Festival.
Then came 2007’s success of Eagle Vs. Shark, where the humor displayed transitioned into more deadpan geeks, sort of stuff. Portraying to misfits and their interesting ways to find love. On the eve of the film’s premiere at Sundance in the United States, Variety magazine named Waititi as one of 10 directors to watch.
The second feature as director was BOY, the movie about a kid and his fantasies of his ex-convict father, played by Waititi, who turns up with members of his gang. Gaining critical acclaim and becoming the highest-grossing New Zealand film in its own soil and beating every other movie in the week of his release, grossing 900,000 dollars in a country with a population of around 4 million people at the time (2010).
According to NZONSCREEN, at the 2010 Qantas Film and Television Awards, he scored a triple-header by winning awards for best director, screenplay and supporting actor, plus best film.
Then he got the invitation to participate in the Green Lantern movie, you know, the one Ryan Reynolds doesn’t necessarily praise and he was the protagonist. Waititi played Thomas “Pieface” Kalmaku for the superhero movie.
At the time he managed to start building projects in the U.S and New Zealand, directing SUPER CITY’s first episode, and began writing an American inspired version of the InBetweeners, recommended series from the UK. Waititi also wrote an episode of SUPER CITY for American tv ABC but didn’t go through.
He made himself a constant in the Sundance Film Festival, in 2012, starred the comedy short THE CAPTAIN, and directed 2013, What We Do In The Shadows, a Mockumentary, co-directed with Jemaine Clement, and that they also co-starred, as vampires sharing flat in modern-day Wellington.
3 years later came sort of, spin-offs, with Hunt of The Wilderpeople, debuting in 2016 Sundance Film Festival, getting positive reviews. He then directed Thor: Ragnarok, giving it the MCU character a new dose of humor and with also incredibly positive reviews.
He then broke through with the incredible Jojo Rabbit, an anti-hate satire movie, where he, a Maorí descendent Jewish man, played Adolf Hitler, who’s the imaginary friend of a kid that was trapped by the propaganda Nazi during WW2.
The movie was critically acclaimed and earned him multiple awards, including 5 nominations to the Academy Awards, and Academy Award to Best Adopted Screenplay, also a BAFTA for Best Adopted Screenplay, and in the same category during the Writer’s Guild of America Award.
His next movie promises to be a success too. Titled ‘Next Goal Wins’, it is based on a documentary of the same name, about the attempts of a Dutch manager to coach the worst National team of soccer, American Samoa. The movie will likely be a success, alongside other inspirational sport movie classics like the one for college football bowl enthusiasts Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock.
‘Next Goal Wins’ will star Michael Fassbender in the main role and Elisabeth Moss as the character’s wife and it is likely to be a contender to next year’s Oscars.