Biography of Taika Waititi

Taiki Waititi is a New Zealand director and actor. His madcap, irreverent directing style and his ability to blend horror, drama, and comedy have won him mainstream attention in Hollywood after he first made a name for himself in New Zealand. His films include Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok, and Jojo Rabbit, which won him the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Waititi was raised by a Maori father and a mother of European descent in Raukokore on New Zealand's North Island. After studying theater and working in sketch comedy, Waititi began making comedic short films in the early 2000s, with his film Two Cars, One Night earning an Academy Award nomination. His first feature film was Eagle vs. Shark in 2007, followed by Boy, which premiered at Sundance in 2010 and received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize. In 2013, his vampire comedy film What We Do in the Shadows brought him more into the mainstream. In 2016, he directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which broke New Zealand box-office records.

In 2016, Waititi wrote the first draft of the screenplay for Moana, but the studio decided to take the film in a different direction. In 2017, he directed Thor: Ragnarok, his first Hollywood film, which brought him more into the mainstream. Even more widespread notoriety came with 2019's Jojo Rabbit, a film based on Christine Leunens' novel Caging Skies. Waititi wrote, directed, and acted in the film as a clownish Adolf Hitler. For his screenplay, Waititi won an Academy Award.

Study Guides on Works by Taika Waititi

Directed by New Zealand-born Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) tells the story of a young man named Ricky Baker, who gets sent to live with a couple named Hector and Bella Faulkner after exhausting nearly every other option for a...

During the press tour for Jojo Rabbit, writer/producer/director/actor Taika Waititi described the film as an “anti-hate” satire. An irreverent and farcical Nazi comedy about a Hitler Youth member who falls in love with a Jewish girl, Jojo Rabbit...