When it comes to Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one thing has proven true thus far: Marvel is willing to take more risks when it comes to the talent they’ve been bringing on for future projects. Jon Watts, who was confirmed as the director for the latest Spider-Man reboot, is perhaps the best example of this as he only has two features under his belt so far, both of which were relatively small films. Other examples would be the hiring of Stephany Folsom to rewrite the screenplay for the third Thor installment, a writer with few credits to her name, and director Taika Waititi – two interesting choices for the studio, but also for the film, as Folsom is still relatively new to the game, and Waititi has generally made comedies. (Side note: If you have yet to see What We do in the Shadows, fix that immediately, please.) And yet, as out there as these choices have proven to be, it’s hard to ignore the fact that such risks have worked out wonderfully in the past as is evident from Guardians of the Galaxy.
With the Guardians sequel set to enter production in February, Ragnarok, which will begin filming this June in Australia, has entered pre-production. This means we can expect more castings announcements to hit soon, especially if Valkyrie is in the film as has been rumored. Still, while official news may still be a ways out, that doesn’t mean we won’t hear anything until then. Waititi was actually on hand at Sundance this year to promote his latest flick, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, so while they had a chance to speak with him, Collider asked him a few questions about Ragnarok, including whether or not he’ll be working on the script alongside Folsom.
As we’re all aware by now, Mark Ruffalo‘s Bruce Banner/The Hulk will make his first appearance outside of an Avengers film with Thor: Ragnarok. Ruffalo has talked about how the film will be a sort of “buddy cop” film, with hints to Midnight Run. For Waititi, seeing how the characters interact in the other films has given him plenty of stuff to work with when it comes to adding humor to the third film:
Totally. I love that one moment in Avengers when Hulk grabs Loki and rag dolls him. It lends itself to great humor, do you read those comic books? They’re wacky. They’re crazy. I think that‘s exactly what they need, to keep changing it up. They’ve got their dark films, some are more serious, and I think it’s great that they’re mixing it up. I really want to inject my style of humor into this.
Waititi also praised Marvel’s ability to make sure they tell the best story possible, and how they’re willing to constantly rebuild in order to ensure they do just that.
I’ve learned that there are really no rules. There’s no road map. They’re very similar to Pixar in that way. They are constantly looking for the best story, they’ll tear everything down to rebuild it to make sure they have the best story. That’s why Marvel is good they keep pushing and pushing and trying to get the best thing possible. That’s what I’ve discovered the way things have changed.
Going from films like What We do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, to something like Thor: Ragnarok, seems like a huge jump – especially when it comes to the budgets. For Waititi, however, the budget isn’t entirely what’s he worried about. He’s more concerned about knowing his restrictions and keeping things a bit more “grounded”.
This is how I deal with it. I constantly remind myself that there are terrible movies out there. I try to watch them, some of them, to give myself an understanding of what not to do. Because also with that money comes the idea, “Let your imagination run wild.” Which I think is a very dangerous thing. I think it’s dangerous because you can get into pretty wacky territory. There are things that are too crazy. So the films I like to watch are when they make it relatable to human audiences. I’m used to working with restrictions and that’s when you come up with the more creative stuff. So I’m really not trying to do everything that comes to mind because that’s when it can be dangerous. For instance, I believe as much as possible, how your camera moves and flies around should be limited to the physics of how you could do it in real life. If you’re tracking with a character that’s running off a thing and diving off, I would leave the camera there and not follow them down, because cameras don’t do that. The audience understands that. I’ll definitely bring that understanding of keeping things a bit more grounded.
When it was announced that Folsom was brought on to write the screenplay, many assumed that Waititi would work with her on the screenplay, but from the looks of it, it appears he may very little to do with the writing on the film.
Well, at this stage, a little bit. I’m not sure. I think the most use I’ll be in terms of humor. Trying to find funnier ways of doing stuff. That’ll be my strength. They’ve got structure and stuff but I’ll be useful at putting jokes in there.
Thor: Ragnarok is set to open on November 3rd, 2017.