As Trystan likes to say, “Three things make a post!” Well, Taika Waititi has FIVE whole frock flicks to his acting credit, so I’m going to consider this a start to a hopefully growing list of period films featuring the New Zealander actor/writer/director/producer phenom.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Did you know that before the hit show of the same name, Taika Waititi and writing/directing partner Jermaine Clement, collaborated on a feature-length mockumentary about four vampires living together in Wellington, New Zealand? If not, you should absolutely check it out. The writing and acting are brilliant and it serves as a tasty little prelude to the subsequent TV series starring Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, and Harvey Guillén. Waititi plays Viago, a 379-year-old vampire who is pretty but kind of dumb.
Year of the Rabbit (2019)
Waititi had a cameo in one of the episodes of Year of the Rabbit, starring Matt Berry as a Victorian detective working to solve a series of diabolical murders in the gritty streets of London. That’s Waititi on the far right with the accordion.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Waititi adapted the screenplay and directed this film, as well as starred as the young German protagonist’s imaginary friend (who just happens to be Hitler). You’d think the whole idea of having Hitler as a main character in a film about a boy navigating the horrors of Nazi Germany would be a pretty rough topic, but this film, while covering some pretty grim subject matter, manages to be a thoughtful treatment that skims the edges of surrealist comedy just enough to keep things from becoming too macabre.
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)
I loved this film so much, even with it’s glossing over of the historical facts here and there. Taika Waititi has a cameo as Max Kase, a newspaper writer and editor who worked for Hearst publications in the early part of the 20th century. In reality, Kase would have barely started his newspaper career by 1907, when his meeting with Wain takes place in the film, being all of 20 years old at the time. But who’s going to let the opportunity for a Waititi cameo get in the way of the facts?
Our Flag Means Death (2022-)
The final installment on this brief list (for now) is none other than the massive hit series, Our Flag Means Death. Taika Waititi stars as Blackbeard, a fearsome pirate who becomes an unlikely ally to the hapless hero Stede Bonnet (played by the brilliant Rhys Darby). While Waititi’s outfits aren’t always anything approaching historically accurate, DAMN HE LOOKS GOOD IN BLACK LEATHER.
That covers it for now! Are you a fan of Taika Waititi? Share your enthusiasm for his work in the comments!
Taika also had a bit part in the 2021 film The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, playing the real life newspaper editor Max Kase; pics are hard to find but he pulls off the 1910s (I think?) suiting nicely. Also outside of the site’s timeline rules but he does a great Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ outfit for the end credits of one of his first feature films Boy.
I just caught the omission and fixed it! I had it pulled up in my list when I wrote the post, but somehow forgot to include it.
I thought you hated eggbeards…
I live on the coast of NC and Blackbeard’s fave anchorage is just north apiece in Ocracoke Inlet. And of course he troubled “Charles Town” SC terribly… so stories and legends about Blackbeard are big up and down this coastal area.
One story is that he braided his eggbeard and put burning smoking tapers in it to scare his victims. That would be an interesting costume choice. They should do it.
One can have a beard and not be an eggbeard!
They also reference the burning beard in the early episodes where a former sailor of Blackbeard’s is describing the terror of seeing him in the flesh. Of course, the reality is a bit less extreme… but only a bit.
Of these, I’ve only seen Jojo Rabbit so far. I would like to see What We Do in the Shadows.
It’s brilliant, if you liked Flight of the Conchords you’ll love it. I have the advantage of it being set in my home city, so there’s that extra frisson. Very understated, deadpan humour. Very kiwi :)
“We’re werewolves, not swearwolves”. :)
We still haven’t had the pirate series in the UK, and I’m dying here.
You’re not missing much, it’s terrible. Watch the Aardman film ‘The Pirates!’ instead, it’s actually funny.
So WWDITS isn’t historical as it’s set in the present day, plus two cameos. He’s a funny guy, I enjoyed Jojo Rabbit, but he’s hardly a costume drama stalwart is he?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016). Great movie if you like quirky NZ humor
He is SOOOOO SEXY and BRILLIANT which makes him EVEN SEXIER. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.